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.

Some days we find them like this - silent, motionless, golden tiger eyes piercing the air, bodies wound up like springs ready to unleash their feline fury onto some hapless wandering creature.

Other days, they are sprawled comically over the sofa - yawning, bleary eyed, skinny limbs splaying out awkwardly in all directions.

Who are they, really? And what is going on behind those shimmering eyes?

Some days we find them like this - silent, motionless, golden tiger eyes piercing the air, bodies wound up like springs ready to unleash their feline fury onto some hapless wandering creature.

Other days, they are sprawled comically over the sofa - yawning, bleary eyed, skinny limbs splaying out awkwardly in all directions.

Who are they, really? And what is going on behind those shimmering eyes?
...

7 years ago, in this same Lent season, I spent 40 days in Japan; primarily for a programme in a pottery studio. 

I didn't intentionally choose Lent nor 40 days; but I chose Spring. It was only while I was filling out my travel insurance form that I discovered the trip was exactly 40 days long, and that there was a church in the city where I could attend an English Easter service. What a pleasant surprise! Yet, this is an example of how I have experienced grace - the undeserved discovery of God's fingerprints over my little life on earth:)

Winter turning into Spring was a delight to my soul as I live in eternal summery Singapore. We mark the passing of time through public holidays and financial quarters. 

Having just celebrated New Year's Day with everyone else around the globe on Jan 1, we are still in the midst of the Chinese New Year where we bless one another with auspicious greetings and wishes. Yet by this time, often times our calendars have started to fill out and studies or work demands have quickly set in. Hurrying along, we can easily lose track of time and priorities yet again; as the resolutions fade like the falling of leaves.

I decided on a social media fast 7 years ago while in Japan and it did extremely well for my soul. Avoiding the easy entertainment of what was on my screen, I paid attention to what was before my eyes. It is perhaps funny I should write this via social media but this year we are on another social media semi-fast (from consuming posts as we are still sharing reflections). 

If you wish to recenter your life on what is of essential importance to your soul, I would like to commend to you to avoid saturating your free time with social media too:) 

Who knows, a fresh new wind of life may blow off the dross, and we all can have clear sight of the road to life set ahead of us:) 

Wishing everyone a blessed Lent season and 新春平安!

#reflections #lent #spring #japan #studioasobi

7 years ago, in this same Lent season, I spent 40 days in Japan; primarily for a programme in a pottery studio.

I didn't intentionally choose Lent nor 40 days; but I chose Spring. It was only while I was filling out my travel insurance form that I discovered the trip was exactly 40 days long, and that there was a church in the city where I could attend an English Easter service. What a pleasant surprise! Yet, this is an example of how I have experienced grace - the undeserved discovery of God's fingerprints over my little life on earth:)

Winter turning into Spring was a delight to my soul as I live in eternal summery Singapore. We mark the passing of time through public holidays and financial quarters.

Having just celebrated New Year's Day with everyone else around the globe on Jan 1, we are still in the midst of the Chinese New Year where we bless one another with auspicious greetings and wishes. Yet by this time, often times our calendars have started to fill out and studies or work demands have quickly set in. Hurrying along, we can easily lose track of time and priorities yet again; as the resolutions fade like the falling of leaves.

I decided on a social media fast 7 years ago while in Japan and it did extremely well for my soul. Avoiding the easy entertainment of what was on my screen, I paid attention to what was before my eyes. It is perhaps funny I should write this via social media but this year we are on another social media semi-fast (from consuming posts as we are still sharing reflections).

If you wish to recenter your life on what is of essential importance to your soul, I would like to commend to you to avoid saturating your free time with social media too:)

Who knows, a fresh new wind of life may blow off the dross, and we all can have clear sight of the road to life set ahead of us:)

Wishing everyone a blessed Lent season and 新春平安!

#reflections #lent #spring #japan #studioasobi
...

WHISPERS
Faint rustling of leaves
Bear clandestine messages
Tree to silent tree

In these strange covid times, we have become more and more like silent trees, standing at a perpetual safe distance from one another. Yet across the invisible airwaves, we are chattering incessantly, even broadcasting our thoughts to the world (like now). What a strange juxtaposition! Really makes me wonder how our lives will be like 20 years from now. Will we still sit in cafes, sipping our coffees, leaning close to each other so that we can whisper across the background noise?

Who knows. But for now, here are five little pourers for the folks at @apartmentcoffee , as they do their work of calming nerves, lifting spirits, and soothing the palates of the sojourners coming in for a little pause in between adventures.

