Exhibition: #WorkInProgress – Reviving Western Calligraphy & Lettering at library@orchard

Scribblers Collective exhibition: #WorkInProgress - Reviving Western Calligraphy & Lettering at library@orchard

Scribblers Collective is adorning Trend Gallery with beautifully-handwritten pieces from 1 – 10 November! Drop by level 3 of library@orchard to peer at 18th century scripts and gilded flourishes, as the Scribblers showcase the calligrapher’s process through a #WorkInProgress.

Scribblers Collective exhibition: #WorkInProgress - Reviving Western Calligraphy & Lettering at library@orchard

Scribblers Collective exhibition: #WorkInProgress - Reviving Western Calligraphy & Lettering at library@orchard

Scribblers Collective exhibition: #WorkInProgress - Reviving Western Calligraphy & Lettering at library@orchard

Scribblers Collective exhibition: #WorkInProgress - Reviving Western Calligraphy & Lettering at library@orchard

We’re also stoked to host a handlettered piece by them (to this month’s theme of ‘Spectrum’) at our Make whiteboards! Staying true to the #WorkInProgress theme, Scribblers Collective will be dissecting the layers which make up such an ornate design. We’re excited to see it finished!

library@orchard’s 3rd Birthday

We celebrated our third anniversary at library@orchard this year! This year, we partnered up with STPI, Singapore Fashion Runway, and Resident Captain LULO to bring you a day of loud prints. Did you silkscreen a handkerchief or fold a slice of cake during our celebration? Tag us at #orchardpl if you post it on Instagram! Make sure to stay tuned to our exclusive design and lifestyle programming on our Facebook page too.

Thank you for making library@orchard a wonderful place in the heart of orchard for the past three years. Here’s to many more.

  • The library@orchard team

Bags of Style: Go Vintage!

Before meeting vintage handbag collector Karen Hoisington, we never knew just how extensive the history of the handbag was – for example, did you know that the term ‘handbag‘ was originally used to refer to men’s hand-luggage?

We sat down with Karen as she took us on a fascinating crash course through the bags of style.

Mesh Bags from 1900s

Bag Creator: Whiting & Davis Corporation, 
Claim to Fame: Metal Mesh Bags
Era: 1907

Bags of Style: Go Vintage! A talk by Karen Hoisington - Whiting Davis Mesh BagWhiting and Davis was established in 1896 by Charles Whiting and Edward P. Davis. They began production of their famous metal mesh bags in 1907, achieving the fame of creating “metal mesh bags, comprised wholly or in part of metal in all sizes and forms, both soldered and woven mesh”. Owning an original Whiting and Davies bag appreciates in time; a rare “Moxie” Whiting & Davies bag was sold at auction for $4049.99 in 2003.

High Glamour Lucite Bags of the 1940s

Bag Creator: Wilardy Originals, 
Claim to Fame: Lucite High Fashion Bags
Era: 1948

Bags of Style: Go Vintage! A talk by Karen Hoisington - Wilardy BagWilardy Originals began in 1946 as a collaboration between Charles and William Hardy. Charles was a wizard with mathematics and a hard business man. William was the artist, designer, a great motivator and a man who possessed unusual social grace. William designed Lucite handbags, chandeliers for the White House, jewelry, and even clothing. His Lucite purses were sold in Hollywood, Miami, Paris, London, and Fifth Avenue in New York to the rich and famous. Wilardy was also the first to use celebrity endorsements and sponsored products in Hollywood movies – a Wilardy Rhinestone Clutch featured in the Ida Lupino film Private Hell 36. Lucite, or a hard plastic material, is one of my favourite materials for vintage bags.

Bag Creator: Llewellyn Handbags,
Claim to Fame: Lucite High Fashion Bags
Era: 1955

Bags of Style: Go Vintage! A talk by Karen Hoisington - Llewellyn HandbagsLlewellyn was known for their fine collection of rigid plastic boxes called Blue Frost, a silver blue tone with a pearly iridescent quality and embellished fabric bags, trimmed in needlepoint, glass beads and plastic jewels. On show is a circular panel of bullion braid, pearls, and rhinestones centered on a shell, and a Lucite bag with sculptured sides.

