Thank you Business Times for the wonderful feature! Like all the passionate craftspeople and indie food producers at Batch, it is a great joy to share our stories and our handmade offerings of love with you.
At Studio Asobi, our journey has only just begun. This encouragement reminds us that though the road ahead is full of uncertainties, as long as we keep doing the things we love, it will be a road worth walking!
For all of you out there who are pursuing your little dreams just like us, keep walking and don’t ever stop dreaming!
WHAT started as a fun activity to be enjoyed with her husband grew into a full-time career for Lee Huiwen, a homegrown ceramist who creates one-off, nature-inspired works. It all began a year ago, when the Singapore Management University business graduate, who was in real estate business development before working for a non-governmental organisation, took a sabbatical.
“My husband and I picked up pottery because we wanted to learn something together,” explains Ms Lee. “We had just gotten married but were so busy with our careers that we hardly had time to do anything as a couple. He had a great experience doing pottery in secondary school and was very convincing!”
She picked up the craft in Singapore, but it was only when she enrolled in an immersive programme in the pottery town of Tajimi, Japan, that she decided to take the plunge and become a ceramist.
“The lifestyle there is simple but extremely fulfilling,” recalls Ms Lee. “People grow their own vegetables and the young potters I met are really dedicated to their art, staying humble and cheerful even though their income is not always forthcoming. My sensei is 74 years old and still shows up daily to work and teach and feast with his students.”
Now, she works from a home studio which allows her time to go out into the parks and neighbourhoods to get inspired by nature and people. The actual building, drying, firing and glazing process can take anything from a few days to a few weeks. And although her business, Studio Asobi, was founded only a few months ago, she has experienced a growing interest in ceramics, especially from young working professionals in their 20s and 30s. Ms Lee also sells her works to ceramic collectors, as well as others who are looking for functional wares or presents.
After several friends requested to be taught the basics of ceramics, she started a monthly workshop, aimed at giving beginners a hands-on experience with making their very own clay vessel.
“It was daunting at first, but gradually I convinced myself that if I have found something beautiful, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be sharing it with others,” says Ms Lee. “And it brings me a lot of joy to see the smiles on people’s faces when they discover the hidden artist within themselves!”