Artist turns old-school snacks into miniature items

PETALING JAYA: It is not uncommon to feel nostalgic when reminiscing about childhood snacks, as these are usually attached to happy memories of recess time with friends at school or tea-time at home with siblings.

Nursing a longing for the good old days when life was simpler and somewhat more innocent, one talented woman decided to turn her old-school favourites into miniature keychains.

But this idea only materialised after some serious soul-searching.

After completing her graphic design course in June last year, Joyee Tan found herself at a crossroads, lost about what to do next with her life.

Joyee Tan launched her online business, 1/12 Space selling handmade miniature clay food in August 2020. (Joyee Tan pic)

Not eager to join the corporate world just yet, the 25-year-old was looking to earn an income in a less traditional way.

With her experience in crafting clay products during her final year project, an activity she enjoyed immensely and was rather good at, she decided to jump headfirst into her own business, crafting miniature food using clay as a medium.

She spent hours perfecting her technique with the help of YouTube tutorials before feeling confident enough to launch her business on Instagram.

1/12 Space’s first pieces of merchandise consisted of miniature clay food like onigiri and croissants among many others. (Joyee Tan pic)

Her Instagram page called 1/12 Space officially launched in August last year. Her assistant Wei Jia helps sketch the designs before Tan gets down to the serious job of bringing the concepts to life.

The first few pieces of merchandise to roll off the assembly line were miniature cream puffs, croissants, onigiri and even a miniature gingerbread house.

When asked about the unusual name of her online business, Tan says, “I named it 1/12 Space because it is the size of the miniature food that I make.”

Being the overachiever that she is, Tan felt she still needed that little extra something to stand out in the crowd. “I wanted to make something different and unique from everything else out there.”

Joyee Tee at work on one of her tiny masterpieces. (Joyee Tan pic)

“It was during the lockdown, and I started reminiscing about all the childhood snacks I used to enjoy, and that’s when the idea came to me,” she adds.

As Chinese New Year was just around the corner, she decided to create miniature Kuih Kapit keychains, as Kuih Kapit are a must-have snack during the festivities.

The novelty keychains went on sale just two weeks before Chinese New Year and she was floored by the massive demand.

Feeling pumped by the amazing feedback from her customers, Tan got cracking on her next idea.

She wanted to create something that all Malaysians could relate to, in hopes that it would bring them some joy during these difficult times. And that is how the idea for the ‘Malaysian Snack Collection’ came about.

1/12 Space’s ‘Malaysian Snack Collection’ consists of three items – Fish Biscuits, Keropok Roda and Ice Cream Gem. (Joyee Tan pic)

In June, she officially announced her new collection with the introduction of three miniature clay “snacks” – Fish Biscuits, Keropok Roda and Ice Cream Gem.

Every detail of her Malaysian snack line has been perfected, right down to the iconic red-lid plastic containers they come in.

One look at these miniature figurines and you’ll be transported right back to your childhood days of snacking on these with family and friends.

The ‘Malaysian Snack Collection’ is also available as earrings in a transparent plastic bag design. (Joyee Tan pic)

Besides the red-lid plastic container designs, the ‘Malaysian Snack Collection is also available as earrings in a transparent plastic bag design.

“It takes a lot of time and can be quite difficult to make as I have to perfect every detail, but I really enjoy making it and seeing the joy it brings my customers,” Tan shares.

In the future, she hopes to be able to expand her Malaysian childhood snack line and incorporate other local favourites as well.

“For now, I will stick to making keychains and earrings as making necklaces and bracelets can be quite tricky. But I hope to expand my business and create miniature Malaysian food like Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai.”

By : Ashreena Kaur – FMT Lifestyle

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