The Many Hats of Scrapbook Artist Tercia Goh



Looking at Tercia Goh’s impressive multidisciplinary portfolio, the articulate captions and intricate aesthetics on her Instagram profile, one would never have imagined that she once struggled with self-expression.

The advertising and marketing maven, who’s helped many brands connect with consumers with her digital engagement strategies and solutions, recalled how she was nurtured to write how she feels growing up.

“I have always journaled as a child. My parents and I used to write letters to each other. I started keeping journals as a teenager and this habit turned from a coping mechanism into a passion,” said the Kuala Lumpur native.

Truly, among her diverse interests and experiences in bartending, visual merchandising, PR, and events, scrapbook journaling has been Goh’s most distinct personal brand. In fact, the multi-hyphenate is currently attending a short-term illustration course at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins college in an effort to upskill.

“It’s a lifelong dream to attend the university of my fashion icon Alexander McQueen, so I’m really excited! I’ll also be taking a few courses in Melbourne to prepare me for starting my own stationery business. That’s my goal for 2019 – onward and upwards!”

First of all, how would you describe scrapbook journaling to the uninitiated?

Personally, I would describe scrapbook journaling as a visual documentation and artistic expression in the form of writing and mixed media art. I love filling mine with all sorts of embellishments, vintage pieces, ephemeras, and pictures. It is a great way to keep your memories intact!

Where do you source all the cool stationery you use? They look amazing!

Thank you! Well, I love travelling and fortunately I have been able to visit some amazing stationery stores from around the world! I love visiting vintage markets to source unique pieces when I travel. I’ve had brilliant luck at the Old Spitalfields Market in London. I go there at least once or twice a year. Fortunately, there’s online shopping and plenty of beautifully curated stationery stores, so I can now virtually buy anything online!

Do you journal everyday? How long does one session usually take?

I wish! I try to journal everyday but I’m really pedantic so what should only take an hour or so would take me twice as long. My journals are very complex; I layer the spreads with washi tape, stickers, rub-on transfers, cut-outs, stamping, wax seal stamps, and so on. So you can imagine the amount of effort that goes into it. No regrets though, the end result is always worth it!

How do you define a moment that’s worth printing or journaling?

We live in a fast-paced digital age with trigger-happy people, where everything is experienced instantaneously but not meaningfully. Our pictures and experiences are bound by our phones, be it a sweet text or pictures from a vacation. So yes, the thing that is worth printing is so personal; it can be an object, a place, an occasion, or even the shadow of someone we love. To me, anything that triggers a memory worth remembering is worth keeping!

Which is your favourite Photobook merchandise, and why?

Wow, where do I begin! I am a very visual person so I enjoy filling my space with pictures! I love the insta cards; they make great gifts as well as add-ons to my journal. The wooden tray is also a nice table decor to give the space a personal touch. I’m currently working on a photobook. I’m planning to fill it with my pictures, some tips and guide on how to journal. It would make a great gift for my fellow journaling friends!

When are you at your most creative?

Most recently, it would be at Sunday Scribbles. It’s a community gathering I organise where journalers and scrapbookers would meet and bond one Sunday a month. I also feel most creative when I am in my studio, surrounded by my tools and sentimental objects that conjure up memories. I also get inspired to create when I’m travelling to new places with fresh eyes or when I discover a simple hack or gadget that completely changes the way I do things.

You’ve worn many hats within and outside the communications industry. Have you always been curious and adventurous?

Everything I do is driven by human connection. I think it’s so amazing to be able to create enriching experiences to connect with people; be it from an ad campaign, an event, a sip from a delicious cocktail, or writings and pictures on a page. I believe this stemmed from my inability to connect with others as a child. I am constantly looking for new ways to express myself, hence the lifelong path to learning new skills and exploring new avenues!

If you could only pick between a coffee or cocktail to drink for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Oh dear! This is a tricky one. Can we compromise with a Kahlua coffee? That would be a perfect concoction – the best of both worlds!

Tercia in her favourite city, Barcelona.

When Goh travels, it’s mandatory for her to journal from a cafe and snap a feet shot for @globalfootprints!

Great answer! Now is there a city you don’t mind going back over and over again – and might consider moving to?

Without a doubt, Barcelona! The city is filled with art at every corner. From the mix of Gothic and modern architecture to Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece, Sagrada Família! It’s such an inspiring city to be in. I love the vibrant culture and the delicious food, not to mention fantastic wine! Rioja is one of my favourite varieties of old world wines! But first, I’d have to learn some Spanish!

Your Global Footprints project is 20 years old! How did it begin? And finally, what advice would you give to creatives in terms of sticking to a project?

The project happened by accident in 1998 when I was visiting Tokyo. There were so many beautiful manholes on the street, I took my first point-of-view snap with my feet in the middle.  I thought to myself, what a great way to remember a city! It quickly became an obsession to collect #globalfootprints snapshots from every city and town I visited. Manholes in Japan slowly evolved to cobbled stone emblems in Spain, roadside graffitis in New York, and mosaic floor art in Vatican City!

My advice for persevering is to start a project you’re passionate about. You’ll never find it a chore or a struggle to keep to it!

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