When our phone or camera dies mid adventure, most of us give up on the pursuit of photo documentation. Teresa Lim, on the other hand, sought an unconventional way to capture the sights. Standing before a stunning sunset at Cottosloe Beach in Perth, the recent graduate of Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts pulled out her embroidery supplies and stitched the view before her. The spur-of-the-moment move inspired Lim to create a series of embroidered scenes as she travels the world, which she’s aptly named Sew Wanderlust. “You’ll be surprised how much travel will inspire your creative journey,” says Lim, who now works as a freelance illustrator and print designer. At 25, she’s already embroidered scenes in ten different cities, and her journey’s only begun.
Lim graduated with a degree in Fashion Design & Textiles, and began embroidering as a hobby. “It’s the only thing that I can do subconsciously, so it allows me to catch up on my TV shows!” she says with a laugh. “The act of embroidery itself is absolutely therapeutic. It helps me think, reflect, and slow down my pace of life.”
Lim has always loved traveling, although didn’t avidly pursue it until she began earning money post graduation. “I thought one day, ‘I wish I could get out of Singapore right now!’,” she remembers. “Then I realized, wait a minute – I actually can! So I booked a ticket, off I went, and I loved it so much.” Her freelance schedule allows her a flexible schedule, and she’s been on the move ever since.
The experience of travel has become immensely important to Lim, and has truly opened her eyes. “It’s essential to see the world, to understand culture, to immerse yourself in a different place… you learn so much,” she says. “In a way, you grow because you see the magnitude of the world. It really humbles you.”
On average, it takes Lim about two hours to finish each piece. Her biggest fear? “Weather!” she says. “If it starts to rain, the piece would have to go unfinished… I would be so sad!”
However, severe temperatures and lack of supplies have no hold on her. Sitting down to stitch a piece in bone-chilling cold Berlin, Lim discovered she forgot her scissors. Despite the setback, she pulled out her supplies and made use of found objects. “In total desperation, I used the edges of a rock to cut my threads,” she says. “It was such a sight… a little Asian girl slicing threads with a rock in the freezing cold. Everyone was staring!”
Lim credits travel as a major influence for her creativity. “When I travel, I feel everything. I take time to breathe, enjoy the wind on my face, feel the raindrops on my head, taste the falling snowflakes… all these small elements that we so easily miss in our fast-paced lives,” shes says. “When you take a random bus ride to nowhere, step out of your comfort zone, and absorb everything, creativity comes naturally.”
With her travel adventures only beginning, Lim has big plans for Sew Wanderlust. “My goal is to travel all over the world, ideally to less commercial places,” she says, “and by the time I am too old to move, have a whole wall of embroidered pieces from across the globe. That, ultimately, is my dream for this project.”