We had the good fortune of connecting with Cassandra Chan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cassandra, you love what you do. It’s clear to anyone who knows you. Why and what about your work do you love so much?
Every morning, I wake up feeling happy and content as I get ready for another day of creative wandering. That usually happens when I’m reading books, watching movies or chatting with friends and the children I interact with. My ideas mostly stem from connecting with people and that’s what I love most about my creative life. It is the people around me who inspire me to create every day. I love making art and spreading love through my work. The most meaningful aspect of what I do is to create happy moments through art. It could be as simple as a handmade gift or a play date with friends at the studio. During the Covid-19 crisis, art gives us the strength to be vulnerable and support each other through our creative experiences. To me, the joy of making art comes from sharing our feelings with other people and sometimes that goes beyond words.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started my creative business after completing my teacher training in primary education. In 2015, I founded Twiga Pottery with the aim to promote art education and creativity development in young children through clay. Ever since then, I have been busy running workshops and conducting a range of school projects around Hong Kong. My work allows me to combine my creative skills and teaching experience with a more dynamic and independent approach. Teaching has always been my passion and I love watching children grow with confidence as they learn to find their own voices through art. Beside teaching, I have been making more art at home during this Covid-19 crisis. Social distancing has had a profound impact on my creativity. I spend a lot of time making personalised gifts for people in my community and have come to realise that art has a powerful way of keeping us together. This is also a productive time for business development as I welcome many new project ideas while focusing on improving my own creative practice. At the moment, I am working on a home project to brighten up my garden with a series of sculptures inspired by the quiet nature of the countryside where I reside. I am constantly thinking about all sorts of wild and mythical creatures I could add to my outdoor gallery. It is an idea in the making but it certainly makes staying home more fun and enjoyable. I am excited to share the visual progress of this garden project on social media. If you are interested to find out more about my work, come and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram. In the mean time, stay creative and keep spreading love through your craft!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hong Kong is an exciting city full of skyscrapers but there is a hidden nature in the countryside that is just as mesmerising! Here are some of my favourite places around Hong Kong: City – Hong Kong is especially beautiful at night! I like watching the skyline right by the Victoria Harbour from the side of Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Kowloon. You can take the Star Ferry to cross the harbour and hop on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel to get a wider view of the city from the other side. The Peak is another famous spot to look over the populated city at night. Nature – Living in the countryside of Hong Kong, my neighbourhood in Sai Kung will show you a different side of our home city. If you like outdoor activities, there are many scenic hiking trails all around the area. One of my favourite views is on Tai Tun Shan, where you can see a cluster of small islands surrounding Tsam Chuk Wan Bay. You will also find some interesting volcanic rocks, hexagonal columns and sea caves at The Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. It’s a wonderful outdoor experience to hike around Hong Kong! Culture – Sham Shui Po is one of my favourite spots in the city. You never know what you might find in this ‘treasure island’. You will experience local culture as you stroll along the old streets. You will taste delicious street food, find some affordable electronic goods and pass by different boutique stores selling all sorts of art supplies and accessories. There are street stalls selling second hand cameras, you may even find some old vinyl records along the way. Food – Hong Kong is known as a food paradise. Here you can find all sorts of Chinese regional cuisine. There are just too many places to name but I will recommend a few local restaurants for a more authentic experience. Hong Kong style Cha Chaan Teng is a one-of-a-kind dining experience where east meets west. For a more nostalgic ambience, I recommend the Mido Cafe or a more comfortable setting at Tai Ping Koon in Yau Ma Tei. If you are an adventurous foodie, you must try the wok-fried seafood in Tai Pai Dong on Temple street. For dim sum, try the Cantonese dining experience at Lin Heung Tea House in Sheung Wan, where old-fashioned dishes are still served in a traditional way. Kowloon City is another popular food district, where you can find a strong presence of Chiu Chow restaurants. When I was young, my father would take me to the Lok Hau Fook restaurant every Sunday to enjoy some authentic dishes such as oyster omelette and fishball noodles. Trust me, you will never go hungry in this city! I hope that one day, you will have a chance to explore our amazing city and embark yourself on many unforgettable adventures!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all, I wouldn’t be who I am without the unfailing support of my family and friends, who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. It takes a bit of courage to start up an independent business, I am grateful to have a kind and generous mentor like Reed Cheng, the director of i-Kiln Studio at JCCAC (Hong Kong), who always offers his partnership and wisdom whenever I am in need of professional guidance. As a specialist teacher, most of my works are school-based. I conduct a number of school projects and after school clay club programmes at different schools year after year. Ever since the beginning of my creative career, I have received continuous support from Beacon Hill School (English School Foundation in Hong Kong) and I am so thankful for all the trust and confidence the school community has placed in me. Working so closely with a supportive community of teachers and parents has a tremendous impact on the development of creativity in young children. The collaborative environment at BHS has given me the opportunities to foster many project ideas and deepen both my creative and teaching experience. I feel truly honoured to be a part of this beautiful community.