Thursday, March 31, 2011


Life kind of easy at this moment, when most of the jobs seems pretty settled except for one or two. I do not involved in much bazaar lately...I am happily lazy, taking my time thinking and creating. There are a few customised order of Dolltopia Kitty Cat family (6 of them) need to be finished and delivered before I fly to Bangkok... and more bag design and books. Collaboration work as guest artist to Oh n Ah craft store also need an attention.. but I am taking my time.....that's why I really looking forwards of this pause... Everyone does need a pause in their life to chill and relax, mesmerised and looking back..and that what I call strategy.

Here I would like to share my recent creation just a simple books, plain with hand silkscreen of illustration, limited edition of only 20 units. Very handy, a perfect simple note book for you to jot down your ideas, notes & lists.

Article by Joelynn Chin

This article was written by Joelynn, student from my 1st workshop. 
Enjoy & thanks Joelynn:)

Book Binding Craft

The long drive to Taman Botani, Putrajaya did not deter the eight students eager to learn the art of book binding in a 2-day workshop conducted by crafter Samsiah Jendol (better known as Syam).

It was her first class for the public, and I was invited by my long time friend to be part of it. I first knew Syam when we worked in the same ad agency about nine years ago. When I left, she made me a farewell present. It was a lovely little book hand-bounded with a fabric-wrapped cover.

Even back then, Syam was already a keen crafter. Six months ago, she decided to do it full time and quit her corporate job as creative designer. Bookbinding was just one of the crafting skills she picked up during her student days at the Wanganui School of Design in New Zealand.

Having taught the art to students at Dasein Academy of Art in Kuala Lumpur, it was just a matter of time before Syam opened her class decided to the public.

The crafting community is quite a close-knit one, so it was no surprise that almost everyone in her first class had some sort of arts experience.  There was a graphic designer, a craft shop owner, a tutor on interior designer, a jewelry designer and two from the collaborative craft group OH&AH.

Being in such fine company, I was a little worried that I would not be able to keep up with the rest. The last time I dabbled in any sort of handwork was way back in school. Patience and concentration are not my virtues.

Thankfully, Syam let us take baby steps with the most basic, Japanese stab binding. This technique is for binding loose pages and soft covers together, much like the old kung fu manuals. Confidence gained, we then moved on to the fancier hemp-leaf binding.

Beauty under cover

The second half of Day 1 is where it gets really interesting. And complicated.

When you pick up a book, do you notice its binding? Probably not. Aside from spiral binding for notebooks and comb binding used on office documents, the technique that holds pages together are often hidden under the spine. Which is just as well because there’s really nothing to see with pages glued together. But with kettle stitch binding, the spine is best left exposed to show the beautiful work.

We had to work harder with the kettle stitch. It was a good thing Syam provided us with pre-cut papers and hard board, which came in a lovely silkscreen bag she made herself. So ‘all’ we had to do was drill holes into the hard board and saw folded sections of paper (signature) to make little holes for the stitches. No blood was spilled but fingers were pricked. Cotton tape, ribbon, leather or even paper strap are used as a ‘bone’ to attach all the signatures together and make the book structure stronger.
Book binding is not just about being creative with the stitching. Material selection also adds to the beauty of the final product. From the fabric to wrap the cover to the colours of the thread and paper, they all have a part in making a handmade book unique and personal.

Day 2 introduced me to what would be my favourite technique – Coptic binding. The aesthetic of the chain stitch is simple yet beautiful. This technique was developed by the Copts of Egypt in the 2nd century AD. Coptic binding is favoured for journals because the book can opened 360 degrees and laid flat without creasing the spine.

The rest of the day was spent finishing up our work and putting personal touches to our books, like sewing fasteners and adding beads. Being the impatient person that I am, I had to undo my stitches many times due to hasty mistakes.  Since the class was small, Syam could give each of us some personal attention, and I needed a lot because I kept forgetting the steps. Book binding is a skill you need to practice constantly. 

Some of the inspired students did their homework the night before by making more books at home with Syam’s book binding starter kit.  I just didn’t have the discipline.
Checking out the work of others helped me understand the motivation that drives them. Lay Hoon, a quantity surveyor in her early 30s, joined the workshop to learn how to bind her art journals. It was the same with Norrashidah, a 29-year-old tutor who wanted to make her own photo album.

For Fazaleena, a working mother in the airline industry, it was a matter of picking up a creative skill. Book binding seemed like something that she could learn and does not require a natural artistic talent, like drawing or sewing.

Lee Wan Fong (Mimmy) on the other hand, joined the workshop with her boyfriend as it was an interesting activity they could do together, better than hitting the shopping malls. Mimmy also has plans to open a shop for handmade creations, so workshops such as this help her understand how crafters work.

For myself, the workshop was a fine way to spend a weekend. I learned something new and have a few beautiful books to show for it. Plus, spending time with such spirited company gave me a whole new appreciation for crafting.

For information on future workshops, check out or

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Latest Project

The empty canvas that being kept for 2 years finally filled with mosaic of colours...pheeewww..kind of happy with the outcome..