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #pourers #whispers #spout #coffee #tea #cafe #commission

WHISPERS
Faint rustling of leaves
Bear clandestine messages
Tree to silent tree

In these strange covid times, we have become more and more like silent trees, standing at a perpetual safe distance from one another. Yet across the invisible airwaves, we are chattering incessantly, even broadcasting our thoughts to the world (like now). What a strange juxtaposition! Really makes me wonder how our lives will be like 20 years from now. Will we still sit in cafes, sipping our coffees, leaning close to each other so that we can whisper across the background noise?

Who knows. But for now, here are five little pourers for the folks at @apartmentcoffee , as they do their work of calming nerves, lifting spirits, and soothing the palates of the sojourners coming in for a little pause in between adventures.

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #pourers #whispers #spout #coffee #tea #cafe #commission
...

So because I was an architect in my past life, here is a little eskimo house so I don't lose touch with the profession!

Did you know that the ice bricks in an igloo are actually built in a spiral fashion and not in horizontal layers? Well, I didn't either until Google informed me halfway through my carving... Too late!

Hope its furry little owner won't mind!

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #igloo #bricks #commission #hamster #hideout #wip

So because I was an architect in my past life, here is a little eskimo house so I don't lose touch with the profession!

Did you know that the ice bricks in an igloo are actually built in a spiral fashion and not in horizontal layers? Well, I didn't either until Google informed me halfway through my carving... Too late!

Hope its furry little owner won't mind!

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #igloo #bricks #commission #hamster #hideout #wip
...

Mondays are our rest days, and over the years this rhythm has become indispensable to the health of our marriage and our studio.

Today started with Huiwen riding out at 5am along Serangoon River to catch the sunrise, and ended with Kenneth completing this mural on our chalkboard.

In between, we had a lovely breakfast together, and talked about the implications of the RZIM revelations on our spiritual journey. We repented of our own lack of self-control, and of the hours we have wasted letting our minds be dulled by our media feeds. We listened to a powerful and penetrating sermon that spoke to our spirits. We resolved that 2021 will be different. We played our guitars, and harmonized an original song. We discarded some things at home that didn't spark joy. We poured tea for each other from a teapot we made together, and enjoyed the new year goodies that our families have blessed us with. We played and laughed with Tobie, and showed off our in progress "夕阳" to him. He loved it!

We're still slowly discovering the meaning of the Sabbath, but today finally felt like the kind of rest that we have needed for a really long time.

Mondays are our rest days, and over the years this rhythm has become indispensable to the health of our marriage and our studio.

Today started with Huiwen riding out at 5am along Serangoon River to catch the sunrise, and ended with Kenneth completing this mural on our chalkboard.

In between, we had a lovely breakfast together, and talked about the implications of the RZIM revelations on our spiritual journey. We repented of our own lack of self-control, and of the hours we have wasted letting our minds be dulled by our media feeds. We listened to a powerful and penetrating sermon that spoke to our spirits. We resolved that 2021 will be different. We played our guitars, and harmonized an original song. We discarded some things at home that didn't spark joy. We poured tea for each other from a teapot we made together, and enjoyed the new year goodies that our families have blessed us with. We played and laughed with Tobie, and showed off our in progress "夕阳" to him. He loved it!

We're still slowly discovering the meaning of the Sabbath, but today finally felt like the kind of rest that we have needed for a really long time.
...

Here's a beautiful and evocative creation from one of our handbuilding intro session participants.

Most of us would recognise the form of the Monkey God's headband "紧箍" draped around the neck of the vase. In the novel Journey To The West, the monk routinely uses a curse that causes the headband to shrink, giving the loyal Monkey God an excruciating headache and compelling him to follow the monk's well-intentioned but often misguided orders.

I have no idea what was in our participant's mind as she made this vase, but as I gazed at it fresh out of the kiln, I was reminded of all those conflicting voices in my heart, constantly fighting for my attention and action. Some of these I often listen to, others I routinely suppress. Perhaps this is a gentle nudge for me to review some of these mental reflexes, and see if anything needs changing as we drift quietly towards the fifth decade of our lives!

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #handbuilding #vase #monkeygod #reflections

Here's a beautiful and evocative creation from one of our handbuilding intro session participants.

Most of us would recognise the form of the Monkey God's headband "紧箍" draped around the neck of the vase. In the novel Journey To The West, the monk routinely uses a curse that causes the headband to shrink, giving the loyal Monkey God an excruciating headache and compelling him to follow the monk's well-intentioned but often misguided orders.

I have no idea what was in our participant's mind as she made this vase, but as I gazed at it fresh out of the kiln, I was reminded of all those conflicting voices in my heart, constantly fighting for my attention and action. Some of these I often listen to, others I routinely suppress. Perhaps this is a gentle nudge for me to review some of these mental reflexes, and see if anything needs changing as we drift quietly towards the fifth decade of our lives!

