A famous American ceramic artist, George E. Ohr, once said “God said to the clay ‘be ware’ and so it was”. I wished I heard those words too. How hard can it be to mold clay?
A short history behind Clay-Street.com
Clay-Street.com was born out of the passion for clay art. In late 2008, Alvin (one of the three partners) chanced upon a group of visually impaired people from the Singapore Association of Visually Handicapped (SAVH). He was curious about the visual images a blind person pictures in his/her mind. Not long after, he held a joint workshop for 30 visually impaired members of SAVH with the help of a dozen volunteers. They had so much fun, that Alvin privately funded a year-long learning program – to explore new ways of teaching pottery skills to the blind.
Towards the end of the 12-month program, Clay-Street.com held the very first art exhibition by the blind and successfully sold over 80% of their exhibits. This led to the idea of starting a social enterprise. One that generates enough income to fund pottery workshops for the visually impaired, rather than seeking financial assistance from corporations and individuals. It also helped solidify the business direction of Clay-Street.com, in using clay to facilitate team and relationship bonding.
Today, Clay-Street.com provides customized and innovative pottery workshops out of a spacious work studio at Commonwealth. Under the expert guidance of master potter Mr Chew, you can make whatever you want.
Here are some works of ceramic art on display at the studio.
I came with grand plans of making a museum-like masterpiece that would be a talking piece for my home. Something I can show off to friends and family. A large fruit bowl, a big creatively shaped vase or a cheese-and-crackers serving plate were on top of mind.
After putting on an apron, a huge glob of clay in hand and a pottery wheel in front of me, all ambitions went out the window. I was lost.
Mr Chew asked me what I wanted to make. I scaled my initial expectations down, and said ‘A big beer mug‘. At least I could give that away as a gift. He showed me the basic pinch and coil technique. And off I went.
Thirty minutes later of what looked nothing like a mug on my pottery wheel, I gave up.
I folded the clay back into a round glob and placed it in the middle of the wheel. What now? My friend Theingi said ‘You know, cups are our most basic item we usually teach our first-time students‘.
Completely deflated, I agreed and started from scratch again.
|Mr Chew showing me how to work with my clay|
|Trying my best to mold clay. It is not easy!|
This time, it was better. Between pinching and coiling clay, damping with water to smoothen out edges, spinning the wheel, and making sure the cup was centered, I was busy!
Three hours later, what started off as a supposing masterpiece of home decor ceramic art turned out to be a tiny Japanese tea cup (for one serve). Humph.
|My ‘unbaked’ teacup|
|Tadah! My finished teacup.|
Going home to have my cuppa tea ♥
Click here to find out more about Clay-Street.com’s pottery classes.