LILIES OF THE NILE
Behold the flowers
They never labor nor spin
Yet He clothes them all
These four cups, made under quite a bit of time pressure, have fortunately all turned out well! But behind all the pretty Instagram shots are also many vessels that do not make it here, and also those that are still nervously awaiting their test of fire. Well, at least we are nervous. Because 6 years after opening our studio, we have yet to master the workings of our kiln, the properties of our glazes, even the nature of the clay we use. And I don't imagine us really perfecting this art even at the end of our careers.
But we take comfort in the wisdom of Matthew 6 - where we are instructed not to worry about anything, not because of who we are but because of our Creator who never makes mistakes. He looks at us, in all our beauty and ugliness, and calls us His masterpiece.
When I gaze into
The clear blue lake of your mind
My cup runs over
Opening the kiln can be quite a nail-biting experience, but this one was tremendously satisfying. The way bowls fitted nicely together, the way the blues melted into the whites, the way that drop of glaze solidified at just right place so it doesn't stick to our kiln...really breaks my heart a little to have to give it away!
FIGHTING FISH - This is one of Tobie's first intentional paintings (on the back of his national day flag), and as he painted he kept remarking, "So colourful!"
And in English, no less. For a 95% Mandarin speaking boy, he must have been very impressed with his creation!
So here's a little break from pottery pictures, and a glimpse of our journey as a family. We honestly don't spend enough time with Tobie considering we are working from home all the time, and we really wish we had more energy to play with him and nurture him. So these moments are really special to us!...
For that God-given moment
To die and let live
This is the first time we have been asked to make a whole batch of vessels that have an identical volume. We considered using moulds, but then the idea of mass production has never really appealed to us. We also considered passing on this project, but then because our clients are so nice, we finally decided to give ourselves this little challenge and see if we can hand-throw identical cups on the wheel.
And as it turns out, it wasn't exactly that difficult! And although we aren't very familiar with mould-making, we'd wager that for this small batch of vessels, it would have taken us even more time and effort to create moulds. What's more, we do get quite a sense of satisfaction in making a whole bunch of identical cups with just our hands (and some tools of course)!
Thank you apartmentcoffee for this rewarding little project - hope your guests enjoy these little vessels!
Thousand mile voyage
Begins with a first small step
And so a tree grows
As I was making this coiled pot, I was listening to a podcast about awaking wonder in children.
I looked out to our balcony at the frangipani tree that has stretched its limbs far out into the sunlight. It didn't grow this way overnight; but rather little by little with daily watering, it grew. And so it is with little children, or our big goals in life. We just gotta be consistent to show up daily and put in that part of effort and love.
This coiled plant pot is a farewell gift commissioned by a team for a country director who is off to her next adventure. We want to give her our best wishes and to the team who will continue to build upon the foundation:)
A lovely, dreamy little piece by one of our intro workshop participants. We can be beginners in pottery, but none of us are beginners in having an imagination. Sometimes all we need is to allow our imagination to bubble up to the surface, past whatever obstacles we have arbitrarily constructed for ourselves.
Open me gently
As autumn leaves float adrift
A sip for a day
This little sake set was created to commemorate the birth of our friend's child, and it really brings me back to all those treasured memories that we picked up along our journey of life.
Today happens to be our 9th anniversary as husband and wife, and as we spent a rare morning sitting together away from the bustle of life, we were filled with a wonderful sense of excitement - there is still so much more to discover; so much deeper we can grow; so many more memories to make!
P.S. The lovely pouch was made by Eng Kian, our dear friend and multi-talented craftsman!
If I close my eyes
Will I wake up in the woods
With you next to me?
I find it quite amazing that I have watched almost every single Hayao Miyazaki film more than once, some of them four or five times. I'm not exactly sure why, but you know how there are some dreams that you just wish you can go back into?
It's a little like that for me. Whenever I watch one of these films, I get a chance to dream again, to believe in miracles, to witness love that is pure, joyful, and transcendent.
And I remember that I was once but a child, and wonder if perhaps I might still be one after all.
