Handcrafted with Love

pottery-singapore-asobi

At Studio Asobi, we believe that there is a place in this world for beautiful creations crafted by hand – slowly, lovingly and uniquely.

Our clay vessels each bear a name and a little haiku, and just as we have enjoyed making them, we hope that they bring the same joy to whoever holds and uses them.

The pictures below are a glimpse of our pottery works and creative process. Larger sculptures and installations can be found here.

We welcome you to join our pottery journey too, with our individual workshops, corporate sessions, regular classes, or volunteering.

I was obviously not looking up when I chanced upon this very important sign on the pavement outside Ang Mo Kio MRT station, but at least I wasn't too engrossed in my phone screen (yes I was looking at my phone) to notice it!

This sign was placed in the direction of pedestrians exiting the station towards a busy junction, and I imagine it is to reduce the risk of accidents. But what a pertinent message this is for our lives in this season we are in. How much of our time has been wasted, how many of our relationships have been diluted, how much beauty around us has been ignored in our preoccupation with our mobile devices? Of course, it is not the lifeless devices that should take the blame, nor the social media platforms, which do connect us positively in ways never before possible. Rather, could it perhaps be a weariness of heart, a narrowness of mind, and a barrenness of spirit that lulls us into keeping our gaze lowered instead of lifted? And leaving us snugly cocooned in the comfort of triviality while those wings on our shoulders remain folded, shrivelled, never able to stiffen and spread open in the light of the sun?

And it is not just our devices either, isn't it? What about our preoccupation with that insensitive remark, that wealthier neighbour, that unhealthy habit, that stumbling emotion?

May I have the courage, the wonderment, and the humility to look up from where I am - towards whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - so that I do not get blindly struck down by the oncoming traffic of this world.

I was obviously not looking up when I chanced upon this very important sign on the pavement outside Ang Mo Kio MRT station, but at least I wasn't too engrossed in my phone screen (yes I was looking at my phone) to notice it!

This sign was placed in the direction of pedestrians exiting the station towards a busy junction, and I imagine it is to reduce the risk of accidents. But what a pertinent message this is for our lives in this season we are in. How much of our time has been wasted, how many of our relationships have been diluted, how much beauty around us has been ignored in our preoccupation with our mobile devices? Of course, it is not the lifeless devices that should take the blame, nor the social media platforms, which do connect us positively in ways never before possible. Rather, could it perhaps be a weariness of heart, a narrowness of mind, and a barrenness of spirit that lulls us into keeping our gaze lowered instead of lifted? And leaving us snugly cocooned in the comfort of triviality while those wings on our shoulders remain folded, shrivelled, never able to stiffen and spread open in the light of the sun?

And it is not just our devices either, isn't it? What about our preoccupation with that insensitive remark, that wealthier neighbour, that unhealthy habit, that stumbling emotion?

May I have the courage, the wonderment, and the humility to look up from where I am - towards whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - so that I do not get blindly struck down by the oncoming traffic of this world.
...

How are you doing? 

I was filled with dread as we learnt of covid cases in two nearby preschools (one case each). I share in the anxieties of parents with young children below 12 as we move into the endemic phase of the nation.  Apart from taking precautionary measures, seems like all that is left to do is to pray. 

“既然无处可逃,不如喜悦。既然没有净土,不如清心。既然没有如愿,不如释然。” - 丰子恺

This quote by Feng Zikai, roughly translates to:
"Since there is nowhere else to go, why not rejoice?
Since there isn't a piece of untainted land, why not clear your own heart?
Since things are not going as you wished them to be, why not let go and get over it."

He wrote these words way before the pandemic but they sure sound applicable for our times! As Nightbirde also said, "you can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy."

P.S. this bowl's glaze didn't exactly turn out the way we expected but it is still pretty isn't it? :) Things may not go how we want them to, but we can choose our response and make it a happy one! 

#reflections #life #studioasobi

How are you doing?

I was filled with dread as we learnt of covid cases in two nearby preschools (one case each). I share in the anxieties of parents with young children below 12 as we move into the endemic phase of the nation. Apart from taking precautionary measures, seems like all that is left to do is to pray.