Bags as Wearable Art

Bag Creator: Timmy Woods, USA
Claim to Fame: Artistic bags made of acacia wood carried by Hollywood Celebrities
Era: 1980s

Bags of Style: Go Vintage! A talk by Karen Hoisington - Timmy Woods Eiffel Tower Handbag.Timmy Woods is a designer and manufacturer of fashion-forward, high quality, wearable-art handbags for women. Timmy’s bags have been carried and collected by celebrities like Liz Taylor, Diana Ross, and Hillary Clinton. Each bag is carved from fallen Acacia trees, and her inspiration continues to be a genuine love of art and fashion, the joy she derives from global interchanges with people, the desire to make others look and feel good, and her belief in integrity and honesty. I am happy to own one of her signed creations used in Sex in the City by Sarah Jessica Parker.

Do It Yourself By Numbers Jewel Bags

Bag Creator: Enid Collins, USA
Claim to Fame: Whimsical handbags during the Flower Power era
Era: 1960s

Bags of Style: Go Vintage! A talk by Karen Hoisington - Enid Collins Handbag.Enid Collins, owner and designer, primarily made two types of bags – wooden box purses, and canvas bucket style bags. Each purse was hand-decorated with paint, sequins, and rhinestones in themed designs. Never intended to be fad creations, Enid Collins finished all of her handbags with a leather trim, mirrors, brass findings, and fasteners. They were intended to be good quality, fun day bags – a bit of glitz on the way to the grocery store! In the late 60s, the Collins company manufactured complete do-it-yourself kits called Sophistikits which are, of course, very difficult to find uncompleted. Signatures are also important. Early box bags were fully signed under the Enid Collins name, and often dated by year (designs could change from year to year). Bags frequently have their themed names written on them.

Fun Bags for Vacation

Bag Creator: Stylecraft Miami
Claim to Fame: Innovative bag maker that produced lines in a wide variety of styles and materials to reflect the beach culture in Miami
Era: 1950s

Bags of Style: Go Vintage! A talk by Karen Hoisington - Basket Handbag.Stylecraft developed many innovative designs using flexible vinyl. Their marketing slogan was “Novelties star at Stylecraft of Miami – As relaxed and off-the-beaten-path as the life in Miami, are the spring handbags created and made by Stylecraft of Miami.” Most are designed with shoe-coordination in mind. Clear vinyl is handled cleverly in large tote-types. Some are trimmed in straw braid, others have calf in new shoe colors. Straw fabrics are used for big basket bags of unusual shapes. Baskets are also done with lids of shoe fabric for coordination.

If this snippet has you – bagging – for more, make sure to register for a seat at her talk on 14 October 2017 (Saturday), 2:30pm – 4:00pm. Details and registration: bit.ly/BagsofStyleGoVintage.

Window Display: Synaesthesia

Synaesthesia Window Display at library@orchard

Our window display had a makeover a while back to the theme of ‘Synaesthesia’. A common form of Synaesthesia is the seeing of colours when one is exposed to certain sounds, so we sought to explore the relationship between our sense of sight, and sound.

Synaesthesia Window Display at library@orchard

Of course, it wouldn’t be a window display for the library if we didn’t include books! It was hard work transporting our collection and sculpting them into a visual representation of a sound wave, but teamwork has always been a sound plan for the library@orchard team. Head down to catch a glimpse before we switch it up next quarter.

library@orchard Window Display features curated exhibits relevant to our design & lifestyle collection. It is located on level 3 next to the Reservation Locker.


For almost every Saturday last month, our Resident, Sunny Ang, has been calling library@orchard his studio. Co-founder of the Facebook group Plastic Singapore, Sunny set up dioramas for our library patrons to try their hand at toy photography – a form of photography where toys are put against interesting backdrops and arranged to look life-like.

There’s something charming about looking at toys through a camera lens. Something magical happens when Sunny shows us the perspectives of toy characters and their surroundings. Suddenly, it’s not just a picture, but a whole new way of seeing.

