Who We Are
By the grace of God, Studio Asobi was founded by Huiwen and Kenneth, a husband and wife team of ceramic artists. We initially took up pottery in Singapore as a hobby, but very soon fell in love with the beauty and complexity of this art form. In 2013, Huiwen took a sabbatical from her financially rewarding corporate career and after a pilgrimage of discovery in Tajimi, one of Japan’s famous pottery towns, she decided to take a big step of faith and practice ceramics full-time. Trained in art and architecture, Kenneth has always held a special love for ceramic sculpture, and since joining Huiwen in this practice, now helps to chart Studio Asobi’s artistic direction.
“Asobi (遊び)” means “play” in Japanese. The Kanji word “遊” also translates to “journey” in Mandarin. We see life both as a spiritual journey of exploration, and also as a joyful adventure, and our decision to become potters is a big part of this adventure we are embarking on as a couple. We also want to embed this spirit of a playful journey into our work, lovingly naming each vessel we create and weaving in the dreamy beauty of haikus into our art.
We create our ceramic art as a reflection of our spiritual journey of faith, using clay to express our love, our hope, and our struggles. We also run introductory ceramics workshops from our cosy home studio.
Isaiah 64:8 says “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Every day, we wake up full of gratitude for the life we are given, and we want to share this gratitude and love with the people around us. We have thus pledged to donate 20% of our profits to local charity Mercy Centre, for their wonderful ministry towards the homeless in Singapore. We also believe in using our gifts as a force for good, and we have donated our works in support of charitable causes such as Room To Read and Oxfam Trailwalker.
Kenneth & Huiwen
Kenneth Lau (1982) is a Singaporean artist. Delving into art since childhood, his early sculptural ceramic work “Prelude” was exhibited in the Singapore Youth Festival when he was 16. Kenneth received the Temasek Scholarship to pursue Architecture in Cornell University, and later practiced as an architect for several years before returning to his first love of art and ceramics. Together with his ceramic artist wife Lee Huiwen, they run Studio Asobi, a ceramic practice that celebrates the beauty of creation and the joy of wandering and play.
Kenneth believes deeply in the power of art and design to bring relief and healing in times of need. In 2005, he prototyped an urban vehicle/shelter “Hump” for the homeless in New York City, and In 2006, his disaster lighting proposal “Lightloop” won an Honorable Mention as well as 1st Prize in the Web Voting Category of the 19th Koizumi International Lighting Design Competition.
Born in 1981, Lee Huiwen enjoyed upward social mobility on the back of Singapore’s economic development. A desire to question the meaning of a life well-lived prompted her to step away from a financially rewarding career and set off on a pilgrimage of discovery.
With no formal artistic training but a deep passion for ceramics, Huiwen sought out pottery masters in both Singapore and Japan and gradually honed her craft, developing a raw and unique style of her own. Inspired by the biblical analogy of God as a potter, she founded Studio Asobi in 2014 to meditate on and express the love, beauty and complexity of God’s creations through poetry and the Japanese art of nerikomi. Studio Asobi also celebrates the joy of creation with its workshops that reach out to the local community, and bless the homeless in Singapore with 20% of its proceeds. Huiwen’s chawans will be exhibiting at the 17th Chawan Expo in Belgium.
How It All Began
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
I could not shake away the sense of eternity that was placed into my heart. A question hung in my mind – how was I to respond given the time I have in this earthly life? Since leaving a comfortable corporate career to reassess my life’s directions, I have embarked on a journey to discover what it really means to have a life well-lived.
In early 2014, I spent a month from winter through spring at a stay-in studio program in the old pottery town of Tajimi, Japan. As the days of one season passed into another, I sensed a soft stirring within my heart which grew stronger as I marvelled at the raw and natural beauty I was immersed in. Creating my own little pieces of art in this wonderful environment made me all the more aware of and amazed at God’s work all around me, and this is how I fell deeply in love with the art of pottery.
Nothing man-made can ever compare with the work of our Creator. Yet, I always feel something special when enjoying an object made by hand over hours of dedicated work – this warm, spiritual connection with its maker that simply transcends the physical nature of the object. It is my hope that the vessels I make can also create these same connections with those who use them. And that these clay vessels, formed from the humble ingredients of mud, water and love, can convey my renewed joy of living in this amazing and beautiful world.