This week, we look at a plush-toy maker whose shop is well known here as EeChing Handmade. Kho Tain Ching is from Sarawak, East Malaysia and her toys are one-of-a-kind collectible beauties! She also has something she’s giving away at the end of the interview — read on!
You live in Malaysia — what stands out about living here, and what is your daily schedule like?
I love that there is less natural disasters such as earth-quake, tornado, and volcanoes here! I help my parent in an old grocery shop during the day, and the rest of time I’ll do anything I like such as drawing, reading, making doll, updating my blog, taking picture of my works & playing with my dogs.
And does being in Malaysia influence your art in any way?
Yes, especially the artists from West Malaysia… but we still have much opportunity to improve the art scene in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, I find that the progress of the art and craft community has yet to catch on. What do you think can be done to increase awareness of art and craft locally?
We should have more art & craft markets which can provide a platform to support & help to expose artists & designer; and also media such as magazines, newspapers & websites, education and exhibitions all play a part in spreading news about our art.
How did you get your start?
I can’t remember when I start drawing… when I was young, I like to draw characters from comics like Doraemon, LaoFuZhi & Yomiko.
Could you tell us more about your thought process when you start a piece?
Before i start a piece, I like to draw something randomly on a piece of used blank paper or calendar — this often sparks an idea or method of making something new.
What’s your favorite project so far?
My recent favorite project was when I made my own dolls for a Handmade Zakka Store in West Malaysia & an online shop named Curiousite, France.
Do you keep a journal/sketchbook, and would you mind if we had a sneak peek?
What or who inspires you?
All the dolls made by Evangelion’s Handmade (Yeo Mei Ying), a great & famous dolly maker in Malaysia.
What keeps you motivated?
My buyers from all over the world motivates me and gives me confidence in my works (I’m not a realist, but I need positive feedback and money to buy material)
Could you share with us your progression as an artist — compared to when you first started out, how has your style changed since then?
My skill in drawing and making dolls has improved in comparison to my earlier works, but I still have a lot to improve and learn. My principle is to develop my own style of art.
What’s your favourite tool?
Color pencil, maker, pen, sewing machine, sewing noodle, thread, scissors & fabric.
Are you a full-time artist?
No, but i wish i am a full-time artist in the future (maybe after 2~3 years)
What advice would you like to give people who are interested in being an artist full-time?
Be sure you have financial support, patience, insist on your dream, improve yourself, be hardworking, be unique and know how promote your works.
What message do you want to send out to people about your work?
Every single piece of my work represents a feeling, a moment in my life. You can feel that either I’m happy or sad through my works. So, you’re most welcome to visit my blog and i’ll share them with you.
Tell us about yourself – in a nutshell!
My name is Ching, I draw and I make dolls. I live in a city named “Kuching” in Sarawak, East Malaysia. I’m the third children of five. My favorite drink is coffee, chocolate milkshake and soya milk. I’m a skinny girl. I previously worked as a general clerk in a bookstore and a teacher in a Buddhist Kindergarten few years ago. Now, my daily job is assisting my father in his groceries shop.
Thank you for reading!
Ching is giving away one of her hand-painted dolls (this one here, in the above picture!) to one lucky commenter! Just tell her what you think of her work to be in the running to win — the giveaway ends on 28th July!
UPDATE: Thanks for coming along everyone — the winner for this giveaway is Gerlin!