BACK TO BASICS

What’s your hobby? A simple and innocent enough question. Yet it always gets me scratching my head. It wasn’t that long ago when we used to be spontaneous and free, and we knew exactly what we like to pursue. But today, having the time to do what we like is a luxury (a rare one at that), for most of us. Don’t you agree?

Call it serendipity. I had a chance encounter with a ceramist at a design conference, who introduced a newfound hobby to me and the rest was history. I roped in my friend Candy to join me for my, very first, ceramics lesson. Initially we thought it was just a series of 10 lessons and that’s that.

Little did we realise that, in the flash of an eye, it has been a good 2 years of ceramics classes, and I really enjoyed every minute of ceramics-making and making new friends at Thow Kwang.

To the novice, you have to use your heart to grasp the art of ceramics-making. Ceramics is about feeling the clay, understanding the texture, and I am still in the process of learning, discovering and making connections with this wonderful gift from nature. There’s so much to explore in ceramics — in fact it’s limitless. The fun part is, you literally dirty your hands and feel the clay, and before you know it, you’re addicted to the immense possibilities of creating something new with your bare hands.

Trust me, it always seems easy when someone is doing it. But when you try it for the first time, you feel as if the wheel is turning you around as you grapple for control.

It takes lots of patience and practice. But yet I can’t explain the joy of learning this hobby. There are times where it can be frustrating cos you seems to be failing all the time. Then, there are unpredictable and surprising elements to factor in, during firing. That’s a higher level of knowledge that I have not fully grasped.

It’s like science and art coming together to form the ultimate objects.
Firing time in Thow Kwang is like experiencing a “gotong royong” kampong spirit where friends / artists come together to fire up the kiln non stop for more than 24 hours. Yeah. Split shifts.

Ceramics reminds me of the beauty of creation. Of how a potter has his hands on the clay, imagining it with the mind’s eye and moulding it with the love of a father. Then you need to bisque it, glaze it and fire it. Tough work, yet every time, you just can’t wait to see the fruit of your creation.

I try not to be hard on myself especially in ceramics. I don’t intend to be a full time potter. It will always be a pastime, where I use it as an outlet for my creativity. I have been in the design industry for almost twenty years… (Yup! that long!!!) I still like what I am doing. But for ceramics, there’s no deadlines… it’s an outlet for me to explore new things and learn to “MAKE” something with my hands.
But perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that there’s no rush when it comes to a HOBBY.

We live in a fast-paced society where at times, it’s hard to slow down.

But I would like to encourage you to slow down — find that peace away from the noise and the madding crowd; free yourself from the prison of daily routines.

Do something that you’ve always wanted to or try something different, even crazy. Go for short workshops, learn to bake, or sign up for that long due marathon?

“Do something, anything that makes you feel alive.”

While creation is a tribute to creativity, collaboration uses this creativity to make a difference to the world.

Collaborated with Class Living to raise fund for Mercy Teams International. Two of my ceramic creations were sold and all proceeds were donated to Mercy Teams International in support of their community development work in Cambodia. Thanks to Class Living for giving me the platform and to my friend Karyn for her kind donation.

To view more of ceramics work : http://fourby4.sg/ceramica

Originally published at blog.fourby4.sg on February 25, 2017.