Monday, June 20, 2011


The inspiration for my designs come from what I see around me, and also from my research online. One of my favourite craft references is Martha Stewart's Crafts section of her website.

When I still a teacher and we had to come up with class projects, Martha's site was where I would usually go. As there weren't many craft supplies shops in my hometown back then, sometimes I would have to change the materials and techniques to fit what I have. For this reason too, many local crafters order their supplies online. I have yet to join them as I do not buy in bulk (yet) and won't benefit from the discounts these online suppliers provide for bulk buys. What keeps my prices low are the many trips around town to find the most affordable shops without compromising on the quality.

While it is normal for designers to be inspired by the things she/he sees and reads about, it is another thing altogether to go to a (supposedly) friend's craft site to see what she has in her store and blatantly copy her design ideas almost each time they come up.

I had long wanted to blog about this ever since I found out a fellow local crafter who I personally know had started copying my work, beginning with the simple Terms & Conditions section of this site (which I had worked on with a few friends of mine).

Then I started to notice that almost each time I come up with a new design, a few weeks later I would stumble upon imitations on her craft site. While I am flattered that she found my writing and craft ideas inspiring, what really irks me is the fact that she dares to say that she "crafts from the heart".

It's akin to someone who plagiarises a novel and then have the audacity to say that she wrote it from the heart.

I count myself as a writer and also a crafter/designer, and my work is valuable to me. I take pride in whatever I produce for Axxessories, particularly because a lot of thought and sweat is involved in each creation. There's the research to do, followed by conceptualisation and discussions with friends and family, and also the hunting trips afterwards to find the perfect materials. At the end of the day, when an item is completed and is satisfactory to me, I find that all that hard work is worth it because I provided something good.

If a crafter wants to copy my work, at least credit me for it, maybe even contact me and ask me for tips. Although Matt Groening, the famous cartoonist who created The Simpsons, admires our Malaysian-born Datuk Lat and has a lot of respect for him, you won't find any characters in The Simpsons looking like Kampung Boy.

There aren't many local crafters in Malaysia yet, so it's good to stick to each other and compare notes and suggestions instead of producing replicas of Axxessories items on the sly. It's what China does a lot these days, producing replicas of items from another countries and that is why people tend to look down at Made in China knock-offs.