Gaia’s Ikebana

Ikebana, one of the traditional arts of Japan, has been practiced for more than 600 years. It developed from the Buddhist ritual of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead. It is a form of Japanese art of flower arrangement. ‘Ike’, means alive/arrange and ‘bana’ means flower. (

Most ikebana arrangements fall into one of three basic design categories,

Moribana is that they are arranged in a shallow vase or suiban, compote vessel, or basket.

Nageirebana is a non-structured design which led to the development of the seika or shoka style. It is characterized by a tight bundle of stems that form a triangular three-branched asymmetrical arrangement that was considered classic.

Heika (also known as shoka) is a basic style of ikebana arrangement that uses a tall vase and highlights vertical lines.. (

Balance Through Asymmetry

While balance and harmony are key to Japanese Ikebana, unlike Western floral design it eschews symmetry. Instead, the lack of symmetry is a distinct feature, carefully created to avoid any sense of disturbance. There is more to this in Japanese Ikebana than a simple absence of symmetry. There are degrees of asymmetry, and some people ascribe different levels of maturity or even spirituality to different forms of asymmetry. (

The Main Five

The taste buds are the foundation of every flavor you experience. Essentially, these are tiny biological structures that sit among the tongue’s papillae, or the tiny, rounded parts of the tongue.

An illustration of taste buds from Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body. When taste buds were discovered in the 19th century, tongue cells under a microscope looked like little keyholes into which bits of food might fit, and the idea persisted that there were four different keyhole shapes.
1 – bitter, 2 – sour, 3 – salty, 4 – sweet

Sour –– It is mostly acidic solutions like lemon juice or organic acids that taste sour. This sensation is caused by hydrogen ions, chemical symbol: H+, split off by an acid dissolved in a watery solution.

Sweet –– is usually caused by sugar and its derivatives such as fructose or lactose. But other types of substances can also activate the sensory cells that respond to sweetness.

Salty –– the chemical basis of this taste is salt crystal, which consists of sodium and chloride. Mineral salts like the salts of potassium or magnesium can also cause a sensation of saltiness.

Bitterness –– s a sharp, pungent, or disagreeable flavor. Bitterness is neither salty nor sour, but may at times accompany these flavor sensations. Compounds that have an alkaline pH, such as baking soda, often have a bitter flavor.

Umami – Not very well known to all. It can present in a wide range of foods – anything that contains glutamates, including many fermented and aged foods. Having red meats such as beef, the more ages they are, the greater the levels of umami.

Sketch Model 001

The cylinder being the dominant, wedged 1/3 onto the sub-dominant. The large void in between the dominant and the base makes the dominant levitate. The sphere being pierced through the dominant.

Sketch Model 002

The sub-dominant being wedged on the dominant and the sub-ordinate wedged onto the sub-dominant. All of the 3 are facing in different axis hence making the model more interesting.

Things to improve on  is to reduce 30% the size of the sub-ordinate to have it more prominent when against the sub-dominant.

Sketch Model 003

All the elements are visible in all views. The dominant being pierced through the sub-dominant. To make the model more interesting is to have the sub-dominant placed slightly higher than 45 degree. However the sub-ordinate is facing the same direction as the dominant.   

Things to improve on – to pierce more of the dominant into the sub-dominant. To shift the sub-ordinate directly opposite to create more dynamics to the model.


Season: Spring

The concept for the final model is to portray the birth of the new beginnings right after winter.

Mind map for Spring

Final Model


Sub-Dominant–Carrot, Yellow Acrylic (Two thirds of the carrot is being pierced through the acrylic)


The first thing came into my mind was cherry blossom when I thought of the season spring. Majority of the people might also thought of cherry blossom when thought of spring. So I have decided to go along the birth of the new beginnings which portrays the fresh harvest of spring. I chose yellow acrylic for my cylinder is to show the rising sun after the winter and the carrot is protruding out of the sun to show the growth of the fresh crops. The branch depicts the roots of the carrots therefore is being pierced into the carrot. The mass of the branch compared to the sub-dominants creates a levitation between the branch and the ground. The end of the branch curving inwards is to portray the cycle of the season. 