Monday, March 28, 2011

Little Syam Book Binding Workshop 16&17 April 2011

Hello all,

Time to have another workshop...yess thought of gonna take a break for awhile, but seems things are quite manageable at this moment so it is a time to have another workshop....

2 possible venues for the workshop will be at my home at Pandan Jaya or the photography studio at Desa Pandan, my usual workshop place before (need to be confirmed). If you interested to join this time around, email me your detail at

Preferred name on certificate:
Website: (if any)

Little Syam Book Binding workshop are open for anyone who passionate to learn how to hand bind a books. During these 2 days you will learn how to bind a books using 3 types of binding methods: Japanese Binding, Kettle Stitch Binding and Coptic Binding. Due to limited seat of only 10-15 students per workshop the application will be on first-come, first-served basis. 

Fee is RM180 only (Incl: handout, material & certificate). 

RM100 deposit  and balance of RM80 to be paid on workshop day.

Full Refund: Minimum 5 days prior to workshop date.
No Refund: Cancellation less than 5 days before workshop date.
Should class be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, fees will be fully refunded.

Saturday, March 26, 2011 and more books

close up detail of paper & silkscreen finish
1) Coptic binding RM25, using craft paper, 6" x 4.5" with japanese pattern fabric
2) Medieval binding - gift for Lina, one of a kind with green theme patchwork
3) Japanese stab binding > pray for japan for eco design event
4) Coptic binding 2 in 1 book with silkscreen art- using straw paper-rough fibre for eco design event
5) Kettle stitch binding > dream book with silkscreen art- using straw paper-rough fibre for eco design event
6) The most precious book amongst all, my student work 1994>3 in one book-there are another 2 books inside
7) Medieval binding - one of a kind with blue theme patchwork RM80
8) Coptic binding RM25, using craft paper, 6" x 4.5" with japanese pattern fabric

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Syam in the mood of La...

gonna explore & perfect the binding technique..kind of happy with this new creation:)
This is for Lina - for her birthday:) for a good friend, Zack for her birthday
All for eco design display.. small book by lay Hoon:)

Monday, March 21, 2011


Magnificent city skyline from Ampang Hilir

Hello there.. I am kind of exhausted a bit..with many things running around in my head... What happened to Japan kind of shock to me..The place kind of close to me and I still try to absorb of what was happened and keep wondering.. For these never takes thing for granted..we are so lucky with condition of our country, and do not ever make the situation worst by negative assumption and  comments.. and keep praying for the world peace. Pushing off all negative thinking and be grateful. Live a life to the fullest because we never know what going to happen next.
Sharing session & prize giving ceremony

Nice moment captured.
Above: Lina eco footstool prototype
Below: Rebecca with her gorgeous paper mache new line 
Purely creative...Love her creation:)
Eco Design Campaign held at Weld even just a small scale event but it was a big step...Eco awareness kind of very low in Malaysia. It has a deeper meaning than just recycled. For designer we have power in our hand and thought..where all green messages can be conveyed in a form of visual or just a simple picture. We also have choice to persuade client to choose the green approach concept, as simple as choice of paper we use for flyer or to decide to use friendly material for product we gonna create and so on..

The event have make a point that designer/crafter/creator could play an important role to make this world a better place to live in.

World Peace// Love Syam

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tropical Spice Garden, Teluk Bahang, Penang

A MUST visit place when you are in Penang Island. I never been to Penang for ages..But I thought I really need a break. Decided to join Lina to Penang for a weekends. She has joined Straits Quay Bazaar and going to make a footstool delivery to Tropical Spice Garden Gift Shop. Lina has been very supportive to me and always offer to bring along my products whenever she went to Penang, either joining the Bazaar or involved in the Shopping Weekends. That is how Tropical Spice Garden stumble across my products.
Giant Morning Glory welcomes us at the main entrance
Lina rearrange her footstools..also available at Tropical Spice Garden.
Look at the beautiful leaf drawn on floor by Rebecca Duckett. Well known as Rebecca Owen
I had sent my consignment order much earlier through Lina..and YES I am so excited to check on my products  at their new transit before someone take it home. You can found LittleSyam handmade products from hanging mobile, dolltopia, wind chimes & handmade book in Tropical Spice Garden.

Overlooking Straits of Malacca
Me and my dolltopia:)
Located at overlooking the Straits of Malacca and the beautiful shoreline of Teluk Bahang, Tropical Spice Garden has now become one of Malaysia's premier eco-tourism destinations with a number of prestigious awards. Tropical Spice Garden is situated in what was once an abandoned, rubber plantation along Penang's north-western shores. It took the vision and determination of David and Rebecca Wilkinson funded by Bertam Consolidated Rubber Co. Ltd. who with a talented team that have included Lim In Chong, Frederick Walker, and still include Katharine Chua and husband Kenneth Khoo, have transformed an overgrown plot into this garden of unique design and soul into a remarkable eco-tourism venture.

