I’m Ellen Lai, a Chinese, born and living in Singapore.
I found Paper Traders by chance while clicking links when hopping between blogs, and joined Paper Traders about a year ago. This is about one of the most active groups I’m in, with a number of swaps going and a good number of participants. I also enjoy the variety of different types of swaps we have here. I counted 10 swaps I have joined so far.
I have been crafting since young. I remembered sewing lots of hand puppets and making crepe paper roses with my grandmother in my primary school days (7 to 12 years old) for school charities. A little bit of cross-stitch, crochet and knitting too. And there was my favourite set of origami books my father bought for me then. Fond memories of childhood! I always joined the schools’ Art Club. I remembered doing all those face masks for my secondary school’s play “Animal Farm”. We had so much fun thinking up the concepts and spent hours and hours making all the animal masks, starting from paper mache over blow-up balloons! I also took paid classes and join free workshops since I started working some 20 years ago. Here in Singapore, art and crafts are not as popular, we do not have those craft fairs or guilds. However, people are now more exposed and there are more happenings than before.
I’m not so much an artist and my drawing sucks, especially drawing portraits! I’m more a crafter and likes to try all sort of crafts, but tatting is the one that I have been doing constantly since I learnt to tat 14 years ago. Now my forte, I design tatting patterns and teach whenever there are opportunities or when people approach me. With a full-time day job in the construction industry and 3 schooling children (a boy and 2 girls between 12 and 17) , my hands are usually full and in fact up to my neck, I can only do small projects. For the past 8 years, I have been participating in swaps in tatted laces (though seldom now), and more in ATCs, inchies, postcards, Moos, paper dolls, button fairies, little books and whatever interesting that comes, and I can still squeeze out time. My proudest collection is the set of fabric ATCs on the alphabet theme which I hand-sewed over a year and a half, featuring a tatted critter for each of the alphabet.
I’m not drawn to any particular artist or crafter, or perhaps, I just don’t have the time to study anyone, though I really love and are inspired by nature, especially flowers and butterflies. Well, I’m working on a little tatting book on hearts now and looking to finish it before mid-year to self-publish it, and slowly fine-tuning more tatting patterns to go in hopefully a 2nd and 3rd books. That’s my dream!
Some original tatting patterns designed and tatted by Ellen: Merlion, Vanda Miss Joaquam, hibiscus, goldfish.