67: Mud on Wheels

#100 Happy Days / Day 67

The weather forecast is dreadfully spot on. I wake up to the pitter patter of the rain drops falling on the roof. I am a little disappointed as I was hoping to go out for a morning walk and trip to the supermarket, but I also know that my poor friends in Singapore have been going through a long and weird period of drought, so well, there’s always two sides to the coin!

I did not manage to grasp the chrysanthemum wedging method yesterday, so for my early morning preparation, I turn to trusty youtube to provide some guidance! After staring unblinkingly at the instructionals for a long time, I feel like something is clicking together in my little brain. I hurry downstairs to the pottery studio to try it out. Not beautiful, but I think I am getting the hang of it! Happy!

I continue practising till sensei is here. He walks over and gives a nod. “It’s ok, continue practising”. Achievement unlocked!

Today’s focus is on wheel throwing, rokuro in Japanese and sensei asks me to prepare 5 x 500g balls and 10 x 1kg balls of clay. It is the first time I am so precise in measuring clay. Usually back in Singapore, I just take whatever fits both of my palms! Japanese precision indeed.

For the hour, all I am doing is practice. I don’t mind it at all as practice makes perfect! I soon struggle with the 1 kg balls of clay as I am required to make straight cylinders. I have gone on to make bowls in Singapore without really focusing on making bigger and bigger cylinders. As sensei is very strict, it’s back to basic fundamentals now.

Both sensei and Naoko san have to abandon me for awhile and run errands, so I stay behind to practice on my own. Sensei does not watch TV and only listens to the radio, so the soft hum of the sports commentary and occasional music become my sole company. I feel at peace as I silently massage the shapeless hunks of mud into regular cylinders. Soon it is lunchtime, and I make myself a really big meal full of healthy vegetables!


Over here, everyone uses their own tools, unlike the studio I was at back in Singapore, which supplied practically everything (they sold the tools after all!). So sensei and Naoko san decide that today I will go to Seto, the neighboring city, to buy some tools!

Back when I was deciding where to do my pottery immersion, I was wavering between Seto and Tajimi. After driving through Seto, I decide that I really like Tajimi better! Happy about my choice! And also happy that these areas are so flourishing with potters that there are all these specialist tool and clay shops available for people to get what they want! My brain is practically drooling over all the options…


I pick up some basic Japanese tools!


By the time we return, the official class hour is over. I am not done yet and I resolve to finish all the assigned practice work even though sensei has also left. Ganbatte to myself!!!

All this work makes for a good appetite, and I cook myself something really healthy and hearty again! I think I am becoming a really good chef. My tummy agrees!



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