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Interview Series 02 - Portraiture Artist - Chiho

Many people can draw portraits, but seldom we see an artist who draws with warmth in their art. Chiho is one of those portraiture artist whose art is not only cute and elegant, but it also touches one’s heart. It isn’t easy to put feelings into a non-moving piece of item, but for Chiho, she has done it with her cute drawings and portraits.

She has traveled widely to many countries, and with each place, there is always a unique culture that makes it so special. Taking these experiences with her, Chiho could make art and draw through the eyes of those she came across during her travels. With rich insights to how different people live, she captures the essence of what makes each and every individual so unique and one-of-a-kind.

1. Hello Chiho ! Please tell us more about yourself and the work you do.


Hello everyone ! I am originally from Japan but currently based in Singapore as an artist. While I’m not traveling, I work as an art teacher at Studio Miu.

2. What drove you to draw “Portraiture illustration”?

When I travel to other countries, I found that drawing portrait is a very good tool to communicate with local people. While different countries are bound by their own unique language, there are some things that people everywhere can find a common identity in. Especially, I believe music and art are some things that bind people and foster stronger bonds even though these people may not speak the same language. Traveling also opens new doors for me to escape from the daily routines and proactively evolve myself in a new place, a new life and with new people.

3. What is the most interesting thing in your work?

I can use my art as the medium to communicate with people while traveling. In exchange of my portrait art, I have experienced many kindness of people. For example, I am often invited to their homes or people share their food with me. Even though I do not speak their language that sort of kindness can be felt by my heart. Immersing in different ways of life has opened my eyes and heart to many new experiences, and there is always something new to be learnt. Being a freelance artist makes me think about what I really want to do and need to do.  I really enjoy having control over my own life, of being who I really am and being surrounded by various opportunities.

4. Are there any challenges you faced in your work?

I cannot travel as much as I want because I also work as an art teacher. So I start taking an online order to draw portrait so that my portraits can travel on behalf of me. I only draw a portrait manually not digitally. To track item after posting  is my small enjoyment. Whenver my customer updates me about receiving their portrait together with their happy photos and a background of foreign scenery, it is the happiest time for me.

4. Do you have any final words for those who want to embark on the same journey as you?

Never stop believing yourself, keep pushing yourself to achieve your dream or goal. Continue making one step, no matter how small it is. These small steps will lead to big leaps eventually. If it does not go well, you are probably in the wrong place, or the timing isn’t right, or that the crowd you are approaching isn’t right. Change your angle and don’t be afraid of trial and error.

5. Is there any interesting story you want to share with us?

Since I was young, I got close to my friend’s family very easily and I was often invited to their dinner at their home, which is not very normal in Japan. My parents were not very happy about this. I was taught that this was not a good things but when I am getting older, I realized that this is my special talent that I can enjoy adapting myself to a new environment and a new community easily. As it allows to express who I am and helps my artistic side blossom as a traveling portrait artist.  🙂

 

Chiho's Website
http://tamurachiho.moonfruit.com

Order at ETSY
https://etsy.me/2Hiw67M

 

Special Thanks to Nilufer Tea x Chiho

Chiho can convey her kind and warm intents through her art that have been lovingly drawn by hand. She loves to spread happiness to people by drawing exclusive pieces. Her skill has given birth to many cute and wonderful portraits that are unique and convey a happy feeling to those who set eyes on it. She hopes to continue drawing for people all over the world with the purpose of making people smile.

Nilufer Tea - Shop Online

 

A herbarium is a collection of preserved plant and herb specimens. These specimens are typically used for scientific study, but for the everyday collectors, a herbarium can just be a unique decoration in your house. I'll be honest, when researching, I initially thought a herbarium was like a terrarium but with herbs instead of usual plants like cacti. *cue laughter* Turns out it's a collection of herbs in frames. So if you were like me and you thought this article was an online terrarium workshop, it's time to learn something new! Life is all about surprises and spontaneity, isn't it? 

A simple herbarium

To produce a comprehensive physical collection, there are a few facets that require your attention when creating your own herbarium. If you wish to create a simple one that requires minimal effort, it is a much simpler process but if you want to create a more sophisticated and professional looking herbarium, you may need to purchase a few items. Let us start with the simple one first; this is a great activity to do with your kids or nature-loving friends because it'll get you out of the house and into the sun where you will get that much needed vitamin D.

What you will need:

Many of these items can be found at your local book or stationery store and they are inexpensive so this fun little project definitely won't burn a hole in your pocket.

Instructions:

  1. Grab your kids or friends and suit up in khakis and tank tops. Do not forget your suncreen, hats and sunglasses.
  2. Venture out into the woods, nature reserves or even your backyard and you the pair of scissors to cut and gather the plants and flowers you would like to add to your collection. However, do make sure it is alright for you to take these plants from your local nature spots.
  3. Note down the location you found each specimen and if you can already identify them, do note down their names so you can research more once you reach home and write it on your final herbarium sheet.
  4. Once you have all the plants you would like in your herbarium, clean any dirt and bugs off the plant.
  5. Place the plants in the centre of an opened book - the plant should be spread out so you can see the whole thing, then close the book and place more books on top for added weight.
  6. Leave the plants to dry for 7-14 days.
  7. Once dried, tape each specimen to one sheet of paper and place them into the plastic covers. Decorate each sheet with the information of each specimen eg. scientific name, native location, color, smell, etc.
  8. Compile all sheets into your binder and enjoy!

Not too hard, right? This is no doubt a fun and productive way to spend the weekend with your loved ones. Collecting is a good hobby to foster amongst children because studies have shown that it improves both creativity and pattern recognition in children. Seeing as collecting requires organisational skills, the hobby also allows them to improve their aptitude for recognizing everyday characteristics and being able to identify breaks in a pattern.

A bigger and more comprehensive herbarium

Now, if you would like to make a bigger herbarium, your mounting process will differ slightly from the previous set of instructions. It will also cost slightly more to put together but it will come out looking like something from a museum. The only thing that changes would be the mounting process. Instead of putting your sheets into a plastic protector, purchase a plastic screen to paste on top of your sheet, and then frame it in a glass frame instead of a binder. Your frames will go nicely as a decoration over your bed or dining room. Nothing like a little splash of green hues to brighten up your day. Not to mention it is great for that mid-work eye break. As you add more to your collection and you find yourself without any more space, they make great gifts as well. Nothing shows love quite like a handmade gift!

For the adventurous craftsmen out there, you can make your very own flower press as well. Pressed flowers can be used in other crafts projects too; like jewelry and decor.

What you will need:

Instructions:

  1. Stack the wood on top of each other and drill holes in all four corners, through both pieces of wood. (Note: make sure the drill bit is of the same size as your bolts)
  2. Cut your cardboard/wood slightly smaller than your 2 wooden boards and subsequently cut off each corner so that it will fit inside the bolts.
  3. Insert your bolts through both wooden boards so it looks like a sandwich.
  4. To use, place your flowers on pieces of cardboard and in between both wooden boards. Press down on the top board and leave the flowers or plants to dry.

You could even decorate your flower press while waiting for the flowers to dry. A word of caution, make sure you leave the flowers to dry for the aforementioned period of time before opening the press to peek! The flowers might rip or crumble if they are not completely dried.

So there you have it, the tips and how-to to make your very own herbarium. It isn't exactly the easiest art project but it isn't the hardest either. If you have a great appreciation for plants and you would like it to manifest into something most tangible for decorative purposes, then this is the project for you.

We at Nilufer would love to see some of your creations! Do tag us on instagram of the pictures of your herbariums! Enjoy crafting!

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