Typically the words ‘Engineer’ and ‘Calligraphy’ are hardly ever used in the same sentence. But for Pui Yee Kong, the brains behind calligraphy studio Owl & Quill, these seemingly opposing things finds perfect balance and harmony, as reflected by her simply stunning work. MissMafia spoke to this self-confessed Potterhead, discussing the penchant for creativity, the perils of social media and everything else in between.
What was your inspiration behind Owl & Quill and how did you find yourself doing calligraphy?
The inspiration behind Owl & Quill isn’t super extraordinary. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and Owl & Quill are just two elements from the Potterverse – the Owl Post and Quill which I’ve combined. I started practising calligraphy thanks to friends. To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing the universal line of beauty written on paper, especially when t
he ink hasn’t dried yet!
How do you juggle working full-time as an engineer whilst running your own business?
I have to admit, it is pretty tough at times when all I want to do is relax after work. These days, I try and practising during whatever free time I may have and that’s usually during my lunch break at work. I do remind myself though that I’m fortunate to be able to turn my hobby into a part-time business.
As a self-taught calligrapher, do you believe that creativity is something that you’re born with or that can be learnt?
I believe it’s a little bit of both but I think everyone can be creative. Perhaps creativity lies buried a little deeper in some compared to others.
What are some of your tips for people who want to pursue a creative endeavour but might not necessarily have that creative ability?
When I first started, I never quite bought the idea that I was particularly creative. So my advice to others would be to just give it a go no matter what.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced when running your own business?
This sounds really boring but my biggest challenge is actually not having enough time. I really wish that we could add 2 extra hours to a day just so I can get more done.
Since establishing your own business, what are some of the things you’ve learnt about yourself?
I’ve learnt that comparison with others, especially on social media, is inevitable and that can be quite demotivating. I’m sure countless others have been down this path before. Oftentimes we only see the pretty side on social media. We don’t see the journey which someone else has taken to get to that point, which includes all the ink blobs and stacks upon stacks of practise sheets. I try to remind myself constantly not to compare someone’s day 2000 with my day 100.
Who are your favourite female icons and why?
Michelle Obama and Emma Watson, because they’ve used the platform to highlight important issues in the world today. They’re such great inspirations and role models for young girls everywhere.
What’s next for Owl & Quill?
I’d very much love to learn and study more scripts and maybe launch a line of semi custom wedding suites somewhere down the road. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!
Bonus question! If you could describe your personality to a musical genre, who would it be and why?
I suppose it would be musical theatre cause I love that genre!
Follow Pui Yee on Instagram here.
Looking for more great interviews with more kick-ass Malaysian women? Check out our Spotlight feature with the ladies behind the all-natural skincare line, Handmade Heroes.
- Lessons From Linora Low - July 30, 2018
- Meet The Pro MMA Fighter Taking Down Gender Stereotypes - June 16, 2018
- Engineer By Day, Calligrapher By Night: Meet The Founder of Owl & Quill - June 5, 2018
- “If Not Now, Then When?” A Conversation with Handmade Heroes - May 21, 2018
- How This Jewellery Maven Struck Gold With Wanderlust+Co - March 27, 2018