Local champions of sustainable artmaking
Sustainability has become a buzzword of late in Singapore as the country embraces green plans. For artists Joyce Orallo Lim and Halim Wahab, the push for more sustainable ways of living is welcome news.
The duo run Chokmah (pronounced “hokmah”; Hebrew for wisdom) a Singapore-based homeware shop and studio at *SCAPE in Orchard Road. They met two years ago when running a children’s art enrichment programme and started the business in Feb last year because of their shared love for art, design, and craft. The store sells homewares made of jesmonite and the studio conducts workshops for the public.
The Chokmah co-founders embraced the practice of sustainable artmaking in February 2020, after they found themselves throwing away up to 30kg of polymer clay every month. The clay, which is used in their hands-on workshops and the making of their jewellery, hardens easily and cannot be reused thereafter.
Halim, 41, who is also a practising architect and interior designer, says: “We saw the amount of waste we were producing, and we were concerned. So we set out to find materials which were both sustainable and eco-friendly.”
Their research led them to jesmonite, a toxin-free material made of eco-resin and gypsum. The composite material, which they import from the UK, can easily be reused and remoulded into new products.
Lim, 34, says: “Jesmonite is a great material because it holds the same strength and durability as cement, yet it has a quick drying time of under an hour. It is also environmentally friendly.”
Chokmah has since made the switch from polymer clay to jesmonite in their workshops and retail products, and the waste that the shop produces has become negligible.
Lim hopes the brand’s sustainable artmaking practice will influence its customers and students to seek out green products and lifestyles. She says: “We want to take the lead and encourage other crafters in the hope that as a community, we can play our part to protect the environment.”
Learn more about Chokmah here.