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  • Habitat for Humanity Singapore

Supporter Spotlight: Lithops Studio by Chien Nie

Delicate, miniature and just downright adorable – it is no wonder that the creations of local ceramics business Lithops Studio, has stolen the hearts of so many people (approximately 139k, according to the studio’s follower count on Instagram), including ours! On the studio’s website, her creations are described to be an invitation to “slow down, breathe and be present” and to hopefully “bring light to the quiet place” within us.

Lithops Studio was started when 28-year-old Chien Nie graduated from university and was unsure about her career direction. All she knew was that she loved making things and working with her hands. She first worked on a farming project alongside her brother while making metal-smithed and wire-wrapped jewelry on the side, but those projects just didn’t feel right. She decided to switch to ceramics and fell in love with the medium. Step by step, Chien Nie built Lithops Studio from scratch, figuring out the business side of things while honing her craft. Describing it as a “continuous journey of learning, growing and adapting”, her hard work shines through the intricacy of her craft.

Inspired by the tenderness of the Lithops Studio vision, the Habitat team reached out to Chien Nie last month to see if she would be keen to collaborate. Being a long-time supporter of Habitat Singapore’s work, Chien Nie described it as “meant to be” when we reached out.

“I’ve always wanted to give back in some way through the work I do with Lithops Studio. It was a chance occurrence that I found out about Habitat for Humanity Singapore when an artist I followed on Instagram shared his experience helping to build homes abroad. I don’t recall which country it was specifically, but I followed Habitat Singapore from then on and saw how Habitat Singapore rehabilitated flats in Singapore by assisting in decluttering and cleaning and in turn giving people a new lease at life. I thought, since I sometimes sculpt houses and incorporate them into my work, wouldn’t it be a nice idea to donate a portion of those pieces so I could help someone else build or rehabilitate their home?”

As part of the collaboration, a portion of proceeds from every creation with a house motif sold will be donated to the Habitat cause. The person purchasing the piece will also receive a little note outlining Habitat’s work, so that they would know that, in Chien Nie’s words, “their little house helped someone else build or rehabilitate theirs”.

Chien Nie shared that her pieces “are often a vessel for [her] to convey a feeling”, and that she wants people to feel something when they see her work, “plus points if it helps make their day just a bit better”. The miniature houses which feature in this collaboration have a heartwarming origin, too.

“For the animals with the houses on them, I remember when I first sculpted them it was symbolic of carrying home with you wherever you go, to bring some kind of comfort. At the time, home for me was my loved ones and still is. However, I like it when people give their own meaning and stories to my work so it’s really up to them to decide what it means.”

Indeed, as beautifully articulated by Chien Nie, home should be a source of comfort for all. Chien Nie hopes that her small business would be able to “help someone else, in any small way, have a safer and more conducive space to live”. To the homeowners we work with, Chien Nie had this to say:

“I hope you have brighter days ahead, and have more freedom to do the things you want to do. I hope you feel safer and more at ease.”

Interested in Chien Nie’s work? You can check out her work at her website or on her Instagram page. Do support her – and remember to watch out for pieces with a miniature house to support the Habitat cause as well!

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