Shane's Stamp and Salty Salty Egg

5 January 2016

One of the five postcards in Salty Salty Egg's 'Malacca Famous Foods' set.

Seeing something virtually, on the internet, is not the same as looking at it in real life, especially when we're talking about something as delicate as handmade things. Shane's postcards are obviously pretty, lovely and made wholeheartedly. I saw her postcards online and asked her if I could talk to her about her crafts. Coincidentally, Shane, the girl who designed my blog logo, happened to be our mutual friend so I asked her along to talk about her rubber stamps.

They brought their tools and we talked cheerily about how they made things happen. Believe it or not, this was our first time meeting one another. 

They have the same name. Shane who makes stamps (left) and Shane who makes postcards (right).

Shane's Stamps (SS), make rubber stamps, her Facebook page
Salty Salty Egg (SSE), make postcards, her Facebook page


How did you know each other?

We knew each other in a photography gathering, that was 4-5 years ago. And since then we always hang out together. We became really good friends!


How did you start being makers?

SS: I was working in a stationary shop. They had a bunch of old stocks selling at a cheaper price. I saw some rubber stamp carving tools and decided to buy them. That was in 2012! There isn't anyone around me who does it so I learn alone by watching YouTube videos. There're many Japanese tutorials about this hobby.  Then I started to take photos of the product and shared them on Facebook. Sometimes I made them to be given to friends as gifts, like for their wedding I would make stamps of their initials as presents. Fun-fact: My first customer was Yingxi Qiu Ying (Note: she's my friend too, look at this small small world! -Eve). She ordered a rubber stamp to be gifted to a friend who's running a homestay.

SSE: I started half a year ago. I like to draw. I've always been interested in drawing illustrations. I studied industrial design, which is a different drawing style. I prefer the current style that I'm doing. I first know about postcards when I was traveling. Then I came across a website called Postcrossing, where strangers from different parts of the world connect by exchanging postcards. After joining that website, I realized that the postcards that we had in Malaysia are very typical. They're usually photos about landscape, not the ones that I'd like to buy. So I decided to make my own postcards. 


How do you usually come up with a design?

SS: First, I communicate with the customer to see what he/she wants. Most of the orders are for personal use so it will be helpful if they can tell me what style or design they prefer. Then I draft different versions of a design and see if they like it. Once the design is approved, I'll start carving. I work as an account assistant by day, so I can only work on the rubber stamps at night. From start to finish, it will take me around 1 month to complete an order. If it's a complicated design, it could take longer than that.

SSE: My case is a little different from hers. My postcards are my own ideas. I think the best thing to represent Malaysia is definitely FOOD! I always miss our local foods when I'm abroad. They are so symbolic and important! For my first set of postcards, I started with the famous foods of Johor, which is my hometown! I'm familiar of the good food of the state, so naturally I began drawing them. And then I made the Malacca version, which is the place for wonderful local delicacies. Next, I'd like to draw for Penang!


"I normally draw sketches first, and then scan the images to the computer. After that I print out several copies of the designs, try multiple colour combination to choose the best. I use colour pencils. Once I'm happy with the result, I scan the drawing to the computer, adjust the layout and add my logo. The paper that you're holding now is a result of many experiments. I made many trials to finally choose this quality and grade." - Salty Salty Egg


Shane's tools for making rubber stamps. 
"Once the design is approved by the customer, first I will transfer my design to a piece of rubber, then I will use a pen knife to carve the shapes and indents. I have to do it carefully." On top left that's my ultra-complicated logo, which took her two days to carve. Next to mine is SSE's logo, which is an Ultraman. She said it only took her half an hour to carve that Ultraman, "It's very easy!" Below the stamps, that's her Daiso bag decorated with her own stamps.

Gogu taking videos of the interview. His gadgets are so pro. I could feel everyone in the cafe was staring and wondering what we're doing.

So both of you handle the business A-Z, alone?

Yes, we do it all by ourselves. From communicating with the customers, all the way to posting the products. 

What is the most difficult part of running this business?

Price! Sometimes the customers will negotiate the price with us. At the moment, not many Malaysians really appreciate the value of handmade goodies. They might think that they can get similar things at a cheaper price. Hopefully more people will understand that our things are handmade with immense amount of time and effort. They are limited edition. In fact, our products are reasonably priced!

SS: Here's another challenge that I'm always facing - some of the customers don't know what they want. Unsure of their request, I will make a few drafts for them to choose and slowly understand  their taste and preference. It takes some time to communicate but in the end we can sort it out.

Some of the 'prototype' of Salty Salty Egg's postcards in which she tested different combination of colours. At the end of the interview she gave me a set of her beautiful Malacca postcards, with the famous chicken rice ball, satay celup, mille crepe, longkang siham and nyonya kueh.


Last question, can you share some thoughts with people who also want to work part-time as an artist/designer?


■  Persistent
■  Do it, don't just think.
■  Take the challenges when it arises.

You won't know what is waiting for you if you don't take the first step. 

A million thanks to them and their boyfriends, Gogu and my sister the photographer for the interesting Sunday morning.


AFTERWORD BY EVE

It's very fascinating to see how people, who are in different fields, think and act differently. I'm currently in the scientific research and academia field, which is obviously different from them who are so creative and artistic. It seems like they are on one end of the spectrum and I'm on the other. But... on a second thought, why can't science and art merge? Why can't they co-exist? In what ways they can complement each other? Where is the middle ground?

And more importantly, I find my mind expanding every time I meet people of different background. And there's always something I can learn and apply in my own field. Interesting, huh?

PS: the video is on the way. Meanwhile, check out their pages. Have a creative and productive week!

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