This week we visited the little known architectural wonder that is Tai O fishing village in Hong Kong. A fishing village built entirely on stilts, visited mainly buy tourists wanting to purchase dried fish and eat local snacks. But look a little further, delve into the back streets and you will find a community that has built (and is still building) an entire village on stilts in the inlet of the South China sea. Here is our photo diary of a quiet Sunday spent exploring the structures that seem to defy gravity, and watching the villagers build new structures and maintain the old houses.
A christmas wreath is a tradition, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be traditional. Follow our easy DIY wreath and give your guests a colourful surprise to look at whilst they stand on your doorstep.
- 2 old wire coat hangers
- Wire for securing everything in place
- Wire cutters
- A long strip of fake fern
- A can of white spray paint
- Colourful feathers
- Newspaper to protect your home
Start with spray painting your fake fern. Do this outside and make sure that you fully cover the area with newspaper before you begin spraying.
Now make 2 circles with your coat hangers, one smaller than the other and secure them together with the extra wire. Try to get a round shape but it really doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, nobody will see it because it will be covered up with all your wonderful decorations.
Now start to attach the fake fern. Starting with small sections, build up from the outside in. You will need to use the wire to secure the fern. We added 3 rows, one on the outer circle, one on the inner circle and one between the two. If you place them in alternate directions you will get a nice bushy effect.
Once you are happy that your fern is nicely placed and secured with the wire, you can start adding the feathers. Add them in small sections building up as you go. Keep checking that it looks balanced. Keep going until you are happy with the overall effect, then secure all the feathers in place with the wire.
You will need…..
- Clear glass or plastic baubles
- Colourful feathers
- Colourful tape or string for hanging
- A chopstick!
Start by removing the hanging stand from your baubles and pull the feathers off the tape, selecting the colours that you want to use.
Once you have put in all the feathers that you want to, put back the hanger stand and add a colourful tape to hang the baubles.
A quick post today to share with you some colourful treats I bought on a recent trip to India.
I fully admit I am a textile addict, my collection of fabrics from around the world takes up quite a bit of space in my studio and the problem is I just keep collecting more, like a magpie! So I made a promise recently to start making use of my beautiful hoard and to share it with other textile lovers. So, here it begins! I decided to start with this little bit of neon from India. I’m thinking they would make beautiful linings to clutches, wonderful silk blend scarves or even reverses to some cushions I am in the process of designing. Do you have any suggestions to help me break my addiction and make my collection more than just a colourful addition to my shelves? Let me know any ideas that you have – I would love to hear them.
Part of me feels like I shouldn’t post this….. I want to keep it a secret so it stays quiet, calm and unspoilt forever. But it is too beautiful not to share, you are in for a treat!
Earlier this month Eclectic East took a mini break to crosswaters ecolodge. Nestled amid swaying bamboo forests in the valleys of the Nankunshan Mountain Reserve in Guandong province, it is so far removed from the hustle, bustle and pollution of urban China, it was easy to forget that it was only a few hours drive from Hong Kong. Designed by EDSA, the architecture considers local materials and the flowing landscape whilst still creating structures and spaces that feel contemporary and avant garde. The scheme was constructed using local and recycled materials that were all on the site. Bamboo is something that you get used to seeing in construction when you live in Asia but this lodge is exceptional, the use of bamboo brings together traditional materials with striking design which beautifully and simply expresses the structural elements of it’s form.
Windows that fully opened up to the cool forest outside brought in the wonderful mountain air, traditional bamboo screening the use of reflective pools are all designed to create a resort that feels contemporary in a way that doesn’t intrude on the landscape around it.
So what did Mr and Mrs Eclectic East do all weekend other than admire the wonderful architecture? Well… firstly we ate very well indeed! All the food in the resort is locally sourced so mountain frog (yes really!) and river fish are specialities of the lodge – very tasty indeed! Not surprisingly bamboo is also on the menu which is delicious and very good for your health apparently. Whilst we weren’t eating we enjoyed swimming in the natural swimming pool in the river, hiking in the surrounding hills, yogaing on our balcony overlooking the river and simply enjoying the swaying bamboo trees and imagining we were in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
When the sun went down and we had eaten too many frogs and drunk some very bad wine (suggest taking your own if you visit!) we climbed the resort’s very own star gazing tower and were dazzled by the beautiful twinkly sky and thought how lucky we were to have found this little bit of paradise in the mountains.
This weekend at Eclectic East we visited the Hi 60’s installation project at Fine Art Asia.
The project invited a group of local Hong Kong artists to create artworks which expressed Hong Kong in the 1960’s. The exhibition was bright, playful and energetic with striking colours and experimentation with light and shadow. We were really inspired by the work of Cornelia Erdmann. Erdmann’s City Pattern showed the changes that went on in Hong Kong during the building of the high rise apartments and “new towns” which define so much of Hong Kong’s architecture today. I am often inspired by patterns in architecture and have used such inspiration to create textile designs. It was interesting to see how Erdmann approached this often divisive subject with humour and visual audacity. See more of Cornelia Erdmann here
The work of Otto Li also stood out. Li had created a perspex motorbike in sections. When seen straight on it clearly showed a bike, from the side you saw each piece broken down. Li used the motorbike icon because it reflected the Teddy Boys in Hong Kong in the 1960’s. See more of Otto Li’s work here
The final artist really made my heart sing! Man Fung -yi and her work which depicts traditional Cheongsam made from metal. Man Fung-yi is a renowned artist who has been internationally recognised for her intricate sculptures made from heavy metal work. As a textile designer I loved seeing the structure woven from metal and the colours and patterns were inspiring. Find out more about Man Fung-yi here.
There is still time to get down to Fine Art Asia, it is open until the 7th Oct. Have fun and hope you are as inspired as we were!
Here at Eclectic East, we are working on some artwork that is inspired by our life in Hong Kong.We love the tradition of the Chinese stone chops and plan to use them to create contemporary printed artwork.
The chops are carved by hand with the designs that you request. Traditionally you would have a chop made with your name and this would be used in correspondence. It is still a tradition which continues today, but now Hongkongers also use this traditional craft to create logos and other modern designs.
As with many things in Hong Kong, the tradition lives on and there is still a street devoted to it which is aptly named – chop street!
I found Mr Ng’s shop and he helped me to chose chops which were auspicious and held significance to me.
We chose the Pheonix and Dragon which is a very auspicious symbol in Chinese culture. There is a saying in Chinese which is “When the dragon soars and the phoenix dances, the people will enjoy happiness for years, bringing peace and tranquility to all under heaven.” So I am very happy to take that! Secondly we chose the Monkey which is my birth sign. According to the Chinese zodiac people born in this sign are Lively, quick-witted, versatile and creative – hope I can live up to this! Lastly we chose the Lion which Mr Ng simply told me was “very happy”! Having looked this up since I have seen it is known as the king of animals and is seen as a symbol of power and protection. So with those three it seems I am all sorted for protection, happiness and creativity – what more does a girl need!
Once I told Mr Ng the words that I wanted on each chop he drew them by hand which he used as a guide for his carving. He is a true craftsman and can carve the most intricate designs. I hope this is a tradition which continues and doesn’t die out with a new generation.
I went back to pick up my chops once Mr Ng had had time to carve them all. He did such a beautiful job and even showed me how to use the traditional ink to create the prints. Here is a sneak peek of the designs I chose, this one means I love Hong Kong! It is shown reflected obviously but it gives you an idea of Mr Ng’s skill in this long tradition. Long may that continue.