“FROM OUR HAND TO YOURS”
B: Borneo Art Collective
B: Describe your making approach. Tell us the story of your investigation.
S: SHOU.T is a fashion brand from Borneo that specialize everything that can be hold by hand.
SHOU mean “hand” in chinese, and “T” represent the hammer, mean everything is designed by hand and handcrafted with dedicated care before pass to your hand.
“FROM OUR HAND TO YOURS”
B: Why and how did you start this making pursuit?
S: I am a single child. Unlike those who have brothers and sisters to play with in their childhood, the only thing i can play with, is my “hand”. Since primary school i like to do anything hand related, i used to like origami, balloon twisting, magic performing, and now LEATHER.
What got me into leather so much - one of the biggest reason is that i can move my hands and create something at the same time. Another reason that brought me to leather craftsmanship is that i wanted to solve my own problem of thick wallets.
I realize my wallet is too thick and bulky, and looked very ugly in tight pants. From then on, i tried doing some research about wallets and realize that most of the design are similar, either bi-fold with a lot of compartments or long wallets, thick with a lot of compartments.
I was thinking would it possible for me to create a new, thin and minimal wallet that's enough for my daily use? After a while, i told myself “why not?”
From then on, i tried designing my own wallet, but i got no knowledge on wallet making and leather craftsmanship, i got the tools and learned some basic skill online, trying to cut the leather, learn how to hand sew the leather but i got no knowledge in leather, how to choose leather and all that.
But yea, after of tons of sleepless night and few prototypes, I finally got my own design!
I was so happy, the wallet met most of criteria i need, thin, good for my daily use and I felt proud of it.
B: Who/what influenced you to begin this making approach?
S: Ya, the story doesn't end there, i was happy i created the wallet until i met a fellow leather craftsman in Malaysia, i met him a few times and i asked his advice about the wallet that i created.
He took my wallet, looked at it for a while and asked me:
“How much you gonna sell this wallet? RM10?”
“The material look cheap and the edge is not finished well, the design is good but you need to improve your skill”
I was so sad and wasn't sure what to do, in our brain we have the flight or fight response. Being in that situation, I was either going to i feel hurt and give up or I could choose to fight.
I chose to fight.
I flew to Bangkok to look for guidance from leather craftsmen. Bangkok is a wonderful place, they are very into handcraft, when i got there i was amazed by the environment. Everyone is so passionate in doing handcraft.
From Bangkok i learnt the basic skill about leather craftsmanship, the more I dealt with leather, the more I fell in love with leather craftsmanship.
B:Tell us about the selected crafts you are sharing with our audience? What is the big message you are trying to deliver through this three course?
S: I would like to share my first wallet.
SHOU.T minimal wallet.
Minimal wallets are type of wallets that are very simple, not much of compartments, maybe just one slot for card and another slot for cash, there are a lot different form of minimal wallets.
What makes my minimal wallet so special is the way i designed to store the bills, as you can see from a lot of minimal wallets, they either need to fold their bills once or twice and put it into the compartment, it is very difficult to organize the bills and it looks messy.
As for my minimal wallet, I studied how normal bi-fold wallet store their cash, when their wallet is folded, the bill is like a “U” shape and wraps around the cards in the middle.
I use the same concept as bi-fold wallet, “U” shape and i make only one compartment to put my cards.
Because of this concept, my wallet can become thinner than the usual bi-fold wallet, it is minimal and yet it is functional.
B: Where do you see your making approach evolving in the near future? What are you trying to achieve at this point?
S: At this point, I am still studying and keep on improving my skill and my knowledge, so i will keep on trying different product such as bags, phone cover or trying to mix with others material, and try to create some new series of creative product that can change people daily product.
I hope in the future i can let the world know there is island called Borneo through the brands from Borneo.
B: How do you see Borneo maker movement at the moment?
S: Slowly there are more and more handcrafts and local brands coming out which i think this is a very good trend. What amazed me the most in Thailand is that there are many local brands and people there are very supportive of their local brand product. I hope for the same support of local brands in Borneo.
B: Tell us about the maker resource that is available in your area? What kind of facility you used for your projects?
S: So far everything is handcrafted, so i don't have any machine at the moment, but i do have the leather and the leather tools sourced from different places.
In the future i might import a leather skiving machine to thin the leather and might get a laser cutting machine or waterjet cutting machine.
B: How could people access your crafts at the moment? Is there any public participation/volunteer you allow in your project/group?
I am currently setting up my workshop, which should be finished by Jan or Feb 2017. By then. i would very much welcome youngsters who are creative and would like to get involved in product making to join with me and create wallet or bags.
I hope i can create a platform for students to showcase their idea, to turn their idea into useful products.
B: Please recommend stories/projects/individuals/groups that we should reach out to in order to expand the Borneo Art Collective network.
S: 1. Origine - handmade french style jam and kaya, a guy who very passionate in food, turning local ingredient into unique flavour jam.
2. Left&Right- a couple that can turn your story into a precious jewellery, a borneo jewellery maker
3. Flint and steel- A brand for designer stationeries who have their unique style.
B: What would be your message to aspiring fellow Borneo Makers/Artist?
S: There is only one thing i would like to share and that is a quote I always tell myself - Don't be afraid in trying new things as you have got nothing to lose.