Crafting (be it professionally or as a hobby) has become one of the biggest trends since the onset of the pandemic: we’ve been spending more time in; Its elements of tactility and slowness soothe in a manic world. And have you seen the amount of crochet on the runways recently?
For our June 2021 issue, we got four Singapore artists – each with her own fashion-related discipline – to share a project that lets you create something to add to the wardrobe at home.
When Crystal Lee co-founded Project Coal in 2014, it was one of the earliest to bring natural dyes to wider attention in Singapore.
These days, weaving and experimenting with natural dyes have become the stuff of trendy exhibitions and Instagram feeds, but when the seven-year-old outfit Project Coal started, there was hardly a community around them.
“It wasn’t a brand. It was just more of us sharing about the craft on a platform and making silk scarves for friends,” says co-founder Crystal Lee, who runs Project Coal with her photographer husband Hizuan Zailani.
An example of a woven work by Project Coal – a crafts category that Lee is keen on exploring and furthering.
To date, their focus remains less on “aesthetic”, but the materials and techniques that they work with to create small-batch, bespoke textiles and objects, making them true proponents of the slow craft movement.
In 2019, they started working with a loom and as of this year, have officially added decorative weavings to their repertoire. (An installation in collaboration with a chef friend who ran a private dining business was in the works, but got derailed by the pandemic.)
“I see uneven stains as something beautiful,” says Lee. “They’re accidents that remind me of how I got there.”
Here, Lee guides us through creating your very own naturally dyed
garment with colouring made out of foods such as onion skin, coffee, tea, turmeric, red cabbage or avocado skin.
Note: It will only work on clothes crafted from natural fabrics (think cotton, hemp, silk – anything without synthetics).