Explore Practitioners 2: Sticky Candy-maker — Celine Goh Shi Ying

Creative Practice

Sticky is the FIRST and ORIGINAL Australian rock candy store which came to Singapore in 2008.

Using traditional techniques transformed and updated for a modern market, the confectioners at Sticky Singapore hand-sculpt mouthwatering sugar creations made from refined sugars from SIS.

Process Documentation

We waited for 20min for the candy-makers to melt the sugars in order for them to start the candy shaping process.

This was an example of what they were going to make for a client!

They first used a stretching hook to stretch out the melted candy much like how we first stretch a rubber balloon before blowing it!
This was to incorporate air and increase the malleability of the melted candy.

Then, they would start kneading the sugar onto a Hot metal surface first.
Whenever needed, they would use the spatula to flip the sugar or cut out the excess. Alternating between the hot and cold metal surfaces, the candy-maker would then be able to shape the mould on the hot surface, then allow the mould to cool and repeat the process again until the shape is perfected.

Once done, the sugar moulds (blue, orange and white) would be then combined together. The details of the candy would be made in this stage through an ardous process of snipping various candy parts and combining them together and repeating the process again to produce the letters PMC.SG.

Then once the details of the PWC were done, the sugar mould would be covered with an outer layer of sugar and smoothened out with the sanding sponge and rolled continuously even out the block.

Then, the candy-maker would stretch out the big block of candy such that it becomes smaller in width whilst continuing the rolling motion to keep the block in its cylindrical shape.

Using the cool metal surface and a fan, the finished candy will be cooled and cut into pieces using the spatula.

Finished candy product!!

Tools Used

Scissors
Spatula
Sanding Sponge (to smoothen candy)
Fan (to cool finished products)
Cold and Hot Metal Surfaces (to shape candy)
Metal Shaping Rod
Gloves
Stretching Hook

Pain Points

Upon interviewing the candy-makers, their pain points were unianimous: THE INTRINSIC DETAILS OF THE CANDY DESIGN. Since all the designs were made from scratch, with no help from any pre-conceived design moulds, the process of crafting the design details one by one was the most tedious part of the candy-making process as deemed by the practitioners. After hearing this, I really had a newfound respect for Sticky candy-makers! Everything from scratch!! I asked them about a particularly cute yet delicate Unicorn design I saw in the candy and they said they really did the rainbow effects of the unicorn layer by layer and even had eyes and a mouth for the unicorn. Much respect!!

Further, they also mentioned that the sugar moulds were extremely heavy so to continuously mould and handle it for consecutive hours straight was another pain point for them. It was obvious from their droplets of sweat that this was a pain point too!

Exploring Practitioners: Salsa Instructors: Group of Leaders – Allison Kapps

The practice: learning salsa from a group of professional salsa dancers and understanding how they teach.

Worksite Documentation

I went to attend a salsa class held at NUS in one of the many dance rooms. These rooms have hardwood flooring and are surrounded by mirrors. This is to allow all dancers to see their positioning and make sure they are doing movements properly. The instructors in the class also wear specific dance clothing so as to make their teaching and dancing experience better. While the participants were not required to wear any such clothing in the instance that I went, it was likely that later on they would be required to wear proper dance gear.

Tools

  • Dance shoes (with a heel)
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Hairpins
  • Music player
  • Music
  • Microphone for speaking

Process Documentation

As I first entered the class, I saw the instructors practicing with each other and showing whoever was interested in various dance moves. The class began with a performance and demonstration of the skills we ultimately hoped to learn.

Sorry about the blur, they were quite far from me. 

I had always been confused by how dancers managed to think so quickly on their feet and come up with a combination of dance moves in a moment. In fact, watching them was astonishing because I could not split up one dance move from the other.

PAIN POINT: hard to learn new moves when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Could be cool to have an AR device that names the moves as they happen.

After the demonstration, we began the lesson by getting into a circle. The women formed a larger circle on the outside and the men formed a smaller circle on the inside. This was to create easy partnering, as the men would shift down the circle each time the instructors asked them to do so.