Thanks lingsterocks for giving us this lovely project to work on!
My Neighbour Totoro wasn't a title that particularly appealed to me. But after my first Studio Ghibli movie (Spirited Away) spirited my heart away, it was only a matter of time before I sat captivated through the magical, profound and uplifting story of My Neighbour Totoro.
_Time and again I_
_Cling onto You for dear life_
_My Rock and Saviour_
This rugged little piece was commissioned for a dear friend who goes on adventures for a living - climbing mountains, hiking through forests, witnessing the beauty of God's creation in places we would probably never set foot on.
She is also a rock-climber, and although we haven't had much experience in scaling vertical surfaces, we have climbed just about enough walls to appreciate the joy (or relief) of placing one's weight into a deep and secure handhold.
And so may this little gift, unrefined as it may look, remind her of the many physical rocks that she has clung onto; the emotional rocks that she has leaned on; and the spiritual Rock that has saved her life.
May those streaks of reddish brown clay, dug up from the same "Hougang soil" that we grew up on, also remind her of home in times when home seems far away.
We don't know how you might use this creation, but for a start, perhaps you can place your phone into its hollow - it's just the right angle for you to have a nice video call with the wonderful guy who thought of this gift in the first place!...
After this long and productive hiatus, where we spent time with each other, with family, with God; where we experimented with clay and glazes; where our eyes were opened to the plight of the disenfranchised in our society, we are finally opening again.
Can't wait to share our adventures with you all, and listen to yours as well! See you soon!
More details can be found on our website: studioasobi.com 😊
BLOSSOMS IN THE LAKE
When the wind settles
So do the ripples within
Once more you appear
The mind is a mysterious thing isn't it? Sometimes, out of the blue, I find myself transported to moments in my past - some of them joyful, some wistful, some of them filled with shame and sorrow.
While I don't really have control over the things I remember, I have discovered that the condition of my heart greatly influences how I remember these moments. A heart filled with turmoil can mar even the most beautiful memories; yet a heart of gratitude and peace can bring bring beauty and clarity to even the most excruciating experiences.
So who is to say we cannot change our past? And whose experience of life is more real - my younger, more angsty self as I journeyed through my circumstances, or my older and (hopefully) wiser self as I reflect upon them?
THE WARMTH WITHIN
Beneath the oceans
And the chill of arctic frost
Burns a lasting flame
The glaze on this teapot reminds me of the time when we hiked up Fox Glacier in New Zealand, and stared in wonder at the bluish glow from within a huge, hollowed out chunk of glacial ice. Isn't it amazing that way beneath the coolness of our Earth's surface lies this core of fiery molten rock that we only catch glimpses of in hot springs and occasional news of volcanic eruptions?
What an amazing planet we live on.
And what amazing bodies we live in, too, where beneath the often calm exteriors lie a whole spectrum of emotions - fiery passion, profound sorrow, intense longing, exuberant joy. When we look at one another, are we able to catch a glimpse of what's inside?
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." - John 12:24
The word came as I was cycling through Punggol Park and a tree caught my eye. I went closer and realised to my delight that it was a Silk-cotton Tree in bloom!
I picked open one of the seedpods and viola! Out came a fiery red ant and black seeds hidden in the glory of its fluffiness. "When the tree flowers and fruits, matured seedpods will split to release
hundreds of seeds that float on fluffy parachutes of white fibre. This water-resistant fibre, called kapok in malay, was previously used to stuff pillows, mattresses and life-jackets." - Nparks
What a beautiful word in season, which is displayed in nature! Long as it may take, trees are born out of humble seeds. And the mission of seeds is to grow and bear fruit.
I found it particularly interesting as the tree I found bore cotton. Soft and fluffy, it was a symbol of comfort to me. I was woken up at 5:30am as my son called out for comfort, and I couldn't get back to sleep after. I started to hear the early birdsongs and just as a mother's tender touch is precious to a child; so is God's call. "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." - Isaiah 40:11
As I was leaving, I caught sight of some splendid yellow birds - what a beautiful morning! Wishing everyone a good week ahead!...