The Magic of Pottery Classes
I have picked up pottery lessons for about 5 years. The feeling of watching something transform completely under my hands is special. Pushing, squeezing and pulling this clay is very magical, and that magic is what I love about ceramics. Apart from this, I will now clichédly proceed to say that clay is an incredible teacher. It has taught and continues to teach me many things in life – commitment and patience are amongst the few.
Pottery Hand Building
I started wheel-throwing 5 years ago in school. Then, my teachers did not encourage us to use wheel throwing, since they wanted us to explore more sculptural forms (for which techniques like coiling were more suited). For But the studio had some wheels, and I was always curious. Since we weren’t really allowed to throw during studio hours, I decided to spend time outside of studio hours on wheel-throwing instead, guided by the studio technician who was an incredible thrower. Todd went out of his job scope, teaching me most of what I know today and laid the foundation for a growing obsession on the wheel.
After school, I managed to continue practicing a little and got an opportunity to assist pottery trial classes with Sutopo at Jalan Bahar. My time with clay led into an interest in soils and earth, and I decided to pursue physical geography at University College London (UCL). Although I wasn’t the most thoughtful when picking which university to attend, I was incredibly lucky to have picked UCL, which not only had an amazing physical geography department, but a makespace called the Institute of Making that had potter wheels.
There, I met Darren Ellis, a potter who had worked with Lisa Hammond, and he offered me the experience of teaching beginner sessions on the wheel. Teaching was an important experience for me. It’s easy to throw your own things on the wheel, but when you have to explain the rationale behind the techniques you use and the reason why you push the clay at this angle or why you pull a certain way, it makes you think a whole lot more about what you do. While I spent three years there teaching these sessions, I did not progress in my own practice as I had to devote my time to other commitments and was bad at time management. Moving back to Singapore last year, I am really grateful to have found 3Arts Pottery (thanks to the recommendation of friends and my colleague at work). Here, I’ve finally managed to improve in my practice, in this amazing little makespace in Joo Chiat Place. Thank you to everyone at 3Arts for curating this perfect place!
To be continued..... (Watch out for Part 2)