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#craftmatters .01: starting inspiration from Joanne Lim, Letter J Supply

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This short series was inspired by one of our own MATTER family members Jo, who as a last project before leaving to start her own craft jewelry brand, wanted to find out what challenges lay before her and whether it was really possible to combine craft and commerce in a place like Singapore. She spoke to 5 inspiring local makers in this process, and by sharing it we hope that it inspires other potential makers to start their own journey, and that craft matters.


I know you were a graphic design for about a decade before The Letter J Supply came about. What were the thoughts running through your head that made you come to a decision to do the switch?

I did a gradual transition, I still had some freelance graphic design jobs on hand. It was a balance between both fields at first, because I needed some financial stability that freelance gave me. Slowly I stopped taking up design jobs entirely and focused solely on The Letter J Supply. It was a mix of anxiousness and excitement, but I knew it. 

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What motivates and inspires you daily? How’s your design routine like?
Just thinking about the endless possibilities to experiment with my craft excites me. A visit to the art supplies and paper shops is always a good start! I spend some time getting to know my new tool and testing it on different materials. Also looking at work that I like and learning from their work to improve on my own. Good music and a relaxed state of mind is key because everything that you are is translated to paper. A6

Share with me a story/moment that was a turning point for you.
When Zixi my illustrator friend came for my first “test” pop-up shop and told me that I didn’t have to be afraid of being perfect before showing my work, that learning on the job will push me further and faster. That has got to be one of the best advice I’ve received!

Your calligraphy workshop is really the hot thing now! You’re even going to Manila for a craft exchange with Hey Kessy. What value do you see in such collaborations?
I think collaborations can be very powerful when we meet people who are like-minded but with complimentary skill sets. Collabs must be win-win situations, where both parties are working with their strengths. For me working together with different people also sharpens me in learning to work with different styles and systems. The best part is actually the friendship that is born from working towards something together.

There are many more aspiring creatives out there like myself. What big hopes do you have for the local craft scene?
That we will support one another more, develop a culture of encouraging words for fellow crafters, and grow together as a community.  That everyone can find their own unique voice by enjoying the process of what they do and shine!

How’s The Letter J Supply calendar looking for the rest of 2015 and in 2016?
We are working on a new project that’s a leap of faith for the end of 2015. Still under wraps but look out for our updates! We usually leave our plans open for space to try new things.

You must have a huge archive of quotes, but what’s your favourite?
“Favour opens doors, but humility keeps you in the room.” - Bill Johnson.

Ultimate essentials that you never leave home without?
My organiser! It contains my schedule and important notes. My phone, a notebook and a pen. 

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