Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Art Artistry Artisan - Mrs Lee Gek Khim

Peranakan beaded slippers, also known as kasot manek,literally meaning shoe beads, is a type of shoe that dates back to the early twentieth century. It refers to beaded slippers worn by a nyonya to complete her Sarong Kebaya outfit, together with chained brooches (kerosang) and a silver belt (tali pendeng). The slippers are made of Peranakan cut beads (manek potong), which are treasured as these beads are no longer available. Vintage kasot manek are intricate and finely stitched, a testimony to the fine workmanship of yesteryears. The intricacy and fine workmanship of a pair of beaded slipper is also a hallmark of highly accomplished Peranakan women, also known as nyonyas, whose skills in embroidery and beadwork are highly valued.-----Wikipaedia

I don't think I have ever seen my housemate FaiZ as excited as he was 3 weeks ago, at the prospect of hosting a guest. It is after all the legendary, much loved and very respected Mrs Lee Gek Khim, FaiZ's secondary school English teacher. FaiZ attributed his As in Literature, a subject which might well be Greek to him to this remarkable but now retired teacher who has relocated with her family to Australia. To this day, many of her ex-students regarded her as their best teacher ever! In the short time I have known her, I have come to truly enjoy her company. 

Mrs Lee or Khim as I addressed her since I was not her student, is a true blue nonya and to my delight, I found out that she loved beading. This pair of beadwork is for her 9th pair of kasok manet. She brought them to Singapore, hoping to find a cobbler specialising in Peranakan slippers. 

I could not stop admiring her work 

 and even love the back.

Khim made me feel like stitching again and I actually did last night. 

I will miss her sorely when she leaves. 


  1. oh my goodness-they are so beautiful!! I cannot imagine the hours she has spent on these- what a treasure :)

  2. Gorgeous shoes! I would frame and hang them on my wall! Thanks for the explantation about this art.
    Hugs, Drora

  3. OMG,I want to learn this !!!! they are wonderful and Mrs Khim looks so sweet ! I wish I had her as a teacher , no matter the subject!
    So happy that you started stitching again...I am not :o( blame on me.... Hugs, Ro

  4. Oh these are beautiful dear Sam! Have you noticed our stiched pictures on the wall of our living room and my parents room? I may post one of them specially for you once my laptop comes back from service - yup! again! Guess where am I sitting right now?;D Yesss this daaaark room. And I wonder if this comment will be posted over here?

  5. Ewalina, not again!!!!! But yes, I totally know where you are sitting now :).

  6. Kim, I have never loved these beaded shoes until I started making minis. Now I want to learn as well!! :)

    Drora, not only will these be made into shoes, Khim will wear them of dancing as well! It's like saying my miniature rugs will be used as a coaster! Unthinkable!

    Ro, stay long enough and we may be able to find a class for you :):)