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
Pottery is often seen as a pretty individual endeavour - and indeed its therapeutic and meditative qualities make it an ideal activity for introverts!
This workshop was a little different from our norm, however, as each of these beautiful vessels were made by four hands, not two. We conducted this session for an organisation preparing for a period of leadership transition and individual life transitions, and the unique creation process encouraged some deep conversations about letting go, mentoring, and spiritual maturity.
Thanks for trusting us with your precious 4 hours, and for blessing us with your stories and perspectives! May your works be a reminder of God's goodness in your lives!
One of the hardest things for me to grasp about pottery, even after all these years, is just how much clay shrinks from the moment it is moulded to the moment it is lifted out of the kiln.
The vessel at the bottom right is a completed sample we made for a client - the other three are freshly thrown on the wheel, before trimming and drying. So much shrinkage! We often have to just suspend our disbelief and keep to our measurements, trusting that everything will turn out just fine.
Aren't there things in life that are like that too? Where you have to labor long and hard in a certain direction where the result isn't particularly apparent?
I've never really thought of grey as an interesting colour, but ever since about a year ago (on Holy Saturday), when I spent a few quiet hours at the sea shore under an overcast sky, I've been quite taken by the mysterious and emotive qualities of this colour.
And so here are some recent experiments with grey matte glazes - still work in progress but I'm pretty excited after discovering what Nickel Oxide can do!
Two more BELL vessels fresh out of the kiln. Really love these matte glazes, particularly because we didn't expect we could produce these colours!
After spending a good deal of time teaching workshops, it's really rewarding to find the time and space to make things for our own use.
For our artisan friends making a living with your crafts, hope we can all find time to quieten down and take pleasure in our creations, even amidst the challenges of work. It's something we honestly don't remember often enough!
Singapore may be small, but we definitely punch above our weight when it comes to strategic thinking and action.
Feeling especially grateful today as we see the number of new local COVID-19 cases drop while there is a steady and growing number of discharged cases. Thank you to all the healthcare and police staff for the relentless hard work and sacrifices!
We continue to pray for the people in ICU and elsewhere in the world who are battling to contain this outbreak and may wisdom and clear minded action help to safeguard the precious lives of each individual.
We also remember those who grief...over the lives of those whose evening came too soon.
O Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
P.S. the beautiful local tembusu wood is from our friends at rogerandsons! Do continue to support local companies and small business owners; especially the ones hardest hit and who are trying to support their staff on payroll. Don't forget others in need too. Let's all jiayou together!
Rocks are a constant in Chinese landscape paintings. Quiet and unassuming, they are often not the core subject matter, but a scene without them may inevitably carry a sense of incompleteness.
I can't paint them (yet), but I guess I can make them! 😄
It was quite a difficult decision to pause our classes in February while we monitored the Covid-19 situation in Singapore. But two weeks into this break, we have found time to test a number of new matte glaze formulas and the results have been really nice!
A big thank you to our regular students who are sticking with us during this little hiatus - we hope to be back in March if the situation stabilises, with good precautionary procedures in place and exciting new glazes to choose from!