Friday, December 14, 2007
A Visit to Tay Guan Heng and a Christmas Giveaway
Upon the referral of a friend here in Singapore, Caleb and I took a trek over to the opposite side of the island today to visit the Tay Guan Heng Workshop. In this quintessential hole-in-the-wall art studio, Mr. Tay (a 3rd generation artisan) sits at his workbench all day long creating art. His medium, a pliable dough created from ground wild cinnamon bark; his utensils, an empty wine bottle (to pound out the dough), a little knife, a pair of scissors, and a few other simple items (like straw and small sticks). The result-- unique and intricate figurines. Mr. Tay is especially fascinated with creating one-of-a-kind Nativity Sets (which were out of my price range) and traditional Chinese figures (like The Slave pictured below).
Tay for a bit. He demonstrated how he fashions the figures and how he sets them out to dry for several days before he coats them with a clear varnish. Unfortunately, it's a slow process and rather unprofitable. This ancient art form is dying out and Mr. Tay's shop is one of the last.
So I did my part to support Mr. Tay and that's where the Christmas Giveaway comes in. I bought three Christmas Ornaments (the only items I could afford) with the Chinese characters, Peace, Hope and Joy, inscribed on them. On the back is the authentic Tay Guan Heng Stamp. I thought I'd join the Christmas Giveaway Frenzy (here, here, here and here) and give these little Singaporean souvenirs to one lucky winner. Here are the rules, you must leave a comment on this blog by midnight (Pacific Standard Time) December 20th. In your comment, give me a compelling reason why YOU should be the winner. Depending on the creativeness of the entries, I may or may not resort to pulling a name out of a hat, but it will be fun to hear your reasons nonetheless.