Friday, November 3, 2017

Go Local :: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle & Dragon Kiln

In the midst of the year-end exam madness, Lil Pumpkin took a break and attended her classmate's birthday party at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle on a Sunday afternoon.

What a unique venue for a birthday party!! Not your typical indoor-playground-kids-go-berserk party venue, which Lil Pumpkin loves no doubt, but this was a place that I've been wanting to go to myself for a loooooong time!!

However, it is at a far end of Singapore for us i.e. very ulu and inconvenient to get to, and lazy me being me, I've been putting it off until now... so so glad that we had a good nudge to head down and explore a bit!

I think I have a love-to-party face, which isn't exactly wrong since I do love parties, so I always get thrown into party-planning at work or for friends' gatherings.. but honestly, there's a difference between party-attending, and party-planning. I hate party-planning.

Too much effort, coordination and time required. And most of the time, you can't even appreciate the party you meticulously took to plan as well as you've to make sure it runs smoothly!! Geez.. I'd rather just show up and enjoy the party as a guest haha..

Looking back, I think the only parties I willingly planned was for our wedding, and for Lil Pumpkin's manyue party and her 2nd birthday. Even then, her parties were kept small for only close family and friends, and I have no idea how I managed to pull off organising our wedding celebration held over 2 days with around 250 guests, and even some coming in from overseas.

Knowing the amount of work that goes into party-planning, I'm always grateful to the parents of kids' whose amazing parties Lil Pumpkin gets to attend, no matter they be small & intimate, or big & extravagant.

This recent party she attended tops my personal fave list though as it incorporated a bit of Singapore heritage / culture into it.. something you know I hold dear in my heart and hope Lil Pumpkin can experience more of.

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle {aka TK Pottery} is a family pottery business and where you can find one of Singapore's oldest "dragon kiln" that was built in the 1940s. There are only 2 dragon kilns left in Singapore, with the other one being in Jalan Bahar Clay Studios {near TK Pottery}.

Dragon kilns are made of bricks and take up large spaces. TK Pottery's 36m long dragon kiln is about 2m wide and can hold up to 5,000 ceramic pieces. Wood is used to fire the kiln from various openings {known as the dragon's "eyes"} and it's only fired when there are about 3,000 clay pieces.

Therefore, its dragon kiln is only fired up 3-4 times a year after amassing enough pieces from its weekly workshops or from the public {yes, you can bring in your own pieces to fire too!} and outsiders can also take a look at how the labour-intensive process is done too.

FYI, the firing process requires the dragon kiln to be kept lit for 24 hours at a constant temperature of 1,260℃!!

TK Pottery offers regular programs and workshops for kids and adults in one of their 4 studios that includes materials, glazing and firing.

From their website, I see that a 2-hr workshop costs S$48/adult, S$38/child {7-14 years old} and S$65/parent + child {below 6 years old}.

The birthday party was held in one of their studios which was a second-floor loft. Pretty cooling, cozy, and kampong-ish hehe...

I'm not sure if the balloons were brought in by the parents of the birthday kid or provided by TK Pottery for their party package, but it certainly made the otherwise dull atmosphere more cheerful and kids-friendly. 

It was a drop-off party and apparently TK Pottery charged the party by head so if parents wanted to sit-in, they had to pay additional charges to join the pottery party workshop...

Not that we wanted to, really haha. The boy and I are happy to drop Lil Pumpkin off to play with her friends while we had a little me-time to ourselves (*≧▽≦) Lil Pumpkin likes it that way too heh.. We can always come back another time to join a pottery workshop.

At the beginning of the party, the kids went for a little educational tour at the dragon kiln to learn more about its history and how it functions. I'm sure they were all very excited to know that their precious DIY clay pieces would be fired up in there too!

One thing I notice about Lil Pumpkin's parties nowadays, especially with her classmates, is that it's mainly organised via Whatsapp groups. I have my fair share of apprehension regarding Whatsapp groups {see my tongue-in-cheek list of 10 Types of Parents You Meet in Whatsapp Groups} but they are no doubt very useful too.

Throughout the party, the host mum sent us photos and updated us on the party going-ons so that it seemed like we were there with the kiddos too..

Apparently there was one workshop instructor who taught the kids how to mould the clay to make a fish {??} holder and they got to decorate and paint it themselves.

I can't wait to see Lil Pumpkin's finished pottery product! The first one she has ever made!! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Other than hosting pottery workshops and classes, TK Pottery also sells a large variety of ceramic items that are decently priced.

There are aisles & aisles and shelves & shelves of pots, plates, cups, mugs, vases, jars, bowls etc. and it will take probably a whole day to look through everything! As it was really hot that afternoon and the boy and I wanted to do groceries while Lil Pumpkin was at the party, I just had a quick walk-through but I definitely want to be back again to pick up some stuff... and maybe do a little Christmas shopping too hehe.

The next dragon kiln firing is on Sat 11 Nov 2017, 9am and there are free guided tours at 1pm & 5pm {no reservations required}. We might try to head back there that day.

TK Pottery is collaborating with the famous pottery artist, Ros Lee, of Polkaroos fame. If you like her work, you can shop for some of her goods there or even attend one of her workshops.

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle
85 Lorong Waras
Open daily 9am - 5pm {except Chinese New Year}
Tel: 6268 6121

Other Singapore heritage places:

*Note: This is not a sponsored or paid advertorial. All opinions are my own.


Unknown said...

I've often wondered what's at this place whenever I drive past it. Now I know! ...and what an interesting place it is! Pottery is such a wonderful art / craft form to learn and experience. Best of all the whole family can be involved and bring their pottery home. How nice! Thanks for sharing! Will KIV this place for the future.

Theresa Mahoney said...

What a fun and unique party idea! Oh, how I wish we had something like this here. Now that I am getting older, I much prefer to attend parties than plan them. I used to love it when my girls were small, but it really is a lot of work and you don't ever enjoy it as much as the guests.

Madeline Heng said...

Looks so fun!

An Apel a Day said...

This looks like such a wonderful place to visit. I love pottery!

KarMie's blog said...

I'm with you on the party planning... I rather attend, enjoy, eat, mingle, eat again n again n again n not have to worry about the before/during/after party stress!

Sounds like a nice party the kids had minus their "annoying" parents !!!
Did the place provide food as well? Sounds like a stress free fun party!

Jamie chaw

--andy-- said...

What a unique venue to host a birthday, so much novelty :)
Besides birthday party celebration, kids get to learn about pottery and the "dragon" too.

cheers, Andy

Shub said...

Seriously didn't know about this beauty at all...Would love to explore this place...

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

That looks like a lovely place to visit! We have similar place in Jogjakarta, Indonesia and I love it!