Making Makan Miniatures With Kin, The Clay Artist

“What was your friends’ response when you started making food miniatures?”
“Wow, they want to eat!”

Walking into Kin’s little workshop with the Epikk team felt like a child walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Her walls were adorned with many of her past pieces, all clay miniatures of delectable goodies.

“Come in, come in!” she said, ushering us in. We gathered around her cosy craft table to hear her share her story.

Starting her making journey

All of the works that were displayed served as evidence of her passion for her craft. Kin start making clay miniatures 10 years ago, learning the art form all by herself. Initially a freelance tour guide by profession, she discovered clay miniatures that were sold by a Chinese couple. She asked them to teach her, but was rebuffed.

“Actually there was a couple who were making this, so I asked them if they were teaching, and they said no. Then whatever lor, so I went and learnt by myself. I taught myself how to do this,” she said, recounting her early days.

Experimenting to discover

Her willingness to experiment and learn from her mistakes was a key trait which helped her discover what she liked, and also what she didn’t.

“I self-taught myself for 3 years. 3 years, and I did everything that I never did before, then try, try, try, try,” she said.

Through experimenting with clay and clay modelling techniques, she eventually built up a sizable base of knowledge, ranging from what kind of clay is suitable for what kind of models to how you should mix and use colours and paints.

Recognition of her skill

As Kin became increasingly more well-known among the clay modelling enthusiasts, she was eventually contacted to be part of a big project with Home Team and SMRT, where she was tasked to make 20,000 figurines of everyday heroes such as policemen and firemen!

“They persuaded me: you can lah, you can lah,” she said, when describing how representatives from Home Team tried to get her on board.

She eventually accepted, and embarked on what was to become her biggest project thus far. Over a period of four months, she was making clay figurines for up to 16 hours a day, from morning to night. She also had to meet designated mini-deadlines, where she had to produce a batch of figurines by a certain date. Fortunately, she had creative freedom over what she made.

“What they gave me is quite flexible, Design up to me, material up to me, as long as the heroes are there,” she said, showing us some figurine samples she made for herself.

Her love for her craft

The Epikk team couldn’t help but admire how detailed her works were. From each individual grain of rice, to the colour on the food, Kin was meticulous in ensuring that each miniature looked as close to its original as possible. How was it that she could be so sure of the details?

“You like mee pok? I love mee pok so much you know, that’s why you see I do a lot of mee pok. My first actual local food is mee pok. In my mind, it’s already mee pok,” she said, laughing.

Hearing her infectious laughter, we couldn’t help but laugh out loud ourselves. Following her passion with intensity and dedication, and a touch of humour, has definitely made Kin a Maker to be admired.

Want to learn from Kin? Sign up for her workshop on Epikk! You can also check out some of her projects to see what she’s done. Be sure to take a look at our interview with Jeremiah too, another one of the makers who will be conducting a workshop under Epikk Workshops!

Written by Sufyan Selamet

Photography By Sufyan Selamet

Also written on Wordpress

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