Dear Friends,

This morning as I made my way to Payar Lebar to deliver a parcel and to buy some postage stamps at the General Post Office, I heard Xmas songs playing in the background as I stepped into the mall, and this moment reminded me that Xmas was just around the corner. 

Today is 27th November 2021 and Wabisabi is celebrating her 4-year-old birthday today. And in this special month, we'll talk about Wabisabi going Back to nature. 

This November is the busiest month for Wabisabi which includes the launch of the last 2 chapters of the collection: The Farmers in the Wabisabi Etsy store. When the launch is almost complete, my subconscious mind starts to ponder "what's next"? This has been the same routine for the past 4 years.

Recently I have been thinking hard about the business direction for Wabisabi. I started this platform to share the beauty of sustainability on 27th Nov 2017. 4 years went by in a flash, and I look back from where I started and am still grateful that I took this opportunity to be where I am now. At least now I have finally experienced the entire cycle of being a one-woman show running a sustainable clothing e-shop and understand how it feels like to be an entrepreneur.

Perhaps I could share my experiences on becoming a "sustainable" entrepreneur a little bit. To commit to this as a full-time job, instead of spending time with nature, I realized that to keep Wabisabi "alive", I needed to endlessly create social content (like everyone else) to feed the post (so people would remember Wabisabi). I caught myself spending most of my time taking photos, typing in front of the computer so that I could reach out to "you".  I understand the "finding a balance between the two" theory but in the virtual world, this moment you're in, the next moment you're forgotten

This has become a harsh reality to keep Wabisabi "alive". No matter how fast I am, I am always behind the game unless I became the game master of social media (which I don't wish to either). 

So I took a deep breath to re-evaluate my initial intention at the beginning of this journey: To share the beauty of sustainability. What does that really mean? It just means to do things that are back to nature in the purest form - with my bare hands:
• Handwashing all clothing, one garment at a time
• Mending and repairing clothes with needle and thread, one stitch at a time
• Handwriting and customizing the notes for my customers
and etc...

These are simple things I do to keep the shop running but the fact to run an online shop is much more complicated. This is the biggest dilemma that I have when it comes to blending technology with nature. 

How to maintain this purest form and still be able to sustain a living? I do not have the answer yet. The first thing that comes to my mind is to be back to nature, back to the basics to simplify my thoughts. Therefore, I am making a huge decision to take a sabbatical leave from Wabisabi from 1st February 2022 till August 2022 to figure out other channels that would work for me and Wabisabi. Nobody will know what will happen during this period, but I'll definitely be back again to decide whether I am ready to join the social dilemma game or to extend my leave.

What will I do during my sabbatical period?
• It's time to go home, home in Malaysia and home in Mother nature
• To think of a new green direction for Wabisabi (and still able to sustain my life). 
• If I have the opportunity, I would like to get my hands dirty to work as a volunteer with local farms in Malaysia.

Will I be sharing my journey while I am on sabbatical leave?
Yes, I am more than happy to share my journey once in a while on Wabisabi's Instagram.

Below is the monthly update of my personal goal.

1. Gift Wrapping
A series of wrapping that is made from scrap paper and paper bags.

2. Natural Dye
My new toy has finally arrived after a month of waiting. I have been wanting to create natural color pigments from local fruits, and these tools will take my experimenting to greater levels. 

These are natural pigments that I made in September 2021.

The mulling process is very similar to the technique of producing Chinese calligraphy ink. In Chinese 磨(mo) means grinding, mulling, breaking something into small particles, or cultivating perseverance and patience. Every action that comes with "磨 " is time-consuming. According to one explanation, the character "磨" is a pictorial of a man sitting inside a tent surrounded by the woods, calmly using stoneware as his tool to break something. 石 (shi) means stone in Chinese and stoneware was the earliest tool discovery by humans during the stone age. 

The reason for having this meaningful ritual at the beginning of calligraphy practice is in preparation to slow down your breath (气)while using a stick to produce ink from pigments.  For those who practice calligraphy, before the brush touches the paper, you need to picture what you wish to write and how to get those strokes written in the correct order.  And "一气呵成" in Chinese literally means a "good breath" (气) which will help you to stay focused and to have full control of your body to achieve what you want to achieve at one go. There is no shortcut other than years and years of practice of "磨" physically and mentally to obtain moments of "一气呵成 ".

Here I am learning how to mull as a beginner. And I also did a few experiments to mull for 10 minutes and a further 30 minutes. Do the different durations affect the result of the mulled color? We shall see :)

After mulling for 30 minutes, I have this silky dark chocolate-looking color paste 

After 30 minutes of mulling, the color becomes darker and more refined than the initial 10 minutes.

3. Needlework
This month I am in the midst of fixing blue top stains into colorful embroidery:

4. Illustration
When I started to become serious about picking up illustrating again, I got myself pencils of many shades to keep myself motivated. When I was sourcing for these pencils, I realized that most of the stationery stores and bookstores in Singapore had stopped selling pencils! I had to go to the one art store that sells all sorts of painting supplies to be able to get my hands on these pencils and erasers. Is this a sign that these slow crafts will one day be extinct like the dodo bird or the sabertooth tiger?

That's all for my personal update.

Here's a piece of good news on Wabisabi's birthday!
Wabisabi will be having a once-a-year 20% off on all previous collections from today till 27th December. In addition, every new order will receive an SGD $10 off on your next purchase within a minimum spend of SGD $50.  I will still be running Wabisabi Etsy store until 1st Feb 2022, if there's anything that you wish to purchase from my shop, you are more than welcome to place your orders before 1st Feb 2022. 

I'll see you again next month!

Allow nature to heal in time,
Waee Waee