“既然无处可逃,不如喜悦。既然没有净土,不如清心。既然没有如愿,不如释然。” - 丰子恺

This quote by Feng Zikai, roughly translates to:
"Since there is nowhere else to go, why not rejoice?
Since there isn't a piece of untainted land, why not clear your own heart?
Since things are not going as you wished them to be, why not let go and get over it."

He wrote these words way before the pandemic but they sure sound applicable for our times! As Nightbirde also said, "you can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy."

P.S. this bowl's glaze didn't exactly turn out the way we expected but it is still pretty isn't it? :) Things may not go how we want them to, but we can choose our response and make it a happy one!

#reflections #life #studioasobi
...

Work in progress! Haven't read this poem for a long time already. 

《游子吟》
慈母手中线,游子身上衣。
临行密密缝,意恐迟迟归。
谁言寸草心,报得三春晖。

Hey but I also sew the clothes in our house ok! Someone needs to write a poem about 慈父!

Work in progress! Haven't read this poem for a long time already.

《游子吟》
慈母手中线,游子身上衣。
临行密密缝,意恐迟迟归。
谁言寸草心,报得三春晖。

Hey but I also sew the clothes in our house ok! Someone needs to write a poem about 慈父!
...

Presenting one of the most profound and indescribable joys of my pottery journey so far:

Who can relate to this?

When you have a commission to make 8 identical teacups of 7x7cm and you cut out 1.4x kg of fresh clay to throw all 8 cups off a single hump and then you think hmm that's maybe a little risky and you grab roughly a handful of recycled clay and wedge it all together and then throw the hump and make 7 identical cups one by one and the last bit of clay left is just right to make the last cup with NO CLAY TO SPARE.

Here's a hastily taken photo for me to remember this deeply significant milestone in my pottery career! (Our cat obviously doesn't share my enthusiasm but it's ok)

And by now you might have discerned that one half of Studio Asobi probably has a mild OCD issue. Guess who? 😅

Presenting one of the most profound and indescribable joys of my pottery journey so far:

Who can relate to this?

When you have a commission to make 8 identical teacups of 7x7cm and you cut out 1.4x kg of fresh clay to throw all 8 cups off a single hump and then you think hmm that's maybe a little risky and you grab roughly a handful of recycled clay and wedge it all together and then throw the hump and make 7 identical cups one by one and the last bit of clay left is just right to make the last cup with NO CLAY TO SPARE.

Here's a hastily taken photo for me to remember this deeply significant milestone in my pottery career! (Our cat obviously doesn't share my enthusiasm but it's ok)

And by now you might have discerned that one half of Studio Asobi probably has a mild OCD issue. Guess who? 😅
...

There was a moment, a few years ago, when we removed our rings from our fingers.

No emotional triggers of course! But as potters, it is not a good feeling when one carves a deep spiral gash in a vessel just before it is completed. So we started removing our rings while working, and I remember posting years ago about how my ring was lost for weeks before we discovered that our cat had kicked it under the storeroom door!

Gradually it just seemed to make more sense to keep our rings in a safe place, rather than repeatedly putting them on and taking them off. And so we did, quietly, without any rituals or renewal of vows or anything. 

But you know the thing about removing your wedding ring... It allows things to seep in, doesn't it? Fats, for one. And then maybe an unresolved disagreement here, a careless harsh word there. A missed opportunity to cuddle, to say I love you. And these things add up don't they?

So, it is with a fair bit of childlike excitement that we dug out our rings again at the start of our sabbatical (incidentally in the tenth year of our marriage), and agreed to keep them on for the duration of these 6 months at least. 

Meaning there will be accidental scratches, some hard knocks, and a gradual wearing down of the patterns etched into our rings. But why not?

There was a moment, a few years ago, when we removed our rings from our fingers.

No emotional triggers of course! But as potters, it is not a good feeling when one carves a deep spiral gash in a vessel just before it is completed. So we started removing our rings while working, and I remember posting years ago about how my ring was lost for weeks before we discovered that our cat had kicked it under the storeroom door!