The place is a hidden treasure ready to be explored, we could enhance our knowledge and encounter over 500 species of tropical flora that live harmoniously. Plants are all labelled with educational signage displaying the names and uses. 

The built up of the souvenir shop are attached to the Tree Monkey Restaurant with a wooden decking overlooking the stunning view of the Straits of Malacca.  All are created with so much attention to detail. The staff are friendly and nice. But sadly we do not manage to explore the guided tour because of the time constraint. It was such an inspirational trip and it make me happy to look at my products there, amongst other unique selections of art and craft by local artisan.

A definite place to dropby on my next trip to Penang.. and I will make sure to walk through the Garden Trails next time around. Till then:)

Head Over Heels

Nothing more beautiful than having her pieces of footstool at the corner of your home. They are extremely adorable and gorgeous. Lina has been doing footstools for many years. Each of her pieces are truly a labours of love, individually with its own character, beautiful with an outstanding colour combinations, unique with choices of different colour legs... one of a kind...

I have 5 of her footstool and never had enough. I am using it for my coffee table seat. Ideal for gift too..very personalise. Contact her at, she be able to provide you the e-catalogue of her available collections...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

150% FOCUS:P

hello all
Another 2 days to go before ecodesign event ...and so many ideas need to be executed ....phhheeewww. I am on total silent mode and totally shut myself out from phone call, email, facebook ...mmmm...from now:P... My studio are extremely messy with precious scrap...all gonna turned to become a books...

precious scrap:)
All this while I've been created books for commercial, selling purposes..and it is time to do something that got more artistic value and expressive interm of message...Right time, right place and hope it will turn out as what in my thought...

straw papers & silkscreen mould...
Running around to pick up books from students... some are just for display and some are for sale...5 students submitted their work so far... going to post picture of each book soon.

messing around with illustration

Some hint of what I gonna display...Still at the very beginning/early stage... gonna work very hard this 2 days... Lets the creative rocks and rolls:)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello There:)

Samsiah Jendol, / Well known as LittleSyam, Samsiah is a home-based designer who balances her life by taking on design jobs to express, exploring art and craft to feel and teaching art workshop to connect. She believes that every designer can play an important role in creating new design values towards making the earth a better place to live in. Her bookbinding workshop is designed to share the skills with individuals who love working with their hands. This conventional way of making a book is one way to contribute towards eco design, without much wastage, use of eco-friendly materials plus consuming zero energy.

Hello there... kind of busy this week with preparation for Eco Design Campaign. It was such an honour to be invited as guest artist for this event. Hope to see you there:) As for my session..there are Q&A at 2.30pm... and display of few handmade books by students from Little Syam Book Binding Workshop..and my personal book... I am sure the whole event going to be an inspiring moment... with many activities..and the most important thing to show how design could contribute in convey a green message not only for design community but also to public in a whole....Excited? I am so excited


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I'm Back with Full of Energy

Hello's been an inspiring trip...And thankssssss to Lina that inviting me to come along with her to Ipoh & Penang. With my compact i10 I managed to drive slowly to Ipoh..stayed overnight and driving to Penang the next day..stayed for 2 night and came back, stop at Ipoh and drove back to Kuala Lumpur... Managed to squeeze ourself to visit a few places in between the Straits Quay Bazaar...
Lina's home; blossom the cat, nasi lemak for dinner...Roslan treat
Hello Penang..Here I comes...
It's been a wonderful trip accompanied by best buddies Lina & Safinaz... Now back to normal life..busy-busy-busy with full of inspiration and energy:)

Little boy with my hanging mobile owl:)
Lina's Foot Stool
Straits Quay...I love their directional signage
Habour at Straits Quay
Tropical Spices Garden..beautiful & serene place. Must Visit Place...
Lina did very well with her beautiful footstool at Strait Quay Bazaar. Met with many wonderful peoples from every corner of world.. Laura from Switzerland, Aulo from Philippine, Linh from Vietnam..

Make friends, had a good chat sharing a laughter.

Infront EQ hotel

Posing time, lina & me...
Beautiful morning glory at Tropical Spice Garden
Little Syam Dolltopia at Long Pine
Posing with my wind chime at Tropical Spice Garden
Lina rearrange the foot stool

Heritage Building at Chulia Street
I went to check my products featured at Tropical Spices Garden and Lone Pine... Not enough time to check E&O gift shop.. having a nice cake at Bon Ton, Chulia Street... before drove back to Ipoh & KL. Definitely a place to visit again someday:)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hello There:)

Looking forward for 4 days trip to Penang this Friday - Monday. I am going to take a break from blogging hopefully be able to share and updating news by Monday night. Will drive slowly to Ipoh, Lina's home and then drive up to Penang the next morning. I am excited to capture image from different culture flavor.. Going to check up Little Syam products featured at Tropical Spices Garden, ENO Hotel.. I am so looking forwards. Gonna leave kids behind so it gonna be purely trip of my own.

I have booked ticket to Bangkok..Yeaaayyyyy..for April Trip.. Till then