52 Weeks 52 Tests – Week 11 – Copper Lamp, Singaplural & the Djembe class

Back to the tests out of home this week, which was a very busy one… I was fortunate enough to learn about the Singapore Design Week before it happened, so I headed to 99 Beach Road for Singaplural. One of the events that make me want to stay in Singapore some more. An old building, had been invaded by designed pop-ups and multi media exhibits from landscape architecture to painting.


The court inside 99 Beach Road
MoEeeeh by Dan Wong
Local food classics to smell…
Interesting, interesting… But my favourite of the exhibition definitely was the Marble Factory by Olivia Lee. Her take on the marble, as a visually delicious material when polished was really different from anything I have seen before. She played with the various colors and shades of the stones to create a high-end, bubble gum, doll house of factory which exhibited the various perfumes.






Whilst visiting I saw that leaflet for a copper lamp making workshop for the coming Sunday! Bingo, I had just found my 11th weekly experiment! I booked straight away from my mobile, but I had a lot more exciting stuff to do before trying my hands at copper.

On Friday, I went to see “True grit”, a great movie from the Coen brothers that was showing at my new favourite cinema, the one and only TheProjector.sg, that is showing non-mainstream, independent and foreign films in a refurbished theater at Golden Mile Tower. I really like the concept there, having felt deprived from interesting-movie-watching-at-the-theater for several years in Singapore… Nowadays, you can book your ticket and it comes with a craft beer to pick from their selection when you get to the cinema. If you like good cinema and live in Singapore, you should really check it out! It’s an initiative worth supporting.
Only bad point is, I caught a cold in the freezing cinema room… I did not remember being so cold the previous time I went. I had also been swimming in the early morning. There we were, I had a cold to start the weekend. Shit happens.

The Djembe class

Some time ago, my friend Robin told me that he’s playing Djembe in Singapore. Djembe is the traditional african drum, that comes in various sizes. It’s a big classic of crazy summer nights in the wilderness in Europe, and I have always wanted to learn more about the basics so this weekend was also the opportunity to go try a beginner djembe class with the association Lila Drums. See the video below celebrating their 10 years of existence.
Robin made the video above, and I also invite you to have a look at his really cool From Them To Us project, which aims to share the wisdom of elders through insightful, touching short videos.
“Back to our muttons”, as we say in french, let me tell you about the djembe class

To start with, I was lucky to catch Robin rehearsing with 2 other musicians for a performance. It sounded pretty awesome although the sound of my camera below will not give it justice.

Then, it was my turn to get into the circle with the other beginners. Oh boy, how I suffered. I felt both mentally and physically locked up, unable that I was to complete a simple rythmic sequence…

pom pam pam pom pam,
pom pam pam pom pam,
pom pam pam pom pam,

And all I kept doing was

pom pam pam pom pam pam sh*#T!

OK, let’s start again

pom pam pum ..f#c$!!

and again

pom pam pum… arrrgghhh!!!!

until finally…

pom pam pam pom pam, (ahhh 🙂

pom pam pom pam.. Noooo !!!!

Terribly frustrating…
The other students were very nice, and the teacher patient, but you can’t deny peer pressure…
Bewildered students looking at you, amazed at how you can fail at such a basic rhythm: that did not helped.

Enthusiastic students encouraging you by trying to show you how to do it from across the room: that did not help.
Stoic students playing a totally different tempo : that did not help.

Luckily the teacher tried various ways with me, and I finally was able, from time to time, to add a sound while every one else was playing in an almost harmonic fashion… :@

I certainly did not win at the Djembe play, only dreamt about it.

It was an interesting trial, probably the hardest since I started my year long of experimentation.
Certainly worth coming back to, as it clearly takes me out of my comfort zone.
(I’m a radical proponent of the “one-must-get-out-of-its-comfort-zone-to-progress” theory, almost to the point of not knowing where my comfort zone is – apart from home, that is)


Time to go back home

Nope! Not going home yet!

Second, the Leather craft

After the Djembe, it was time to hit the leather workshop!
This week, I made a notebook cover, still from water buffalo leather. I was much more comfortable with the cutting, but I still have enormous progress to make on the stitching. Work in progress!


Making a Copper Lamp

Finally, on Sunday, after a big Saturday night birthday party at the Red Room and a short night sleep, I headed back to 99 Beach Road for the copper lamp workshop. Luckily, the folks from Chye Seng Huat Hardware were nearby to serve cups their own, freshly brewed Papa Palheta java while we waited for the workshop to start, and for my nose to stop dripping like condensation from a bottle of Bintang under the Indonesian sun.

The workshop was run by the folks from Makeyourown.sg who are popularizing this craft in Singapore.
First, they started by introducing us to the pipe cutter tool and showed us how to use it.

Cutting a copper pipe with the dedicated tool – the same plumbers use, actually

So we cut our copper pipes to the right dimensions. It’s simple and does not require any force. Then the trainer demonstrated the use of the pipe bender. Very simple too, yet this tool requires a bit more strength.

The lamp we had to make had a simple design and assembling the elements was straightforward.

Getting the sequence in order would not have been so easy though, especially the electrical component.


In the  end, every one managed to complete their project and get their workable lamp… It looks pretty rad I must say, with that minimalistic and rugged industrial look that is all the rage at the moment in interior design.

And that was it for the week!

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