An unforgettable dinner with our hosts whilst on a pottery residency in Japan once led us into a spirited discussion about cultural goods and objects. We spoke about our familiarity with the myriad of Japanese representations in Singapore, the easy access of the Japanese culture through experiences such as the Japanese tea ceremony or an omakase meal, and how their craft culture is a beacon of light to many aspiring makers. However, when conversely asked what are the Singapore brands accessible in Japan, our cultural expressions and its associated objects, we were stumped.
Returning to Singapore, we set out to reconsider what our work ought to be representing. Despite receiving regular requests for sake sets or chinese teapots, there was a nagging discomfort that undertaking such work wouldn’t be the best way for us to contribute as makers because we simply don’t live that lifestyle. More importantly, we didn’t want to become a potential caricature of a potter or a craftsman.
In the first year at School of Clay Arts, people were won over just by the sheer fact that we were making things by hand. It was so exotic to see someone hunched over the potter’s wheel, and watch clay getting molded into vessels. Any handmade piece was a meaningful piece because people had a human connection to the maker.
But we feel the need to keep exploring, to delve further into the potential stories that our objects could speak. Perhaps they may serve to provide different perspectives to people who lead completely different lives from ourselves. At the same time, we are fuelled by an interest to articulate what the new Singapore craft sensibilities are and how they express our connections to other cultures through ceramics.
So we embarked on this new journey by trying to answer the question of what does it mean to actually be a maker in Singapore today. “The Pipit Road Collection” came about as a meditation on our urban dwelling lifestyles . We were well-acquainted with the principles of small living and working spaces; uninspired by temporary homes cluttered with cheap objects produced to wear out quickly; increasingly disappointed by convenient meal options; and a deep yearn for a sense of Time, Nature and Seasons. These become the guidelines in helping to orientate us in the direction that we wanted to take our work towards.
It is remarkable how much work it takes just to find a little simplicity and clarity. As Singaporeans, we are known for our love for food but not known for what nor how it comes served in. Rather than satisfy the tyranny of vessel forms, we chose to focus on exploring the design possibilities of a singular vessel - the plate. We felt that if we could come up with an iconic object that encourages the enjoyment of having a meal and some of the finer elements of life - simple nourishments, connections to the earth, and a little downtime well-taken - that would be satisfactory for us, for now.
In the last two years, we’ve sourced, tested and played around with the breadth of readily available supplies in Singapore. Combining our access to technology and experience of making things, we sought to challenge the aesthetic standards of mass commercial design. To date, we have developed 5 plate forms, subjected them to 3 glazes under a variety of glazing techniques, and have experimented over 6 firing schedules. We are quite pleased with results that we have achieved and we look forward to sharing our work at SOCA Salon Vol. II.
More an approach towards producing objects than a series of goods, we hope you will join us in experiencing “The Pipit Road Collection” at THE GLASSHOUSE @ CHIJMES this Saturday, 1st December, 9AM - 6PM. See you soon!
*The Pipit Road Collection plates will retail at SGD 60. Take SGD 5 off when you BYOB/Bubble Wrap/Carrier.