By Jenny Ekberg
My grandmother Sonja Hahn-Ekberg (post coming soon!) was a world-renown textile artist. Her medium was Thai silk thread, and she taught me and my best friend Isabell to make bracelets using her technique. I remember us giggling, posing for the camera with our creations; one of the best afternoons of my fleeting teenage hood.
I have had Thai silk scraps sitting around for ages, and suddenly I had an urge to try it. I bundled the scraps into my backpack and headed to the beach. At night, by candlelight, I pulled them out.
After 5 minutes, dangerously close to the flame, I was hooked. I know now that I will never stop. My first test strip is a far cry from the shimmering silk sheets my grandmother created, but it is a start.
Before Singapore was colonised by the British, Kampong Glam was home to the Malay aristrocracy. The neighborhood still has strong ties to Singapore’s Muslim community in general, with influences from North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia. Kampong Glam feels like a village, with chirping birds and iron street lights. Bussorah street, a small pedestrian mall, is lined by oriental shops, Turkish and Moroccan Restaurants as well as little French-Arabic cafes. Sit here and relax. You will no longer feel that you are in a huge, densely populated city. Eat some crispy lemon crepes, sip on a Turkish coffee and smoke a hookah. You are in heaven now.
Venture a little further and you will reach the vibrant Arab Street where the main merchandise is textiles. Here, you find amazing huge Afghan carpets, thai silk in every colour imaginable, intricate hand-embroidered fabric appliques and roll after roll of excuisite lace trim. When your feet are killing you and the sun starts to set, go back to Bussorah and have your evening meal. It is now, when darkness falls, that the magic of Kampong Glam really kicks in. Sit down at a streetside cafe and enjoy the fragrant air, the palm trees moving slowly in the wind and listen to the evening prayers being called from the beautiful, large Sultan Mosque. Then you will understand why this is my favourite part of Singapore.
Click on the video at the very bottom of this post, under the “night in Bussorah street” photo below, to watch a little video I made about Kampong Glam.
The most AMAZING graduated hand dyed silk cord in the rich, jewel-inspired hues that we will see more and more of in the later half of 2012 and in 2103, arrived today. I couldn’t resist combining it with my best chunky golden brass curb chain to make this bracelet. Available now in our shop!