Gallery buff or amateur jeweller, this page will hopefully get your creative juices flowing…
SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM (SAM)
T: (+65) 6332 3222
Inspirational modern art gallery with acres of space but half of which seems perpetually under refurbishment – call first to check what exhibitions are running. They have an excellent children’s month that runs annually for most of July and August. It’s perfect for three year olds and above, with lots of things to do, see and touch. BTW: If you are poster shopping, there are none for sale here. Instead, you can buy your very own canvas reproduction of your favourite painting hanging in the gallery’s vast permanent collection. It will be churned out by, quite possibly, the most expensive printer in the world, while you wait. Only a limited selection of paintings to choose from and the sizing is indiscriminate so for real authenticity, choose carefully. Prices are steep, but be sure to get it stretched over a frame elsewhere (you can do it here, but it’ll cost substantially more).
The iconic semi circular building always displays something rather random out front, be it a giant blow up bunny (as pictured) or a ‘kissing corner’ (May 2011). You never know what it is going to be. Your trip here will be made all the more enjoyable thanks to the fabulously easy over ground parking which has limited spaces but never seems to be full. Pop in to the scrumptious and stylish Food for Thought cafe which is just around the corner on Queen Street (the road running down the right hand side of the gallery as you are looking at it.) See EAT ME, DRINK ME Brek/Brunch/Coffee & Tea Joints as well as the review under Lunch.
Opening Times: 10am-7pm Sat-Thu; 10am-9pm Fri
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE
93 Stamford Road
T: (+65) 6332 3659/5642
Described as SG’s latest cultural icon, there is nothing stuffy about this museum with its swinging red chandeliers and Living Food Gallery with all the sites, sounds and smells (yes really) of local food. Great menu explanations before a hawker centre trip.
Opening Times: Singapore History Gallery: 10am-6pm daily; Singapore Living Galleries: 10am-8pm daily. Free admission: 6pm-8pm daily
85 Lorong Tawas (off Jalan Bahar)
T: (+65) 6265 5808 or 6268 6121
Better known as Pottery Jungle, this place is a giant Aladdin’s Cave in terms of Chinese pot buying for Mummy, shop til you drop, while little Johnny does one of their hands on children’s pottery programmes. All on-site crafted creations – even yours – are baked in their huge, twisting ‘dragon kiln’, shaped like the snaking body of a dragon – one of the longest kilns in existence, apparently, and quite a sight to behold. Call for details on adult class times.
Opening Times: 9am-5pm daily
SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS
Royal Selangor Pewter Centre
Clarke Quay (#01-01)
3A River Valley Road
T: (+65) 62689600
Somewhere where you can beat out some frustration on a bit of pewter for half an hour and go home with your artistic creation in the vague shape of a bowl. Take home your very own navy blue apron with the name of the school emblazoned across your chest – good for the barbecue if nothing else. With just a few simple, caveman tools tools (hammer, mallet, wooden mould and scraper) you will be guided through the processes of pewtersmithing to craft your own dish. The workshop session costs $30 per person and is open to groups up to a maximum size of 30. You can simply walk in and ask for a session if domestic life is such that you need a break and want to beat the hell out of something…right now. Otherwise, advance booking is best. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Times: 9am-5pm Mon-Fri
BEADS & JEWELLERY FIXINGS:
MIX & MATCH MERCHANDISE
People’s Park Centre (#01-04A)
101 Upper Cross Street
T: (+65) 6532 0181
Head to People’s Park Centre level 1 and take your pick from around 4 stores all selling beads and semi precious stones, fixtures and fittings at a bogglingly different qualities and sometimes prices too. MIX & MATCH MERCHANDISE is great for cheap pearls (around $11 a strand for large, grey, freshwater lovelies). Be sure to check out SING MUI HENG (T: (+65) 6533 2445) with a number of readymade possibilities and a lot of Swarovski crystal; E CRYSTAL (T: (+65) 6533 6684) is also a contender. LAI GUAN (T: (+65) 6536 7838) is huge, with a lot of pretty, unusual stones, all very reasonably priced. If you are still on the hunt for more, visit yet another store, this time on the 2nd floor: SHINOBEADS (#02-56A; T: (+65) 6534 1461).
Opening Times: 11am-8pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sunday