Changing lives via craftwork

Wong showing a collection of her decoupage work on items like handbags, boxes and lamp shades at her workspace in Lorong Nipah, Taman Lip Sin, Penang. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

STEPPING into 45-year-old artist Shasha Wong’s studio is like being transported to the Italian Renaissance era, a vibrant period during the 14th century.

Wong, who practises decoupage, is a master at combining the art of painting with the glueing of decorative elements and paper cut-outs to create artistic Renaissance themes.

“I am passionate about beautifying things ever since I picked up decoupage, and I love beautifying objects and my furniture with Renaissance-themed artwork.

“To me, this art is really flexible. It allows me to practise and experiment in my own way and cultivate my own flair and creativity,” she said during an interview at her workplace in Taman Lip Sin, Penang.

Wong said she decided to practise decoupage after seeing the beauty of the art in the home of her friend’s mother about 15 years ago.

“As a child, I have always been fond of art but it was my friend’s mum who opened my eyes to this very flexible, versatile and beautiful artform.

“She turned a simple rocking chair into an enchanting and mesmerising work of art,” she added.

Wong teaching students the decoupage technique of decorating a wooden plaque. (Left) Students glueing decorative elements onto key boxes.
Wong teaching students the decoupage technique of decorating a wooden plaque.

Wong said she then started a journey with decoupage and combined it with Italian art style.

“After I started experimenting with the art on different materials and furniture, I realised that many things in our daily lives can be beautified.

“Something old or pre-loved can always be transformed into something with value and beauty,” she said.

Dubbing it as ‘poor people’s art’, Wong said it suited anyone who loves art and wanted to find a way to sustain their lives while doing something they love.

“Many artists may struggle to make a living. But instead of a painting, we might make a living if we turn something usable like a bag or tray into a piece of art.

“As such, I hope more people can be exposed to this art, especially those from needy families as this can change their lives,” she added.

Wong hopes to help children from orphanages and other welfare homes learn the art.

Students glueing decorative elements onto key boxes.

“I have loved art all my life, but because my family was not that wealthy back then, I could not really pursue my passion.

“Now that I am doing what I love, I hope to help others in less fortunate positions to do the same,” she said.

Wong conducts free classes for selected groups of students and people at her studio. She hopes to open her classes to the disabled and needy children from homes, associations and centres.

“I would like to hold free classes for disabled and needy children from homes, associations and centres once or twice a month.

“Thus, I hope associations or centres with residents who wish to learn the art will contact me,” she said.

Wong can be contacted at 012-473 5592.

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