Multi-hyphenate Ginette Chittick is a woman of many firsts. She tells us about the significant moments that have shaped her into the person and artist she is today.
It took Chittick nine months to conceptualise the art exhibition and three months of weaving to produce these art pieces.
The first time one does anything is always special. It is a culmination of tiny decisions that lead to one single action. For Ginette Chittick, the reason for any “first” is simple: “Just try, lor,” she says.
“Just try” was what led her to join a punk girl band when she was 15. It sparked a lifetime of firsts for the now 43-year-old. The band, Psychosonique, played a subgenre of punk music with feminist undertones (called riot grrrl). Through this, and her DJ stints at various clubs, Chittick found a voice that would stick with her through the years.
Her “just try” motto was what inspired her to take her music further in 1992 with local indie band Astreal, with whom she still sings and plays the bass guitar. It was also what gave her the courage to start her clothing label Frufru & Tigerlily in 2005.
Chittick, a mum of one and a lecturer and programme leader with the Diploma of Fashion programme at Lasalle College of the Arts, added another first to her list in March 2019: She moved beyond her design and music background to launch her first art exhibition. Called Planes and Envelopes, and featuring pieces crafted from woven yarn and other materials, it was jointly held with her friend, fine artist Hazel Lim.
The aim of the exhibition: to pay tribute to craftswomen of old. Chittick says the doilies, curtains and tapestries woven by women in the past were never considered fine art – simply because they were not made by men.
Just going by the sheer amount of time, talent and work needed to create a piece, Chittick says, these couldn’t have been anything but art. “If it took me so long to make mine [for the exhibition], can you imagine how long it took the women in the past to weave [their works] into fine pieces like curtains and tapestry?”
She is no stranger to fine crafting, having made – and sold – some 70 tapestries to date. But to create the pieces for the exhibition, Chittick embraced yet another first – making her own yarn using a 17th-century technique.
“It’s tedious to make yarn. I had to blend two fibres – kapok and merino wool – together to make the yarn soft but sturdy enough for weaving,” she says.
She didn’t originally set out to exhibit her work, but decided it would be a way to celebrate her first foray into the fine arts. That led to her solidifying the collaboration with Lim.
What makes all her firsts so special that she keeps going back for more? Chittick says she’s always been a girl of many interests. The process of trying something new and making things happen excites her. So whenever she sees someone doing something new or interesting, she thinks: “If other people can do it, I can do it too.”
PHOTOGRAPHY DARREN CHANG
ART DIRECTION SHAN
STYLING EVON CHNG, ASSISTED BY PEARLCELIA TEH
HAIR JIMMY YAP/KENARIS SALON
MAKEUP ZOEL TEE, USING LAURA MERCIER
OUTFIT CALVIN KLEIN JEANS ACCESSORIES CALVIN KLEIN WATCHES & JEWELRY