Learned the first move was basic since it was the most beginner step. However, for some people, it proved confusing once it started to be integrated into the rest of the dance. This was because the basic step needed to continuously be done even as dancers turned and moved along the floor.

PAIN POINT: remembering what foot to use next was difficult, and is a common problem in dance. A good solution would be a device that lightly zaps the leg that is meant to be used in the case of confusion.

As the class went on, we switched from partner to partner and continued learning new moves. These moves were ultimately grouped together into larger combinations in order to imitate the performance we had all seen at the beginning of the class.

Ultimately, we finished the class having learned many new combinations, and met lots of new interesting people. The members from the class could continue what was called “social dancing” in which they could dance freely with each other and practice the moves they had just learned. I decided to try and practice with an instructor to see what I had learned, and it turned out quite well!

Exploring Practitioners: Son Bath Orn – Allison Kapps

Learning how to cook from a professional chef was a wonderful experience, especially because I got to experience everything almost exactly the way he would have done it.

Worksite Documentation

I went to visit Son Bath Orn at one of the locations that he cooks at, he is not just a chef but also a cooking teacher.

Tools Used/Works

Specifically, I learned about Asian cuisine which uses tools that I had never tried before in Western cooking.

  • Apron
  • Chefs Hat
  • Knives
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Long Wooden Table
  • Circular wooden chopping block
  • Wok
  • Edible Ingredients
  • Spices
  • Chefs Garments
  • Stove
  • Plastic to cover food from bugs
  • Metal Bowl filled with water

Process Documentation

He explained each element of his cooking station and how to use everything to make sure that you are an efficient chef. BUT FIRST, he took us to a local food market where we looked around at fresh ingredients and how he sometimes picks out his food.

He moved from stand to stand and explained the difficulty of creating each type of food. He also showed us where each of the ingredients we would be cooking with came from, from rice paper to spices, to fish ingredients.

PAIN POINT: The entire environment was overwhelming, there was so much to choose from, so much movement going on around us, and it was difficult to tell which ingredients were good or bad.

Then we came back to his cooking station and began prepping all of the ingredients we wood need.

  • For the Spring Rolls
    • Peeled the ingredients
    • We chopped all the vegetables
    • Prepared the shrimp
    • Rolled all the ingredients inside of the rice paper

He also explained the correct way to soak and roll rice paper, which I had never done before. He showed us the technique of carefully dipping the rice paper in a bowl of water, before rotating it so that all sides were covered. Then, he told us to place the rice paper on a pre-moistened wooden chopping board. Then, we added the vegetables and noodles to our spring roll to roll them up one by one.

PAIN POINT: Once we finished the spring rolls, we needed to set them aside to continue cooking but the flies were attacking the food. We didn’t want the food to get dirty, so we had to wrap each individual plate with plastic wrap. This is a downside to cooking somewhat outside.

  • For the Fish Amok
    • Chopped the ingredients
    • Added oil and cooked the fish
    • Added the ingredients one by one
    • Added coconut milk
    • Stirred until everything reduced

Cooking this dish was somewhat challenging because the chef wanted everything done very quickly one after the other. Also, this was done using a Wok, which I had never used for cooking before. Cooking things quickly is hard to do when you are not an experienced cook or when you get tired easily, and the Wok is very large and gets very hot so maneuvering it is a lot of work. The most important part of this dish was to continue reducing the liquids in the Wok until it became a thickened curry of ingredients.

PAIN POINT: Wok is very large, and the fire is very hot. Cooking this dish takes a long time and you get very tired.

  • For the Banana Desert
    • Add butter to the Wok
    • Cook the Bananas
    • Add some coconut milk
    • Take the bananas out
    • Pour the remaining sauce into a sauce holder and enjoy!

Cooking this dish went by very quickly, and it was far easier than I assumed it would be. Picking the bananas out of the Wok was frightening because, again, the Wok was very hot. But once the bananas were out the dish was practically done, and then pouring the sauce was really easy.

Learning to cook from a real local chef was a really interesting experience. It taught me how easy cooking can be, and make me feel motivated to try new techniques that seemed intimidating before. Using a Wok, for instance, is interesting because while it serves the same purpose a pan in western cooking, it is essential to Asian cuisine and brings about a totally different cooking experience.