Gradually it just seemed to make more sense to keep our rings in a safe place, rather than repeatedly putting them on and taking them off. And so we did, quietly, without any rituals or renewal of vows or anything.

But you know the thing about removing your wedding ring... It allows things to seep in, doesn't it? Fats, for one. And then maybe an unresolved disagreement here, a careless harsh word there. A missed opportunity to cuddle, to say I love you. And these things add up don't they?

So, it is with a fair bit of childlike excitement that we dug out our rings again at the start of our sabbatical (incidentally in the tenth year of our marriage), and agreed to keep them on for the duration of these 6 months at least.

Meaning there will be accidental scratches, some hard knocks, and a gradual wearing down of the patterns etched into our rings. But why not?
...

拍照那日是阴天。

那不是摄影师想要的天气,但它赋予了意想不到的一种情调。旧款的摄像机;黑色的胶片。它捕捉的时间是一次性的,好坏在当下而定,未来才得知结果。这不就好比人生吗 - 每一刻永不复返。

到了摄影的结尾,我们沏了一壶茶。屋檐正滴着小雨,感觉很浪漫。看着屋外的绿叶摇曳,心情很放松。固然这不是我们日常的步调,但这反映了我们追求的向往。可以静静的,很自然的隨性享受平民家的小幸福。

这一个月以来,心情有如过山车,慢慢已滑倒平面。心存很多感激;兴奋地展望未来。这月底我即将年迈四十,我个人对此有着强烈的感触,认定这是个重要的点。我对人生的看法一直在更新,想必以后也会继续。

四十而立 - 对我而言讲究的是内在的成熟淡定与强大。阴天难免会来临,但一笑而过的能耐,会让旅程更愉快些吧!这需要日常注入心思的培养。

感谢主让我有个避风港,可以在此与爱的人灌溉心中的小乐园:) 在这慌乱的世界里,我也希望周围的朋友们能越活越开心!大家加油!

These photos captured on film, are part of a collection taken by Jonathan Levi (@chronicler.photography )for his upcoming photo book “Journey”. This book is a show and tell of the stories of artisans across different generations in Singapore. Find out more about the book at his profile from Jul 2021 onwards.

#journey #home #singapore

拍照那日是阴天。

那不是摄影师想要的天气,但它赋予了意想不到的一种情调。旧款的摄像机;黑色的胶片。它捕捉的时间是一次性的,好坏在当下而定,未来才得知结果。这不就好比人生吗 - 每一刻永不复返。

到了摄影的结尾,我们沏了一壶茶。屋檐正滴着小雨,感觉很浪漫。看着屋外的绿叶摇曳,心情很放松。固然这不是我们日常的步调,但这反映了我们追求的向往。可以静静的,很自然的隨性享受平民家的小幸福。

这一个月以来,心情有如过山车,慢慢已滑倒平面。心存很多感激;兴奋地展望未来。这月底我即将年迈四十,我个人对此有着强烈的感触,认定这是个重要的点。我对人生的看法一直在更新,想必以后也会继续。

四十而立 - 对我而言讲究的是内在的成熟淡定与强大。阴天难免会来临,但一笑而过的能耐,会让旅程更愉快些吧!这需要日常注入心思的培养。

感谢主让我有个避风港,可以在此与爱的人灌溉心中的小乐园:) 在这慌乱的世界里,我也希望周围的朋友们能越活越开心!大家加油!

These photos captured on film, are part of a collection taken by Jonathan Levi (@chronicler.photography )for his upcoming photo book “Journey”. This book is a show and tell of the stories of artisans across different generations in Singapore. Find out more about the book at his profile from Jul 2021 onwards.

#journey #home #singapore
...

Haven't been having many good days recently. Tiredness, relationship issues, creative block, all these things can really mess with one's heart.

Well one good thing about having a pottery studio is that there are these really mundane yet beautiful things to do, perfect for when you just don't feel like doing anything. Here's one - making glaze tiles. Our previous post showed the individual cut tiles, and here's what they look like before being removed from the wheel.