Forrest Gump (Research)

Hmmmm movie quotes… The first thing came into my mind was The Mask, basically I grew up watching this particular movie over and over again. Second was The Dark Knight’s Joker.



The Mask, 1994


I believe, whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you…stranger

The Dark Knight, 2008


If you’re good at something never do it for free

The Dark Knight, 2008


Madness, as you know is like gravity. All it takes is a little push

The Dark Knight, 2008


I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve

The Dark Knight, 2008


To be continued…






Paradox: Mirror

So I picked up the word mirror. I find that mirror is somewhat similar to symmetry. My task is to create/suggest the idea of mirror using the foams.

Sketch model A

Red – Dominant 

Yellow – Sub-Dominant

Blue – Sub-Ordinate

Orange – Void

My idea for Sketch Model A is to portray mirror as close as possible. To have the SD and SO smacked right in the middle of the D. The SD and SO might seems too flat on the front view. But on the side view, the SO is the support for SD is levitating away from the D, leaving a void in between. It does give off a more dynamic feel to it rather than having everything just sticked onto the D.


Sketch model B

Red – Dominant 

Yellow – Sub-Dominant

Blue – Sub-Ordinate

For this sketch model I tried playing with the methods of incorporating the foams together without using masking tape. Hence the D is wedged into SD and the SO is pierced into the SD. The side view has a clearer vision of the D being wedged 3/4 into SD. The SO 1 unit out of 8 units of the D. The only thing for this sketch model is that from the SO is totally hidden from the bottom view.


Sketch model C

Red – Dominant 

Yellow – Sub-Dominant

Blue – Sub-Ordinate

Leaning towards the word mirror, The SD is crisscrossed with the D and the SO being pierced through the D holding the SD in place. The idea was to have mirror-image all way round 360 degrees of the model. But having the SO pierced through the D instead of the SD will lead to the result of having two similar Ds. I feel that this model is the closest to the word mirror hence I am improving this model further into the final model.  


Final Model

This final model is a much improved version of sketch model 3, whereby the SD is being place in the middle of D and the SO is pierced through right the middle of SD. 

2D Sketch Analysis
Front View
Side View

The choice of transparent acrylic for the dominant is to have emphasis on the sub-dominant and the sub-ordinate. Giving an illusion that the SD and the SO is levitating. The idea is to be able to show SD and SO in all directions, 360 degree. Therefore I chose wood for SD to have a strong contrast out from the D. The height of the void within the D is slightly 1/3 longer but still within 1/2 of the height of the D, leaving a good proportion as a whole. The SO for being a tiny nail is to not overpowering the D and the SD yet having it’s purpose there.



A possible application would be a modern glass house. Far away from the city, a 360 degree surrounding view of the nature. 

Another possible application would a transparent coffee table. Giving off a modern feel to it as well.

My Line is Emo

Bliss – Utter joy, burst of emotions

Bliss depicts a burst of happiness/emotion. The paint splatter is to portray the explosion of feelings. The effect kinda reminds me of a fireworks.

Medium: toothbrush, acrylic paint mixed with water

Method: dip the toothbrush into the paint and flick the brush towards one direction 


Love – Overwhelming, passionate affection

Love depicts overwhelming waves, warm and deep. From the beginning everything may seems complicated but it gets smoother along the way. The negatives spaces depicts the obstacles within the relationship.

Medium: acrylic paint mixed with water, scraps of paper

Method: drip the paint on the surface, curve the scraps of paper and scrape through the paint from left to right direction


Nervousness – Overlapping emotions, uneasy

Nervousness depicts overlapping emotions hence the overlapping effect shows how I am uncertain of my feelings. It feels like my heart is pounding up and down.

Medium: chinese ink, shower wash cloth, roller

Method: dip the roller into the chinese ink, imprint onto the wash cloth and lastly roll it onto a white cartridge paper.



