How many times do you eat from a plate a day? Or, drink from a cup?
A lot, right? You probably have stacked cupboards of plates and cups you couldn’t care less about. Instead of buying a bland bowl from The Store That Everyone Buys From, why not make your own! Get elbow deep in clay, and create unique and beautiful earthenware you can proudly display at home.
Learning the art of ceramics has seen a surge of popularity, after being touted as the latest mindfulness activity, and more importantly, it’s a messy good time!
Funzing visited one of our amazing hosts Alvin Tan, and the team at The 8th Floor Creative Space, to experience what it was like sitting behind a potter’s wheel! The team, with years of clay-making experience behind them, enjoy sharing this traditional craft with the public. In fact, they were first pottery studio in Singapore to provide structural pottery courses, and a progress-monitoring system for their learners. “We conduct regular pottery courses and we meet many people from all walks of lives…we have a few learners who have left Singapore for good who are still in close contact with one another, we bonded over clay.”
The class sizes are kept small, so everyone can sit behind a wheel and, should you need it (we did!) appreciate one-on-one time with one of the artisans.
To begin, we donned aprons. You’re still going to get flecks of clay on your clothes, so don’t wear your best. Alvin held a mini Q&A, where he stressed the importance of arm strength to us pottery newbies and how we should, “always treat the clay with TLC (tender loving care)!” Then, we crowded around and watched a pro at work. It was mesmerising to watch his hands work the clay, sculpting it higher and higher into a Grecian looking vase. He demonstrated how to centre the clay. How to use the wheel to pull and shape the ball of clay into a plate, a bowl, a cup.
Then, armed with 3 perfectly round balls of clay each, we took the crafting into our own hands. You can make whatever your heart desires. Whatever your cupboards lack. A few in the class knew what they wanted. Others, like Funzing, went with the approach of letting the clay take us where it would. We all found working the wet clay through our fingers was as Alvin joked, “a good form of de-stressing, and definitely therapeutic.”
Fashioning earthenware is harder than it looks, but Alvin and the team make it their mission to ensure, “that every participant will get a piece of work as keepsake during the experience.” Once finished on the wheel, the team lets your work dry and then fires it up in the kiln. Your work can be collected from the studio a few weeks after your session.
This beginner’s session to throwing on the potter’s wheel, is the perfect way to unwind, learn the basics of a new skill, and soon enough you’ll have a cupboard full of trinkets and plates no-one else in the world owns!