Holding a modern mirror to the past

A talented Singaporean student has graduated with distinction, creating a stunning mirror that is both contemporary and a homage to the past.

Yu Hua Liew is a political science graduate who then worked for the Singapore government in international relations.

While she had no former woodworking experience, she realised she wanted to work with her hands and do something practical, and enrolled at the Chippendale school.

One of her signature pieces is a mirror with a beautifully-carved limewood surround gilded in white gold.  Her design was inspired by the ocean and is reminiscent of Japanese art of the Edo period.

The breaking wave carving features a polar bear looking out to see but, look closely, and her playful design also incorporates a seal hiding in a cave.

Her other signature piece is a writing desk in wych elm and sycamore, with traditional dovetail joints to withstand any climate, and designed for easy dismantling – making it ideal for transportation.

Her plan is to return to Singapore and to work as a furniture designer and maker and to open her own design studio.

Anselm Fraser, principal of the Chippendale school said that ”Yu Hua has displayed real skill and a rare talent for furniture design and making.  She combines form and function perfectly, and her woodcarving is fantastic.

“Her ocean-inspired carving is not only intricately-rendered with precision and technique, but is also an homage to 18th century Japanese art, while telling a lovely story of the seal that got away.”



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