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!...
"Weeping may tarry for the night,
But joy comes with the morning." In the art of Kintsugi, broken pieces are carefully put back together to be made whole again. The scars are not hidden, but they are redeemed by a coat of gold; restoring the vessel not just to its former glory, but transformed into a new beauty.
How comforting is that! Sorrow will turn into joy because the God of all beginnings has also decreed the end.
God will wipe away every tear, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
While we wait for that, He who clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the sparrows shall also take care of those who put their trust in Him.
Have a blessed week ahead! If you would like to know more about this God, PM us!:)
#kintsugi #pottery #ceramics #maker #culturecare...
There used to be a phrase called 铁饭碗, i.e. iron rice bowl, which represented a secure paycheck. I do not know what is its antonym, but I suppose 没/空饭碗, i.e. no/empty rice bowl is apt.
In this global covid-19 crisis which has stopped everyone in their tracks, many families' rice bowls are on shaky ground. The UN has also issued a warning about impending famines if action is not quickly taken to address food security issues.
As the earth takes a breather from the pounding, many things which had laid hidden from sight have also now been unveiled.
Undervalued essential service workers. Vulnerable populations. Living conditions of the migrant brothers. Cracks and fractures laid bare for all to see.
It has been so heartening to see Singaporeans rise up to the occasion, with acts of kindness and initiative and compassion. Mercy is what we need to continue. Even if we long to return to "normal" - very few would say the previous normal was good.
What are the things we wish to carry into this new normal? Can we continue to be a people who look for the overlooked, the ones most at risk, the ones who face exploitation and unjust conditions?:) We also need to ask ourselves - have we been unwittingly perpetuating a bad culture? As bosses, as colleagues, as customers, as family members, have we been making life difficult for others when it is in our power to make life more gracious?
It will be a long winter, and my guess is that the circuit breaker will continue in some forms and formats for a lengthier time frame. How shall our studio evolve? There is so much to think about! The winter will be more bearable if we all huddle and keep each other warm:) Jiayou everyone! May God guard and keep you ❤
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” - Matthew 26:39
These were the words spoken by Jesus on Maundy Thursday, as He contemplated His impending death by way of crucifixion.
Before this, He had stooped to wash the feet of his disciples and He said: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:34-35
The sinful nature of mankind was laid bare, when an innocent man was flogged, and left hanging to die a slow and humiliating death by being nailed on the cross.
How can something like this be called a GOOD friday? Yet, it was God's will to provide a way out for humans to be reconciled to Him and realigned to His kingdom's values by having a new heart and spirit.
We, as christians don't always live up to this expectation, but don't look to us flawed humans who are all works in progress. Instead, look to Jesus, the Son of God who conquered death by His resurrection on Easter Sunday and who has promised true life to those who believe in Him. He is the one who brings true lasting hope.
We all yearn to go back to "normal life", but truly if we think deeply, there wasn't a lot of normal in pre-Covid-19 days. There was plenty of injustice and greed and exploitation, and a lack of love and respect. There are many things we can turn away from.
This global pause and shakeup is a humbling one which invites us to reimagine and rework society and our own lives into one that overflows into thanksgivings and leave no marginalised behind.
Sending everyone lots of ❤ as we all stay home and keep safe. Peace be with you, and us all! 🙌...
As much as we love to create unique, expressive vessels, it can be a really enjoyable experience (sometimes) to craft the same simple, functional forms over and over again - pulling up to a certain height, coaxing out the same curve, trimming off just enough.
Thankful for our new handcrafted matte glazes that never really turn out the same!
In this season of having to close our studio, stay at home, and engage in the same routines over and over again, it's been uplifting to discover beauty in the mundane.
Thank you apartmentcoffee for this lovely commission!
Like many others, our studio's classes are also going to be closed for a month. In times like these, it was so heartwarming to receive handmade flowers and a handwritten thank you note from two of our workshop participants:) It is such a super sweet gesture! Thank you J & A!
It is likely going to be a long winter for many in various industries, and it has been so heartening to see so many ground-up initiatives that are looking out for one another, especially for those who are hardest hit. Big thanks to our steady government as well, for doing a tough balancing act of keeping its people safe and the economy going.
Stay safe folks and to all my friends who are also affected, big ❤ to you! Special thanks to all the healthcare and sanitary workers who are not able to stay home with their loved ones because they are working super hard for all of our welfare. 🙌
It would have been hard to imagine what "staying home to save lives" could possibly mean in 2019, but around the globe, millions are now doing so in 2020. Real life is stranger than fiction!
In some ways, home has reclaimed its place of importance - a place to retreat into safety; a garden to nurture shoots of relationships. There is now more time to do all the things we didn't have time to tend to.
How are you doing? Are you coping well?
Take heart, the storm will pass! ❤
P.S. Loving this quaint pottery by one of our students watercolouredberries