We interview Mr Davy Young, 70, to find out more about 'Leaves with Memories', the brand he has curated and designed from inspiration right at his backyard here in Singapore
What is your biggest achievement as a designer, so far?
My biggest achievement as a designer so far is to see my creations appreciated by people who like fine hand-crafted artwork - to the extent that they are willing to part with good money to acquire them as collectibles for themselves, and as gifts to mark special occasions such as birthday, wedding, anniversary, retirement, festive events (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day) and corporate functions.
What motivated you to pursue and start Leaves with Memories?
When I was in my mid-50s and still working, I decided to take up pottery as a hobby to prepare for my eventual retirement. I signed up for foundation classes in ceramic art at a community centre, then progressed to the intermediate level. My affinity for nature (dating back to my childhood days growing up in the countryside) and my love of texture led me to focus on making ceramic leaves when I started to indulge independently in my hobby.
After many years of practice developing my techniques, I reached the stage where my fellow-potters commented that my artwork could be considered of commercial standard. I decided to take part in artisan markets, and was happy to discover that many people liked my products. Thus was born my label "Leaves with Memories".
How did you come about with the decision to focus on leaves, rather than other inspirations or shapes for your medium?
I like nature and texture, and the ready availability of local flora - with an extensive variety of leaf shape, size and especially vein network and structure - led me to focus on immortalising Mother Nature's creations in clay. This is also a specialty that very few ceramic artists are concentrating on. This has helped me to differentiate my products from those of other potters.
If you have any advice to budding artists or designers, what would it be?
My advice is pretty straightforward - choose a hobby or activity that interests you keenly, devote your time, energy and passion to become good at it, maybe identify your niche focus (which, in my case, is extremely narrow), persevere with lots of practice to hone your expertise, read up and talk to fellow-crafters to acquire new ideas, challenge yourself to become one of the best in your field, and most of all, enjoy every minute that you devote to your interest. Do it for yourself, not for potential buyers of your products or designs.
Would you say that the art scene in Singapore is getting better over time?
Yes, I would agree that the local art scene is getting better - and more varied - over time. The secret, however, is to find your own niche market, and avoid merely doing what many others are already doing.
If you could describe MAAD in three words, what would you say?
In three words: PLACE TO BE ... for crafters and visitors.
How has MAAD affected your art and craft?
My participation in MAAD has spurred me to widen my range of offerings of ornamental and functional products. I have also acted on many suggestions from buyers to enhance the marketability of my artwork. I want the people who buy my products to appreciate their intricacy and beauty, and, I hope, to treasure them as unique pieces of hand-made artwork.
Straits Times feature article:
Mr Davy Young conducts workshops and hosts booths to sell his pieces. You may contact him via Facebook for inquiries and orders.