We sat down with Sunny to talk about what toy photography means to him, and the challenges of his admirable journey to spread awareness about this playful art form.

“I was feeling bored one day so I picked up a Spiderman action figure, placed him on the ledge, and shot a picture of him gazing down at the streets below, as if preparing to leap off and save the world. Later, I discovered the huge toy photography community on Instagram and haven’t stopped shooting and posting toy photos since.”

My family/loved ones think I am quite creative, although my sons find it odd that I’m still playing with toys! These days, I have a new appreciation for toys and the sculpting, articulation and design that goes into each toy figure. I always try to hone in on such features in my photos.

My wife, on the other hand, is more supportive of my hobby. I was surprised the first time she volunteered to help me out at a convention. We ended up having a great time and blew the day’s earnings treating ourselves to a good meal. It’s also a good excuse to go on a date! She’s great at marketing products and I always seek her advice for pricing and ideas. So, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks for her support, help and advice!

To me, toy photography means breathing life into pieces of plastic. It’s like a photoshoot in real life, but on a smaller scale, and with models that you can twist, turn, and manipulate! If the viewer connects with the image and goes wow or haha!, then the photo has succeeded. The fact that the models are toys is secondary.

In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies and going online to learn more about photography, video editing and photo touch-up skills. I am always looking for ways to improve, because you are only as good as your last picture.

Initially, I felt that toy photography was just about taking funny pictures to tell a joke. When I first started, all I did was snap a photo with my mobile phone, add some filters in Instagram, and then post it – all in less than 5 minutes. But after seeing the works of others on Instagram, I was inspired to think about how I can tell more with these pictures, with better lighting, composition and captions. These days, I can take up to 4 hours for a single picture, from setting up to post-processing. Sometimes, if I get up early, I head to the park for some outdoor shots, which lasts till about 10 am. Other times, I could be shooting from 1 am till 4 am.

Toy photography allowed me to mash up impossible scenes that I would have loved to see in movies, such as making the Terminator appear in a Star Wars set. I love pop culture, especially movie quotes. I usually shoot scenes with reference to them, but with my own take on them. My goal for every shot is to get a laugh out of the viewer.

My passion for toy photography has connected me to a lot of like-minded people, especially on social media. Encouraging comments have kept me motivated, though I would like to stress that one should not be shooting photos just to get ‘likes’ and comments. It should be for your own enjoyment and satisfaction.

Creating the Plastic Singapore group on Facebook has let me make new friends. We organize outdoor shoots, share ideas and tips, and alert each other about good deals to get new toys. But this is not necessarily a good thing because we always end up spending more money on more toys!

I decided to do the Residency at library@orchard because I wanted to spread awareness about this form of photography. It is not a well-known art form, and currently only has a small audience.

Recently, I was saddened to hear that an online friend of mine participated in a photography competition, but was told that his photographs would not be considered for judging because it’s not real photography. So, I really hope to raise the profile of toy photography. This residency is a baby step towards that goal. I was heartened to see the looks of genuine surprise when the library patrons tried their hands at it. I hope they will show their children how to see their toys in a different light, and play with them beyond the traditional way, so that, someday, they can tell their own epic toy stories with photographs too.

I would like to conduct more talks and workshops at other libraries. I always enjoy sharing my journey. The response at library@orchard has been positive, and I hope to inspire others to pick up this hobby so they can do more with their toys, rather than just playing with or displaying them, especially those who collect expensive action figures!

Look out for more features on our Residencies in the future! If you are interested to apply for a Residency, leave a comment here or drop us a private message at our Facebook page.

Book Tree: Singapore Designers

Book Tree 2017 JulSept

This quarter, being local is in vogue as we delve into all things Singaporean. Thumb through the history of Singapore graphic design, revisit the iconic Gardens by the Bay, and get acquainted with the works of the Design Incubation Centre and fashion insider Daniel Boey. Made-in-Singapore has never been so visually stimulating.

library@orchard Book Trees feature books from our design clusters: People, Space, Product and Visual. They also serve as visual indicators separating our collection on level 4. Recommend a book to others by scanning it at Book Tree!

A blog about the public library at Orchard Road