From The Straits Times    |

Looking simply to disconnect while on leave and desperate for some respite? Contributing writer Sandhya Mahadevan shares what an introductory session to pottery is like, booked via Seek Sophie, an online portal that curates unique local tourism experiences.

I’d been noticing that I was surrounded by hobbyist potters – some even renovated their homes to include a firing kiln – and not to mention, pottery studios. I wasn’t sure if it was FOMO or a desperate wish to belong, but I’d been wanting to get into it myself. First, though, I had to figure out if I had the aptitude for it. I needed a place that would allow me to get into it without fazing me with daunting rules on basics.

Mind over body connection at play – a therapeutic experience.

Dirty Hands Only ticks the box in that respect. It’s an intimate space – it’s really just a room with a solid teak table and two benches. But what catches the eye is how quaintly it is decorated – chalkboards with messages in funky fonts, empty organic wine bottles and, of course, pottery. A few throwing wheels sit nonchalantly on the floor alongside tiny stools, and bags of white and red clay. It’s welcoming – you are among friends; no one is judging you.

Owner Tiffany Chua is a great hands-on teacher who will guide you every step of the way if you need. Compact pottery wheels lines the wall on one side of the cosy studio.

The session ($85 for two-and-a-half hours) started with some hand building. I made a mental note of the shape I was going for, but what I realised was that there needed to be this immense hand-and-mind dialogue to get there – coil by coil. It ultimately didn’t look anything like I’d intended, but there was a dialogue for that too. It’s mindfulness at its best.

The session ended with me throwing a cup on the wheel. This was where control and coordination met at a halfway point, between your hands and the wheel, under the gentle guidance of Tiffany Chua, founder of Dirty Hands Only. This one was a bit more free-flow, and I was happy where it led me. As Tiffany said at the beginning of the class: “Just go with the flow, don’t think too much about it.”

Hand-building an aroma burner coil by coil. The trick is to narrow the circumference as you go up.

I can see myself planning a pottery day out with friends here, or just to get my hands dirty creatively. The best part for me was that the result didn’t matter – no competition or personal judgement, just that feeling of being in an individual space of happy happenstance.

Dirty Hands Only, #01-47, 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, tel: 9272-4123

This article first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Her World.