Surprise – Sudden feeling through unexpectedness

Surprise depicts a sudden rush of emotion hence a thick brush stroke coming in very sharply from the left and stops right in the middle. It reminds me of being shocked, a temporary feeling.  

Medium: toothbrush, acrylic paint mixed with water

Method: brush towards the direction of left to right, pulled off in between leaving a negative space.


Hurt – Damage, to feel mentality painful and suffer bodily

Hurt depicts mentality and bodily being damaged by someone. An obvious slit through the foam board portray the physical damage. The strands are to show the damage mentality, deep down the skin. There’s a outer layer as the ‘skin’ to cover the past injuries showing how time may heal physically but not mentally. 

Medium: foam board, hot glue gun

Method: firstly to slit a big opening but still keeping the outer layer as the ‘skin’. Afterwards using the glue gun to kinda stick the both ends together. The strands portraying the tissue underneath the skin.

Pulling off the ‘outer’ layer


Torment – Agony, almost pulling apart

Torment depicts a very bad migraine. It is almost tearing apart within. The burning sensation is portrayed in the middle, about to break loose shows that the suffering is still on-going.

Medium: styrofoam board, wind proof lighter

Method: burn straight through the styrofoam board. Slowly and carefully not to burn through the entire styrofoam board.

The Experiment

Week 2 was hella-fun cause we get to experiment with different types of tools to create different kind of texture/mood on paper. I used mainly chinese ink forall of the experiments.

Here are some of the tools I’ve brought

First contender



For this scrubbing brush, I wanted to create very harsh brush strokes. I was then able to achieve somehow explosion-like effect. After the ink dried up, I can feel the line textures. This could fall under the emotion of anger.

Second contender

I find the the shape of a loofah really interesting. The end results wasn’t what I expected to be. After I dipped the loofah into the chinese ink, it kinda soaked up most of the ink till I had to really press it down to achieve the effects.

Fail contender

Despite all the holes on the sponge, it didn’t came out really well. Turns out having a big fat blob of ink, only when the ink gets slightly used up, you will be able to see a slight pattern.

Third contender

I am able to create smooth/flowy strokes from the top and down with more more splits. The strokes kind of gives off the horror vibes.

Fourth contender

Possible emotion: Nervousness

After dipping the roller into chinese ink I rolled it straight onto the shower was cloth. I found the patterns on the wash cloth’s really interesting but did not expect how it will turn out after getting onto the paper. The after results were quite satisfying.   

Week 3 – More experiments (Close to picking the final ones)

Possible emotion: Torment

Burning styrofoam… as toxic as it gets.. Using a wing proof lighter and burning through the styrofoam board gives people the effect of suffering. The final results were quite satisfying, there are strands of styrofoam still holding on together, some broken off.

Possible emotion: Hurt

Initially I slit an opening on the foam board and was thinking how do I incorporate the hot glue with the foam board. So I drag from one point to another to create strands of tissue-like texture.

Possible emotion: Bliss

Bliss is like a burst of emotion, like a fireworks. Initially I tried using normal paint brush and flicking it but the results came out quite a blob instead of the finer ones which came out perfectly using a tooth brush. The brushes on a tooth brush has a much bigger surface which spreads more evenly.

Possible emotion: Surprise

The first thing came into my mind was to portray something that appear out of a sudden.  

Possible emotion: Love

This particular emotion was the hardest for me as the first thing came into my mind was full of heart shapes. 


I really enjoyed this whole session of experiment and definitely will 

Project 1: Research & Process

The location was the first to hit right into me. It is ITE CC Tampines, this place is highly significant to me as this place really helped shaped me into what I am today. Initially I thought of using Temasek Polytechnic for my location but I thought of never forget where my roots are from. The idea of using a pencil then slowly floats up.

Possible colour palette: B&W, Neutral

Using B&W might not be very ideal as the emphasis on the red pencil may just fades away from the focal point and making the whole set of photos looking flat.

Using a neutral tone is more of a better choice in bringing out the essence of the red pencil and pulling this whole set of photos together. The neutral tone gives out the raw/sketchy feel to the photos.