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #handbuilding #vase #monkeygod #reflections
...

Last night as I thought about what Valentine's Day means to me this year, the phrase "不吃力" (i.e. not tedious) came to mind. 

We fell in love in 2009, married in 2011 and so this year we will enter into our 10th year of marriage! ♥️

不吃力 can also be translated as effortless, but I wouldn't use that translation because while it is not tedious, there is definitely effort put in on a daily basis to keep our love growing strong. However, just like tending to your garden blooms or using your hands to craft, the effort is necessary for the outcome, but it is enjoyable at the same time. 

As I mused further, I thought of another phrase to describe our relationship, and that would be "力量支援” (i.e. energy giving). I am really thankful for having a strong partner to carry what I cannot carry on my own; to hold my hand as we explore this world together:) 

I thank God for bringing us together and for giving us our bundle of joy who cracks us up with his humour and who soothes us with his sweetness. 

Just like the bubble tea that we rewarded ourselves on this special day, may your days be filled with moments of 小幸福 too! ♥️♥️♥️

#reflections #valentinesday #studioasobi

Last night as I thought about what Valentine's Day means to me this year, the phrase "不吃力" (i.e. not tedious) came to mind.

We fell in love in 2009, married in 2011 and so this year we will enter into our 10th year of marriage! ♥️

不吃力 can also be translated as effortless, but I wouldn't use that translation because while it is not tedious, there is definitely effort put in on a daily basis to keep our love growing strong. However, just like tending to your garden blooms or using your hands to craft, the effort is necessary for the outcome, but it is enjoyable at the same time.

As I mused further, I thought of another phrase to describe our relationship, and that would be "力量支援” (i.e. energy giving). I am really thankful for having a strong partner to carry what I cannot carry on my own; to hold my hand as we explore this world together:)

I thank God for bringing us together and for giving us our bundle of joy who cracks us up with his humour and who soothes us with his sweetness.

Just like the bubble tea that we rewarded ourselves on this special day, may your days be filled with moments of 小幸福 too! ♥️♥️♥️

#reflections #valentinesday #studioasobi
...

On the second day of Chinese New Year, we taught our extended family how to play Mahjong, and then spent the evening glued to the wheel till 2am to pull this off.

Work-Play balance!

On the second day of Chinese New Year, we taught our extended family how to play Mahjong, and then spent the evening glued to the wheel till 2am to pull this off.

Work-Play balance!
...

HOLD ME
Don't keep your distance
These flames burning inside me
Will never burn you

Loving this tea set that brewed for months in my mind before we finally got down to making it. Its double-walled form keeps the tea hot but leaves its surface mildly warm, without the need for a handle.

I've always found teapot handles somewhat uncomfortable - the weight of the water creates a large moment force that stresses the fingers, especially when the handles are thin. This feels a lot more pleasurable to hold, and thankfully it gives a decent pour too!

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #teapot #teaset #doublewall #nohandle

HOLD ME
Don't keep your distance
These flames burning inside me
Will never burn you

Loving this tea set that brewed for months in my mind before we finally got down to making it. Its double-walled form keeps the tea hot but leaves its surface mildly warm, without the need for a handle.

I've always found teapot handles somewhat uncomfortable - the weight of the water creates a large moment force that stresses the fingers, especially when the handles are thin. This feels a lot more pleasurable to hold, and thankfully it gives a decent pour too!

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #teapot #teaset #doublewall #nohandle
...

恭祝大家新年快乐;福杯满溢; 出入平安!🍊🍊

也祝我们自己能悠遊自在; 勇敢的 asobi 下去😊

恭祝大家新年快乐;福杯满溢; 出入平安!🍊🍊

也祝我们自己能悠遊自在; 勇敢的 asobi 下去😊
...

One of our constant struggles throughout these 6+ years of running Studio Asobi is having to oscillate between "is there a faster way to do this?" and "is there a slower way to do this?"

We left the corporate world back in 2014/5 in our pursuit of a slower and more mindful way of life, but the huge drop in income remains a hard reality to navigate through.

But recently I spoke to an injured Bangladeshi migrant worker who said something pretty profound to me. We were talking about my pottery business, and he asked me how much I would sell a handmade cup for. I told him it depends on the size - maybe around $50? He remarked that in Bangladesh, a handmade cup (fired manually in an earth pit, not using an electric kiln), would sell for $0.15. Of course, one has to adjust for currency values, cost of living, etc etc but I knew his point - that things are very different between Singapore and Bangladesh.

And then he went on to say, "Back home, I am rich, but I am poor. Here, you are poor, but you are rich."

