Purveyors of beautifully handmade products
By Samantha Francis; Cover photo: Palinoia
I have always admired handcrafting artisans.
In a world where speed and efficiency is admired, it takes a momentous effort to slow down and focus on quality instead.
That’s why these four homegrown brands are worth sitting up and taking notice. They’ve made it their purpose to handcraft products that are not only useful but also beautiful.
We chat with the founders to find out what makes handmade goods so appealing in this time and age.
Photo: Bynd Artisan
1. Bynd Artisan
I found Bynd Artisan by sheer chance, one balmy afternoon at Holland Village. The shop smelled wonderfully of paper and leather.
With a mission to reinvigorate the stationery industry by rekindling the love of pen on paper, they offer well-designed stationery that are not only stylish but functional.
Their speciality lies in bookbinding and leather crafting, with on-the-spot name personalisation being one of their more popular services.
On the appeal of handcrafted goods in this time and age, Brand Manager Lin Danhong has this to say:
“Handcrafted items are endearing, since each piece is a unique result of the maker’s effort.”
Having worked with the likes of creatives Larry Peh, John Clang, Erwin Lian and Priscilla Ong Shunmugam, Bynd Artisan is now working on its next collaboration with homegrown singer Gentle Bones.
Find out more about Bynd Artisan and their workshops at www.byndartisan.com
Photo: The Leather Mallet
2. The Leather Mallet
In this fast moving digital age, it is almost rare to find someone like Brian Ho, founder of The Leather Mallet.
He captures timeless moments as an analog photographer by day — along with the laborious process of developing his own black and white film, and handcrafts by night.
The Leather Mallet was started as a means to transform discarded items into something fresh and new. With plenty of film canisters on hand, he chose to turn them into these adorable, yet nostalgic looking film canister flash drives.
They can also be customised with any photo, and printed on archival-grade Monet fine art canvas made by renowned German fine art paper manufacturer, Hahnemühle.
To him, there is something “very human” about handmade products.
Brian quips, “[Handmade products] bear a certain character and uniqueness that differentiates one similar item from the other.
“No two identical handmade products are ever exactly the same. That individuality to me is the charm of handcrafted products.”
Find out more about The Leather Mallet at www.theleathermallet.com
Photo: Obbi Good Label
3. Obbi Good Label
Despite the cheeky and colloquial sounding “Obbi Good”, the leather product company is serious about their handcrafted goods.
Made using leather crafting tools like awl, prong, stitching pony as well as vintage sewing machines, their products feature exquisite and elegant workmanship.
James Dung of Obbi Good Label says: “In an hi-tech era like now, it is the handcrafting industry that can bring people back to the fundamental of functional and time-lasting products.”
I found myself especially drawn to the spacious looking Avaitor Bags, which feature double-blend natural vegetable tan leather, sturdy canvas in beautiful hues and solid brass hardware.
At first glance, Palinoia’s accessories may look like any nondescript label’s offerings. But a closer look reveals the stunning details on each clay sphere — tiny, colourful ‘scales’ layer over each other in a beautiful gradient.
According to the founders, the brand was born out of a pursuit of perfection, through the compulsive repetition of a pattern.
To founder Tracy Mah, handmade goods have the ability to connect makers and buyers, by means of having the latter appreciate each “perfect imperfection”.
As for us, we’re floored by the sheer intricacy of the designs. Each clay piece is shaped and remolded by careful hands, resulting in a vibrant selection of necklaces and earrings.
Find out more about Palinoia at www.palinoia.co