At first I was trying to focus on the tip of the pencil(most left), but it did not really capture the essence of it. So I tried various holding methods and did a few positionings to which I get my final shot of the pencil(most right). 


Test shots of a full-figure with the object. I find this shot did not really work as well, not capturing the essence of the pencil. The object instantly fades away from the focal point. So in the end I decided to drop this full-figure shot. Also this shot gives off the funeral vibe.

Rejected shot


This shot was nonetheless my top pick for my mid-range shot. But somehow the pencil loses the focal point within the shot. It kind of dissolves away compared to the other mid-range shot I picked.

Selected shot


I feel that this set of colour photos didn’t really bring out the emotion I wanted to portray. With the colours it may seem just like a normal day.

Possible colour palette: B&W(Top pick), sepia

Using a sepia tone; it will give more of a brownish look to the set and will give off the vintage vibe, still ongoing and which might portray the wrong emotions to others.

Using B&W; truly portrays the emotion of sadness towards the photos. And also brings out back story of the set.

Side gate

Initial shot of the side gate was really straight forward and looks too flat. It does not show much perspective in this shot. Vertical shots also does not seem to really show what I really want to portray. 


I wanted to emphasize on one of the cracked windows up at the building, but it was too far to be obvious/seen. The trees are also very distracting to the eyes.

Initially I wanted to emphasize on the chained up gate with the STATE PROPERTY sign board but it doesn’t have much personality. It does not reveal any form of information that this is the campus. So I feel that this photo does not really have much meaning compared to the other gate photo.

Colours did not really work for task 2 as I would want to portray that the campus is already closed down. Hence B&W is being used to show how a part of life has ended. Putting a full stop to it.

Project 1: Curating Self

Task 1 – Object and representation of self

Pencil is the very first tool I encountered in my design journey.  Or even when I started learning how to doodle. Like how everything starts from a dot, when a dot goes for a walk, it becomes a line. It’s like how we all started using a pencil, slowly involving into using pens and then into the digital world. A pencil also depicts on how it will get blunt when time goes by and we will have to constantly sharpen it. Like how we are constantly learning, constantly improving our skill sets no matter how much we have learnt in the past.

The power of the pencil. We nowadays tend to move towards the digital side,  slowly fading away from the basics. We must never forget our basics. Hence the position of the pencil tip facing vertically to show how powerful the pencil is.

The pencil above my lips is one of my thinking position. Whenever I am out of ideas or creative brain juices dried up, I would place a pencil above my lips. Subconsciously to me this position kind of helped me a lot through my thinking process. 

The reason why I emphasize on the red-2B among the rest is to show how I am uniquely me. Everyone is different/unique, be it their backstory, thinking or ideas.  In this modern society, we should always be uniquely us and not try to be someone that we are not.

Task 2 – My World

The first location came into my mind was ITE College Central Tampines. This is also the place I first started my relationship with design or rather where I found a familiar place where I really fit into. At first I was skeptical about studying in ITE as there are plenty of stereotypes about people studying in ITE are bound to fail in their lives or mixing into bad companies. Studying in ITE also kind of pulled my confidence down a bit. It is a place where I know I’m bound to meet people with very different backgrounds be it with arts or without. As for me little did I know what I have signed up for as I have zero knowledge about design.  

The first class really hit me hard in the face, I was introduced to drawing, design elements and adobe softwares. For all this while I have thought studying in a design course was as simple as doodling/sketching. A love/hate relationship started forming at the point of time. Love is that I have plenty of room to explore/improve and learn more in depth of design rather than hate is that I have rush for deadlines.

Throughout this 2 fulfilling years, I am really thankful to meet a bunch of encouraging/helpful friends and a lecturer who is really willing to teach and who shaped all of us into really good people and most importantly good aspiring designers.

Now that the campus have been closed down, it feels like a part of life has ended. It is like a full stop to this part of the timeline. And how I could still kind of want to access my ‘past’ but I can’t do anything about it. This  journey was truly the best decision I have made for what I am here now versus the one I am heading nowhere.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”