Saturday, 21 January 2017

Pottery and Glass-making Workshop at Kyushu Japan

Over the span of my holiday experiences yearly, I find myself more inclined towards animals, food and fun activities. I guess taking a few OOTDs is mandatory occasionally during the trip, I don't really fancy sightseeing especially during cold weather. (Or maybe I'm just plain lazy). On the other hand, DIY and hands-on activities is something that I will definitely consider to add into my itinerary. Better even with local cooking classes maybe?

When I went to Taiwan many years ago, we had a short pottery-making session, which allowed us to bring back our "masterpiece". I vaguely remember that it was quite interesting in having the opportunity to really feel how the process is like, but I wanted something more than that, which was achieved during this pottery-making experience at Kyushu.

The workshop even had a Chinese translator on the day of our visit, which was perfect as there’s always communication barrier when it comes to speaking with Japanese.

As we only wanted to have a piece of experience to customize our handmade pottery, we picked the cheapest option available – a tea cup. I didn’t want to put the money to waste (My previous pottery art piece is chucked somewhere which I threw away after some time). I decided to do a presentable piece for my dad to use as his new tea cup instead!

A sensei (teacher in Japanese) guided us with the proper steps to form a decent shape of a cup by putting an appropriate amount of pressure onto the clay spinning machine. We also have to wet our hands in order to keep the clay sticky and pliable.  Personally, I find it quite easy to form simple shapes by moulding with your hands. Anyway, if you really mess things up, you can always redo again. I was tempted to do really weird and outstanding designs but it would be really uncomfortable to drink from the cup, so I stick to the conventional cup size and design, which also gave me ample space for doing my carving later (Best part of the whole process in my opinion).

The clay dries up pretty quickly without water and we are able to lift it up carefully to bring it to our worktable for the carving decorations. My bro opted for the tribal design while I decided to go for my family’s zodiac in cartoon style. I think every animal looks so cute except for the rooster haha. I especially love the dragon! Complex drawings are also more interesting to work on. To make it more personalized, I also carved a character beside each cartoon to represent each and every of us in the family! 

As we didn’t have sufficient time, the final work will be done by the sensei, he will complete the finishing touches before heating the pottery to make it into a final product. We paid for courier service to send it to Japan and my dad will be collecting it when he goes there for business trip. EXCITED TO SEE THE FINAL PIECE!!

We proceeded with the glass-making workshop after that. I had high hopes about this as I have seen videos on Facebook before. The process seems really challenging and fun at the same time. I've also always wondered how glass displays are made. 

The heat was really quite intense near the “oven” where we have to soften the glass in order to mould the shape. Both my bro and I picked the Seashell design (it’s the only design that stands out). 

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that we were not given more opportunity to experience the real glass-making process. I suppose it’s because we are not familiar with the machines and there is safety precautions.

But I am still really happy with the final product! Can't believe I made this keychain (with some help of course!) The mixture of different blue tones makes the keychain such a beautiful piece. Even though there's not much DIY components in this workshop, it is perfect for a handmade gift for someone if you have no idea what to get for him/her. Besides keychains, you can even learn how to make other glasswares but of course it comes with a higher price tag as well. The keychain is a more affordable choice if you just want to have a touch of glass-making experience.

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