The creatures of Zero Pumpkin Land live in the dark corners of Under-Your-Bed and Inside-Your-Closet, only venturing out to reveal their true selves at night. If you manage to catch one they will swear to be your friend and promise you kisses, but only for so long as you stare them in the eyes. As soon as your back is turned, they will swap your deodorant for flyspray and steal the icecream out of your fridge.
Pauline Teng manages to wrangle these mischievous things out of her collection of fabrics, coaxing them with jelly beans and cake. “My work place is my wonderland that I call Pumpkin Land. There is a big artist’s table for me to draw on and another small Japanese table for me to sew on, and lots of books and other stuff.”
“As a kid I drew a lot on the walls.”
In 2004 as a grown up, she started drawing and creating her menagerie, but it wasn’t until 2009 when a friend sent her a link to Etsy that it all started to snowball. Now, she splits her time between freelance graphic design work and Zero Pumpkin during the week, and on weekends she teaches at an art centre. It sounds like a fairly busy life – but Pauline admits she tends to just roll with whatever’s happening. “I won’t say I am a disciplined worker, I just enjoy what I do now. The best thing is I can’t stop creating what I love, and when you see people like your work so much that makes you happy.”
While creating and maintaining the ZP collection is an important part of her life, she is not in a position at the moment for it to become full-time. “In Malaysia people don’t appreciate handmade stuffs so much, and it’s hard to survive. That’s why as an artist here we need to have more than one job.”
The branding of ZP has grown organically. Although occasionally she swaps skills with friends, most things she has learnt by herself. Her background in graphic design certainly helped, and her best advice is to keep it simple. “All aspects of presentation need to be related to your products. And for photographs always stay with a clean background so that your products will stand out.”
Her best piece of advice?
“I should say always stay positive, enjoy and love what you do.”
You can find more of Pauline’s fabulous creatures in her Etsy shop, ZeroPumpkin.