Explore Practitioners 1 + Field Trip 1: Theo10 — Celine Goh Shi Ying

Local brand funded by Spring Singapore, Theo10’s products are created from 100% natural ingredients sourced globally. Cream bases contain beeswax (harvested from Italian bees), American peppermint essential oil (air-flown in to preserve its efficacy) and Indian neem oil (Cold pressed to ensure the highest yield of beneficial components).

Theo10 Director Theodore Khng, came down personally to conduct the workshop specially which was located at the Singapore Visitor Centre.  

Process Documentation

During the Workshop we were given the opportunity to create ouor very own moisturiser and insect repellant.

Moisturiser:

A combination of aloe vera and beeswax was the organic cream base we used for our moisturiser. Theodore mentioned that all Theo10’s products are good for eczema and was the brand was created to aid people with sensitive skin ailments.

First, we collected a small sample of cream and were told to drop a maximum of 10 essential oil drops into our metal canisters.
Then, using the glass rod, stir the mixture till the essential oils were fully Incorporated into the cream.

My moisturiser was a combination of Rose Otto and Lavender which had the benefits of anti-oxidants, reduction of anxiety and helps in skin complexion, burns and wounds!

Theodore explaining the concept of Theo10

Insect Repellant:

First, we were given a sample of 2ml of the organic Neem base which smelled interestingly like fish oil and soy sauce combined. Combined with 10ml of water, the base mixture of the repellant was formed.
Then, again Theodore assigned us with the task of using the essential oils to mask the putrid stench of the base. 
The insect repellant was wind-proof and also had a shelf life of 5 years.

Me and Darren’s Fruity Insect Repellant

Tools Used

Moisturiser:
Metal Canister
Glass Rod
Essential Oils

Insect Repellant:
2 ml Organic Neem Base
10ml Water
Glass Spray
Essential Oils

Pain Points

Initially, when Theodore first started Theo10, he mentioned that the tedious part of the process was making the cream base by himself, stirring the pot continuously for hours and also making the moisturisers by hand one by one dropping the essential oils into the mini metal canisters.

However, that was years ago. Now, Theo10 has factories which machine-produce the moisturisers and products in big batches so this was not a pain point for Theodore anymore.

Class Picture with Theodore!

Explore Practitioners 1: Wendy Neo

I went for a field trip organised by one of our classmates Rachel. The  workshop was called A Craftsman Journey: From Dream to Reality and was held at the Singapore Visitor Centre. We learnt how to customise our own moisturisers and insect repellent with the help of Theodore from Theo10, a local company that makes skincare products from all natural ingredients. 

Process (Moisturiser):

First, we started on customising our own moisturiser with different essential oils. Everyone was given a small metal container and we had to put no more than 10 drops of any essential oil that we liked (we could also mix different essential oils). The wide variety of essential oils were displayed on a rack. Each bottle came with a laminated card attached with a string, which showed the properties and benefits of each essential oil. 

Small worksite at Singapore Visitor Centre

After that, Theo would scoop a ladle of moisturiser into our metal container. The moisturiser was already pre-made, and was a mixture of jojoba, extra virgin coconut oil, aloe vera and glycerin. The aloe vera was extracted from the plant using a spray freeze dry method using liquid nitrogen. This mixture was kept warm in a glass container which was placed in a hot water bath in a big metal pot.

We then had to mix the essential oils into the moisturiser using a glass rod. This process took a while because there was only one glass rod to be shared among the whole class. But once it was mixed thoroughly, we were done creating our own customised moisturiser!

Tools (Moisturiser): 

  1. Small metal container 
  2. Essential oils 
  3. Metal pot 
  4. Glass container 
  5. Ladle 
  6. Glass rod 

Process (Insect Repellent):

Theo also guided us in making our own insect repellent. The task was to come up with a mixture of essential oils that would mask the extremely strong scent of the secret Theo10 insect repellent formula. I think there was neem oil inside the secret formula but Theo didn’t elaborate much other than that. The formula smelt a bit like fish oil or something that would go into a Vietnamese dish (I love vietnamese food btw, just don’t want to be smelling like it). 