He got some things wrong and some things right. If we are honest about it, we are certainly not poor. Yes, we make less than our peers, but Covid-19 has also opened our eyes to the magnitude of REAL poverty and food insecurity around us. But what he understood and experienced in his short time in Singapore is that even those who are relatively poorer here have so much more than the people in some of our nearby countries. We have no natural disasters; clean water; electricity; accessible transportation, so many baseline things that we take for granted.

It was a precious conversation, reminding me not just to be grateful for what I have, but to be grateful that I already have all I need. And so coming back to that question of doing things faster or slower - I realize that perhaps what I should ask myself is "why faster?" and "why slower?" Can my motivation be traced back to the worry of not earning enough relative to my time cost? Or can I be motivated by something else that will eventually bring me sustainable joy and peace?

Good questions to keep asking myself as I boldly step into this new decade!

One of our constant struggles throughout these 6+ years of running Studio Asobi is having to oscillate between "is there a faster way to do this?" and "is there a slower way to do this?"

We left the corporate world back in 2014/5 in our pursuit of a slower and more mindful way of life, but the huge drop in income remains a hard reality to navigate through.

But recently I spoke to an injured Bangladeshi migrant worker who said something pretty profound to me. We were talking about my pottery business, and he asked me how much I would sell a handmade cup for. I told him it depends on the size - maybe around $50? He remarked that in Bangladesh, a handmade cup (fired manually in an earth pit, not using an electric kiln), would sell for $0.15. Of course, one has to adjust for currency values, cost of living, etc etc but I knew his point - that things are very different between Singapore and Bangladesh.

And then he went on to say, "Back home, I am rich, but I am poor. Here, you are poor, but you are rich."

He got some things wrong and some things right. If we are honest about it, we are certainly not poor. Yes, we make less than our peers, but Covid-19 has also opened our eyes to the magnitude of REAL poverty and food insecurity around us. But what he understood and experienced in his short time in Singapore is that even those who are relatively poorer here have so much more than the people in some of our nearby countries. We have no natural disasters; clean water; electricity; accessible transportation, so many baseline things that we take for granted.

It was a precious conversation, reminding me not just to be grateful for what I have, but to be grateful that I already have all I need. And so coming back to that question of doing things faster or slower - I realize that perhaps what I should ask myself is "why faster?" and "why slower?" Can my motivation be traced back to the worry of not earning enough relative to my time cost? Or can I be motivated by something else that will eventually bring me sustainable joy and peace?

Good questions to keep asking myself as I boldly step into this new decade!
...

MOON OVER A CLIFF
What is it like to
Sit at the edge of this world
And bathe in your light?

We gifted this sake set to a hero turned friend, and it was such a lovely feeling to receive this photo of our vessels sitting under some dim and mysterious lighting!

The call of discipleship is, I imagine, like being a moon. Tirelessly orbiting the Earth and casting onto it the light of the Sun. 

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #sake #vase #cups #moon #earth #sun #cliff

MOON OVER A CLIFF
What is it like to
Sit at the edge of this world
And bathe in your light?

We gifted this sake set to a hero turned friend, and it was such a lovely feeling to receive this photo of our vessels sitting under some dim and mysterious lighting!

The call of discipleship is, I imagine, like being a moon. Tirelessly orbiting the Earth and casting onto it the light of the Sun.

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #sake #vase #cups #moon #earth #sun #cliff
...

Testing out some forms for a client's coffee pourer! Which one would you prefer to hold in your hand?

Testing out some forms for a client's coffee pourer! Which one would you prefer to hold in your hand? ...

FOR THE AGES
Till that day comes when
Hunched, rugged, battered by time
We share one more cup

As we worked on these vessels for a newly married couple, it suddenly occured to me that marriage is perhaps most beautiful in our ugliness. When we enjoy each other's presence without the cloak of perfume, make-up, or expensive clothes. When we look affectionately at each other's wrinkled faces and grasp each other's shaking hands even as the world starts to leave us behind.

Living in a world that celebrates individuality and independence, I somehow feel a lot more blessed to belong to someone.

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #sake #vase #wrinkled #marriage

FOR THE AGES
Till that day comes when
Hunched, rugged, battered by time
We share one more cup

As we worked on these vessels for a newly married couple, it suddenly occured to me that marriage is perhaps most beautiful in our ugliness. When we enjoy each other's presence without the cloak of perfume, make-up, or expensive clothes. When we look affectionately at each other's wrinkled faces and grasp each other's shaking hands even as the world starts to leave us behind.

Living in a world that celebrates individuality and independence, I somehow feel a lot more blessed to belong to someone.

#studioasobi #handmade #madeinsingapore #ceramiclife #ceramics #sgceramics #sgpottery #pottery #artisan #sake #vase #wrinkled #marriage
...