Pour, swirl to your heart's content

A mix of paint and resin yields pretty pearlescent patterns during the writer's pour art workshop at Room to Imagine.
A mix of paint and resin yields pretty pearlescent patterns during the writer's pour art workshop at Room to Imagine. PHOTO: ROOM TO IMAGINE

Those who need a morale booster in art should give resin pouring a try, for it almost always guarantees an attractive outcome.

That was what Ms Cindy Neo discovered when a breast cancer diagnosis at 31 made her take a break from her digital marketing job.

She is the founder of Room to Imagine, a studio specialising in acrylic and resin pour art workshops.

The two art forms use slightly different techniques, but both involve pouring paint onto a surface and mixing it for an attractive swirl.

Ms Neo, who holds an animation art degree from Lasalle College of the Arts, wanted to paint again while recuperating and found pour art to be fun and undemanding.

"If I could pick it up easily after not doing art for so long, perhaps people without a strong art background would be able to do the same," says Ms Neo, who is single and now 33.

She started Room to Imagine in 2018, first operating out of her family home, then moving to a shophouse in Jalan Besar last year.

Participants can paint on a canvas or create what Ms Neo calls functional art, where they design a coaster, plate, clock or coffee table.

The two-step process starts with adding complementary colours to a resin mixture. Resin is an industrial compound that can be used as an adhesive or for coating floors and tabletops.


They then pour the resin-paint mixture and rotate the canvas to create pearlescent swirls. The mixture cures, or hardens, after 45 minutes.

Participants are mostly working professionals, women in their 20s to 50s, as well as couples looking to create a statement piece for their home. Some have stayed away since the coronavirus hit. Ms Neo conducted eight to 10 workshops in the past month, down from 12 to 15.

But global travel restrictions have drawn new participants searching for things to occupy their weekends.

Bank senior audit manager Alicia Goh, for instance, who is single and declined to give her age, attended a resin art platter workshop, learnt to make burnt cheesecakes at a baking class and took up Korean-language lessons this month. She says: "I usually travel for leisure about once in three months and have been looking for other activities."

Pour art workshops, for up to nine participants at a time, range from $55 for a dish to $150 for a coffee table.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 29, 2020, with the headline 'Pour, swirl to your heart's content'. Subscribe