What training did you receive?
My favourite subjects at secondary school were basic drafting, woodwork and metalwork. After school, I worked in ship-building, then started a cabinet making furniture business, I then turned to selling Chinese antique works of arts: all these experiences helped me in making my lanterns.
What was the first object you made?
Proficiency in cutting bamboos needs several years of on the job training. It is a disappearing craft, so I had to research it online and figure it out for myself. That was my first hurdle and the first object I had to master.
Nicky Loh © Michelangelo Foundation
What are your sources of inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my love of the rich Chinese history and culture. I am a second generation Singaporean, so I was exposed to many different cultures in Southeast Asia, so I have also adopted some of their culture into my work.
Could your craft be considered in danger?
Lanterns are common in Chinese society, a century ago there was no electricity in Singapore and China, so they used oil lamps and lanterns to light up homes and outdoor areas. Those outside the doors are painted with folklore stories and legends. As lanterns are needed less, there is a risk no one is interested in taking up this craft.