There are many ways to make glaze tiles. Some potters use molds, others roll and cut slabs, we prefer to throw a cylinder with a footing and cut it into equal segments that can stand on their own and look almost the same. It's not the most efficient, nor necessarily the most elegant, but it is still efficient and elegant enough for a studio like ours.

So today I squeezed in some time to make one of these, and it's really quite therapeutic to know that I'm making something useful that needs to get done anyway, but that I still get to experience the peaceful and familiar feeling of soft wet clay speeding through my fingers, silently growing and transforming, not needing to look beautiful or perfect, but still looking beautiful anyway.

I usually make a cylinder big enough for 32 tiles, but today I thought I'd try throwing to the edge of the wooden bat, and ended up pretty satisfied with the 40 tiles that it yielded. Showed off the process improvement to Huiwen, who, noble wife that she is, gave me a very affirming "Wow, good job!"

Sometimes that's all a spouse needs to do.

Haven't been having many good days recently. Tiredness, relationship issues, creative block, all these things can really mess with one's heart.

Well one good thing about having a pottery studio is that there are these really mundane yet beautiful things to do, perfect for when you just don't feel like doing anything. Here's one - making glaze tiles. Our previous post showed the individual cut tiles, and here's what they look like before being removed from the wheel.

There are many ways to make glaze tiles. Some potters use molds, others roll and cut slabs, we prefer to throw a cylinder with a footing and cut it into equal segments that can stand on their own and look almost the same. It's not the most efficient, nor necessarily the most elegant, but it is still efficient and elegant enough for a studio like ours.

So today I squeezed in some time to make one of these, and it's really quite therapeutic to know that I'm making something useful that needs to get done anyway, but that I still get to experience the peaceful and familiar feeling of soft wet clay speeding through my fingers, silently growing and transforming, not needing to look beautiful or perfect, but still looking beautiful anyway.

I usually make a cylinder big enough for 32 tiles, but today I thought I'd try throwing to the edge of the wooden bat, and ended up pretty satisfied with the 40 tiles that it yielded. Showed off the process improvement to Huiwen, who, noble wife that she is, gave me a very affirming "Wow, good job!"

Sometimes that's all a spouse needs to do.
...

Glaze test tiles cut and waiting to be fired!

It's hardly noticeable when they are placed like this, but all of these tiles are actually very slightly curved, as they were all part of a cylindrical band thrown on the wheel and cut into 32 equal segments. 

In other words, they look straight on their own but fit into a perfect circle when placed side by side.

Yes we are all taught to embrace and even glorify our individuality, but sometimes it can also be really powerful, and beautiful, to belong.

Glaze test tiles cut and waiting to be fired!

It's hardly noticeable when they are placed like this, but all of these tiles are actually very slightly curved, as they were all part of a cylindrical band thrown on the wheel and cut into 32 equal segments.

In other words, they look straight on their own but fit into a perfect circle when placed side by side.

Yes we are all taught to embrace and even glorify our individuality, but sometimes it can also be really powerful, and beautiful, to belong.
...

We would hardly consider ourselves "pro", but over the past 7 years playing with clay, our lives have certainly been impacted a great deal by this humble dust of the earth! If you've enjoyed our workshops, our art, or our writings, we'd love to have you join us for this little online session we are doing with library@orchard. We will share some of the insights we have gained over the years, answer any questions you have about pottery or running a pottery studio, and also throw in a live demo on the pottery wheel! To register, just click on the link in our bio! See you on Saturday!

We would hardly consider ourselves "pro", but over the past 7 years playing with clay, our lives have certainly been impacted a great deal by this humble dust of the earth! If you've enjoyed our workshops, our art, or our writings, we'd love to have you join us for this little online session we are doing with library@orchard. We will share some of the insights we have gained over the years, answer any questions you have about pottery or running a pottery studio, and also throw in a live demo on the pottery wheel! To register, just click on the link in our bio! See you on Saturday! ...

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.