Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mould clay

From a distance I saw groups of children in the huts at the artists' colony. I made a beeline to check out what was happening there.

It was a pleasant surprise to see the kids all eyes and ears on the teacher demonstrating how to mould clay. I found out they were children from an international school out for a morning session to learn the simple art of moulding clay.

All eyes, all ears

That brought me back many years ago to my first attempts. When the childen were young, I sneaked away during afternoons to dabble in clay. I tried the free form of handbuilding . My first clay art was a spirally vase and had it glazed a dark brown. Next, I made a house with a pond and a duck in it.

Time just flew when I was at class especially when I sat at the potter's wheel. I remember patting pliable balls and centering them on the turntable. Then , my raw, untried hands tried so hard to mould the clay. Many unwieldy results, as expected - they sagged and flopped again and again. Back to square one for countless times. I enjoyed the pulling technique to achieve the cylindrical form. The other skill was to acquire an even thickness as the vase was being moulded. I knew the magic could only lay in my hands to coax beauty out of it, shape wise.

Unfortunately, I did not stay long at the art to acquire some basic decent skills. But the wonderful feeling of ' playing' with clay was some reward already. Handling the clay was also a form of therapy - a terrific destresser. As the turntable moved, my thoughts were with the clay. Nothing else seemed to matter. Always the 2 hours or so just flew.

As they kids played with the balls of clay, I could not help but liken them as the clay we adults help shape as they grow. From the bosom of mothers and fathers, so much is in their hands to mould the lives of those who spring from them. That said, teachers too are responsible in the moulding process of inculcating values .

Teaching is fun!

I left the kids with their bubbly enthusiasm and headed towards the artists each housed in their own hut. I popped in to say 'hello' to two of my friends . Work was in progress and I duly left them to some peace and quiet.

In company, they learn from one another.

A nice shape coming up

It's all in their hands and minds.

Someone loves you!

Play and learn


  1. What a neat project. What a beautiful pictures, reflecting their smiley faces. I love their creative experience, and as you said, the fact that they are moulding values, and shaping their lives. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for visiting my blog, and your kind comment.

  2. Very nice photos. It is nice to play with clay or dough. Used to make many crafts with my sons when they are younger.

  3. That looks like a lot of fun, Keats! Brings me back to my schooldays when we had to source our own clay for art class. My friends and I dug up a whole kilo of orange laterite soil instead, ha ha! Of course, when our ugly coiled pots were dried in the sun, they crumbled into piles of orange dust, because laterite is not clay! We kept adding water to the soil to keep it moist. My friend's pot was so moist that it dissolved right into the table... nothing left of it by the end of art class. Oh and our white school shirts ... what a sight! I pity the mothers of 10-year-old everywhere! I loved your post and I love how you visit the artists' colony in Wisma Kraftangan!

  4. That is lot of creativity, reduces the stress level too.
    Great post.

  5. Good morning!
    Very interestng post!

  6. I remember my attempts at clay moulding when I was younger. They weren't especially good, but you're right, there is a youthful joy in getting your hands around the soft material and moulding it to your desired shape - even if it falls down as soon as you let go. I loved the comparison and metaphor of clay-moulding to parenting, it is very true indeed that parents, teachers and society as a whole play a large part in shaping a child's personality.

  7. I remember making clay dinosaurs when I was a kid. I also made burgers and pots. Then there was Play-Doh. Though there are commercially available molds, having the kids do it on their own will enhance their creativity and craftsmanship.

  8. We are all molded and shaped by people and events of our lives. And, yes, getting our hands dirty, making something, is healing. Play on!

  9. My daughter took a pottery class and she loved it. It is not just for kids and is very therapeutic for everyone. Cute smiles here!

  10. Hi everyone, sorry for the delay in replying. Took a short break and am back.

    Doris Plaster,i'm sure the the kids had a good outing especially as class was not within the 4 walls!

    alicesg, I used to make loads of dough and it provided loads of fun for the children.

    ~Covert-Operations'78~, your story made me laugh .Such fun kids used to have and play was simple too.

    Indrani, thanks! btw , your travel stories are really interesting. I have one on Venetian masks to post soon too.

    Amin, thank you for visiting.

    Sam Liu, I just might try the odd class at the artists' colony. get the feel of the potter's wheel again and see what turns up:)

    Sashindoubutsu, such nice memories of the things you made. You're right - creativity comes from the self . Guess, for some kids ,those bought from the shops are 'starter kits'!

    Mary Aalgaard, that's true - no man is an island and influences are everywhere.

    Queni, thanks for coming by. Do drop in again.

    Rosey, clay art is therapeutic indeed.

  11. How cute! Expression is so important!and clay such a great material

  12. Certainly creative playtime for the kids who seemed to be enjoying themselves tremendously. It reminds me of playing with plasticene too.

  13. That was fun, I reckon my girl Juan Juan sure like it! Btw, who made the rose and heart shape, it's lovely!

    have a great day ahead!

  14. It's so wonderful to see kids learning how to use their hands and to be creative ... looks like they had a lot of fun !

  15. HI
    Laura in Paris, a great medium in clay indeed!

    Autumn Belle, I played with plasticene like you too. Another good stuff to just play and create :)

    Alice Law, thanks for coming by. I think the teacher who accompanied the kids made it.

    Lynda, yeah,in their hands and given the space to create, kids can surprise themselves.

  16. What a wonderful outdoor activity! Just look at the children enthusiasm. I would love to learn mould clay, too. I think it might increase your senses. Have a wonderful week, my dear :)

  17. Hi
    Rosidah Abidin, being outdoors and learning is a different experience.Do try your skill at the potter's wheel - I think you'll enjoy it. let me know when you do.
    Going to a resort for Father's Day and my son's birthday celebration.Hope you're feeling good:))

  18. An outdoor activity definitely beats the 4 walls of a classroom. I bet the kids had a great learning session.

    I've always wanted to try my hands on clay moulding. But I'm such a failure in arts and crafts, just didn't inherit the genes from my Dad.

  19. Beautiful blog. I love all the pictures you post! Clay art has to got to be, in my opinion, one of the most relaxing things to do. A year ago I had actually taken some pottery classes which was great. Unfortunately my teacher accidentally broke all my vases (and only mine, what luck). But it's just so fun. I want to get back into it again. I hope you are doing very well!

  20. Hi
    Blessed Homemaker, ha! ha! do not worry about the artistic side of it. Just enjoy playing with clay and your creation is your art!

    Amanda Krzywonski, thanks! how unfortunate your pieces were all broken. what luck!! I hope you can create some pieces when you're feeling better. Have a good day:)

  21. Children observe and pick up fast.
    And they never forget things that they learn at this young age.

  22. Hi
    Haddock, thanks for coming by. your words are so true.

  23. the kids appear to be having fun exploring their creative side!

  24. Hi
    lechua, that's right and as adults, we can encourage them.


Great to have you popping in!