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Secondary 2 AEP – Visit to Thow Kwang Pottery

The Secondary 2 Art Elective Programme (AEP) students visited Thow Kwang Pottery on the 26th of October 2017. This venue was chosen as it complements the ceramics module they learnt in Term 2 and would deepen their knowledge of traditional ceramics. Thow Kwang is located in Lorong Tawas and is surrounded by a jungle so it made them feel like they had stepped back into time. While there, they learnt about the history of the Dragon Kiln and had practical workshops on hand building and throwing techniques. They also created a pencil holder and a cup by the end of the learning journey. 

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Here are some reflections from the students:


At Thow Kwang, we tried throwing on a potter’s wheel. It was a really challenging and daunting task and we learnt that it requires years of practice to be able to master it. It seemed easy when the instructor effortlessly demonstrated to us how he did it but when I tried my hand at it, I had difficulties doing it. Even after more than 20 tries, none of them came out successful but I was not downcast because it was a good experience. Furthermore, the instructor explained that he had been practising for 20 years and that would explain why he could do it so effortlessly. This really taught me the importance of perseverance and patience and also how we should be passionate and responsible for something we want to pursue in order to gain success. 

Jacob Tan, 2E1

 

The experience at Thow Kwang Pottery was very enjoyable. I definitely learnt a lot through this learning journey and it totally changed my impression of pottery. Before this learning journey, I’ve always thought that pottery was a simple task and I’ve seen people doing throwing on TV before and it looked very easy. After this experience, I realised that it takes a lot of skill and practice to master this technique. I’ve also learnt the difference between firing a clay sculpture in a kiln and an electric kiln. Overall, it was a once in a lifetime experience for me and I really enjoyed myself with my classmates

Shaun Lim, 2E1

 

I was thrilled to be able to use the potter’s wheel as it was something I had always wanted to try. It wasn't as easy as it looked! I struggled to keep the clay at the central part of the circle. Through countless failed attempts, I learned the proper way of throwing the clay. I learnt to keep it stable and firmly in place and the amount of force I should use to mould the clay. Too much force and it collapses; Too little and it becomes too wide and unappealing. I’ve learnt through this experience that failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success. I now look at clay works in admiration, because I know that the artist went through countless failures and setbacks to produce his art works.

Ethan Chng, 2E1

 

I learnt how science and art are used together in pottery through the process of gathering the clay, moulding it and firing it. We also did some throwing on the potter’s wheel. My first try was really horribly done as I could barely control it. After re-doing many times and changing the clay, I eventually managed to make a really thin cup with the help of the instructor and my classmate who had prior experience. This has taught me to persevere and to not hesitate to ask for help when needed.

Bridget Koh, 2E1

 

I really enjoyed this learning journey because we had the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities and learn many facts about ceramics. The ceramics workshop allowed me to understand more about this form of art. I learnt many new and useful techniques from both the activities. The most interesting part of the learning journey is getting to know more about the dragon kiln and how it works. Unlike the electric kiln in our school, the dragon kiln is much longer and larger, and is fired manually. I learnt how these masters monitor the temperature of the kiln through a video. The activities were also very interesting. I learnt that I had to score our clay before adding slip to stick and secure it. While trying my hands at making my own pencil holder and cup, I was surrounded by many ceramic works of different shapes and sizes which gave me the motivation to try harder when I failed to throw a perfect bowl or cup.

 

Chuah Yi Zhen, 2E1