Using Homemade Dolls to Teach Design Differently

Digital design lecturer Ng Ling Ling employs her talented digits away from the computer to design of another kind – handmade dolls, bags and jewellery.

Using Homemade Dolls to Teach Design Differently
With our world steeped in digital technology these days, Ng Ling Ling, 37, a lecturer at the School of Technology for the Arts, Republic Polytechnic, has returned to the basics with a tactile hobby – doll-making and crafting.

Ling Ling’s doll creations are not your typical sweet, cuddly things, but are highly elaborate, richly textured gothic-styled figures. “I’ve always been fascinated by the Lolita fashion sub-culture and Victorian styles,” she says.

Each doll is entirely handmade with materials sourced from online shops, craft markets and recycled clothes. “The most enjoyable aspects of making each doll are developing the back story, designing the clothes and coming up with the name,” says Ling Ling, who is self-taught and has participated in the Singapore Mini Maker Faire with her creations. Her hobby – which includes knitting bags, making jewellery and felt-crafting – allows her imagination to run free.

More significantly, it has also become an avenue for her to expand the way she teaches design. “Today, a lot of design takes place on the computer screen, so it’s very abstract,” she observes. Introducing sewing and toy-making, she says, encourages her students to bring an idea to life in a physical way. “[During the lessons,] students have to think in 3D and solve problems with their hands... This working with their hands helped them to translate their idea into something more tactile.”
    Jan 22, 2014
    Sheralyn Tay
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