Makers We Love (Apr 2021)
At Outline, we are constantly inspired by the work of makers in our community. Join us every month for Makers We Love, a series where we invite some of our favorite polymer clay makers/artists to share more about who they are and what they do.
For our inaugural Makers We Love feature, we sat down with polymer clay food miniature artist Lixuan Tay, better known by her moniker @thepigbakesclay. Read on to find out more about how the humble vending machine became a platform for Lixuan to share her creations with more people!
Tell us about yourself!
I’m Lixuan! I graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in digital media design. I was a former digital media designer turned primary school teacher and then finally, probably found one of my passions in life – crafting polymer clay food miniatures!
What’s the story behind the name @thepigbakesclay?
I am really close to my mum, who loves pigs. I collect pig-related souvenirs for her whenever I travel out of Singapore so when I started my own online business, I wanted my mum to be part of the business and so I decided to incorporate a pig mascot into my brand. You can also link pig to pigging out on food, so I guess it somehow relates to my food-themed studs even though the main reason behind the name was my mum.
What were you doing before you started @thepigbakesclay?
I was working as a web designer but left after getting jaded. I became a teacher, teaching Mathematics, English and Music in a primary school but resigned after my bond ended. Amazingly, all the skills learnt from my past occupations helped me immensely in my current job as a food miniaturist – teaching helped me in my craft workshops and my background as a web designer helped in my illustrations and web work.
Which is your favourite collection thus far?
Probably my sushi ones! And also the Ya Kun-inspired Singaporean bread and kopi/soft-boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper ones (Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a Singaporean chain of mass-market, retro-ambience cafés selling toast, soft-boiled eggs and coffee).
How did the idea of selling your creations through vending machines come about?
In Japan, I came across vending machines selling all kinds of stuff such as cigarettes, instant meals, umbrellas and cosmetics. I read about how Dubai has vending machines selling laptops and gold bars. Because my studs are small, I thought vending machines might be a suitable platform for me to share my brand with the general public at a fraction of the cost of renting a shop/studio space.
Any tips to share with new makers?
I think that the market for polymer clay earrings is really competitive right now so if you really want to make this your full-time job, it’s realistically a balance between what you want to make versus analysing the current trends and making what your target audience likes or can relate to in order to garner a solid customer base.