First, everyone was given a small glass spray bottle. We then had to measure 10ml of water (contained in a styrofoam cup) with a measuring cylinder, and 2ml of the secret insect repellent formula (contained in the glass jar) using a pipette. This mixture then went into our spray bottle, making it the base of the insect repellent.

The next step was to add essential oils to the base to mask the original smell. We could add up to a 100 drops of essential oils. It was really amusing as everyone fumbled through the essential oils, trying to add the right amount and mixture of oils to create the perfect smell for our insect repellent through trial and error. There was a lot of spraying and sniffing and adding of oils in the process. 

Tools (insect repellent):

  1. Essential oils 
  2. Glass jar 
  3. Measuring cylinder
  4. Pipette
  5. Styrofoam cup 
  6. Small spray bottle 

Worksite:

As this was a workshop held in Singapore Visitor Centre, I wasn’t able to explore the proper worksite Theo10 has in their factory in Mandai. However, almost 20 of us were able to make the moisturiser and insect repellent in the small space during the workshop (as seen from picture above). This was because the base product (i.e. the moisturiser and insect repellent) was already made, all we had to do was to add in some essential oils and mix it together. 

Overall, I had a great time making the moisturisers and insect repellent. Theodore was also very knowledgable and had a lot of facts to share with us. 

Exploring Practitioners: Isabelle Desjeux – Joey

It was really cool visiting and observing what Isabelle does. She is a photographer and an artist and also Prof Andy’s friend! The work she does is really useful and relevant for me as I am trying to build a mobile/portable darkroom~

Worksite Documentation
I went to visit her in her studio at Blue House Nursery & International Preschool where I saw some of photos, home-made cameras and dark room!

Some of her negative prints 

Tools Used/Works
The cool contraptions Isabelle designed and made were really interesting.
I managed to learn a lot from her and her work!
Like knowing that red acrylic is actually light proof! (just that it’s expensive and it’s quite a difficult material to work with) 

She showed me around her space and what she usually does in the studio and all the cool projects she has done and is on. 
She proceeded to show me her really cool homemade camera (one of her favourite actually) which is super high tech, consisting for materials such as a beer can, duct tape, cardboard, aluminum foil and rubber band. For course not forgetting the stabliser which is also very sophisticated, a pencil.
We then went out to try to take a photo with it but not before putting in the photo paper inside.

Process Documentation
Isabelle taught me how to calculate how much time we need to leave the pinhole camera for (or rather the shutter speed) by using math and an app. With the size of the pinhole, the distance between the hole and the photo paper and the amount of sunlight around, the app can detect and show about how much the shutter speed would be. So for this time, it was about 3 minutes. After taking the photograph, we went back inside to develop the photo with the “darkbox” she designed.

The dark room is designed by Isabelle, made up of plywood, red acrylic, metal clasps to secure and old dad denim jeans where hands go! 
Through the red acrylic I can see how Isabelle develops the photo.

I went to visit Isabelle again at her home studio near one-north. 
She showed me the current project she is working on, building an installation, a huge camera which I could participate it.

I helped Isabelle to build the camera together with the pinhole cardboard. The camera was really cool, very steampunk.
But we found out that the plastic sphere is actually not light proof so we had to dismantle it to spray paint it black to make it more opaque.

We also had to take out the translucent acrylic plastic by drilling and sawing which I tried!

These are some of her other cool cameras!

Talking to Isabelle and helping her out was really constructive to my project! I learnt a lot from her and managed to apply them to my project such as using aluminum foil instead of black cloth for my portable dark room, knowing that red acrylic is actually light proof and some of the possible materials I could work with.

Pain Points
I think one thing Isabelle will always need is space when creating and building her cameras.
There are also a lot of tools that she needs which might not be apparent at first until we start building it.
Her darkroom is really cool and quite light actually. So she actually carries it around with a trolley attached to her bike to make it mobile.
But other than that, it’s not exactly wearable especially cause it is pretty bulky. 
So I hope my darkroom could work upon hers, using umbrella and aluminum foil making it lighter and with a strap to make it wearable.