Do-it-yourself chic

Mabel Sieh

Eva Lung has discovered the joy of making her own things and is sharing it with the public

Mabel Sieh |

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Eva Lung says her DIY products give her a sense of satisfaction
Whether it's growing their own herbs, making soap, or even building furniture, the do-it-yourself (DIY) idea has been popular in Western countries for decades. But in Hong Kong, where you can buy almost anything, it's surprising to find anyone who wants to make things themselves.

Enter Eva Lung Wan-yee, a DIY artist whose skills include sewing, knitting, Chinese paper-cutting, body casting (making plaster casts of the body) and making music boxes.

'I like making things myself. Making something from scratch gives you a sense of satisfaction that money cannot buy,' Lung says.

She started sewing clothes for her dolls in primary school, a skill learned from her mother who made clothes for Lung and her sisters.

'My mother had a sewing machine and she would sew or knit all our clothes. She encouraged us to make our own things. She was a good [DIY] teacher.'

Lung began giving handmade presents to her classmates for their birthdays. She read books which helped her learn new DIY skills.

After leaving secondary school, she worked in a fashion shop, sourcing fabrics and materials from Europe. She also worked with fashion designers. The experiences gave her more ideas about what she could achieve with DIY.

A few years ago, she rented a 'square box' in a shopping mall to display the music boxes she had created. Renting such a space is a cheap way for designers to show the public their products.

'Some customers started asking me to make things for someone special or certain occasions. That's when I started taking orders for tailor-made products,' Lung says.

This summer, she is organising a weekend DIY market in her boss' Wan Chai art gallery with a group of artists. 'We want to share with others the art of making things by hand. It is a creative process which requires patience and time, and it calms your mind.'

Every weekend, the gallery is filled with handmade cotton, leather and paper products, and around 100 visitors a day. Some have asked about workshops with the DIY artists. The response has been so good that Lung plans to keep the art market open in the autumn. 'Children in this generation buy everything, but they might not treasure them,' Lung says. 'When you make things, you come to appreciate the art and craftsmanship behind a product, and the effort and thoughtfulness of the maker. DIY gives you a new perspective on life.'