Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Participating in Awaken The Dragon Project

Dragon kiln in Singapore. Taken in Nov 2012.

Thanks to Facebook, I was somehow notified by my friends about this project called "Awaken the Dragon". Awaken the Dragon is "a community art project surrounding the last two remaining Dragon Kilns in Singapore".

Wait a moment. Were you surprised to know that there are dragon kilns in Singapore? What is a dragon kiln?

These questions were addressed when I decided to make my way to a relatively unfamiliar part of Singapore recently to take part in one of the Dragon workshops. I found my way to Focus Ceramics, near Jalan Bahar, along Lorong Tawas. As I was not familiar with the locality, I decided it would be a good idea to hire a taxi from the nearest MRT station, i.e. Boon Lay MRT station.

The workshop where the dragon kiln was located. Who will know its future?

Before the workshop, I found myself greeted with the privilege of witnessing a firing taking place at the dragon kiln at 97L Lorong Tawas. Although it was not my first time witnessing a firing taking place at a dragon kiln, I was still nevertheless intrigued by the process. I have no idea how the dragon kiln was conceived and built, yet I thought to myself, it must have been quite an awesome technology.

A glimpse of the dragon kiln has made my visit to Lorong Tawas worthwhile.

Soon, I met up with the wonderful facilitator of the workshop and the other keen participants. Just before the workshop, we were given a tour of the workshop and have had a glimpse of the dragon kiln. This was possible because the workshop was held at Lorong Tawas where the dragon kiln is located. I felt grateful for the opportunity to see the dragon kiln once again. The vicinity has changed dramatically since my previous visit to Lorong Tawas slightly more than a year ago! The nearby forested jungle was being cleared to build an eco-garden.

Changes to the landscape of Lorong Tawas.
Forested jungle was being cleared to build an eco-garden.

At the workshop, we were given an introduction about the history of Singapore's Dragon Kilns and ceramics. I learnt that the pieces of wood used in the wood-firing at the dragon kiln here were carbon-neutral. These pieces of wood were collected from furniture-making workshops.

After the enlightening introduction, each of us participants were given clay to sculpt a piece of work. Our facilitator shared with us some simple tips on how to sculpt the clay. Each of our work will subsequently be fired in the Dragon Kiln during the three-day festival in Jan 2013. After which, I heard that the our works will be featured in the Awaken the Dragon exhibition at various venues in Singapore. The workshop was about no more than two hours in duration. The fee was reasonable at $15 per participant.

The work by the facilitator. I think there's something Zen about it.

My humble work made from clay.

It was therapeutic to work on the clay and attempt to sculpt it. The beauty of clay is that if I do not like what I had created, I could simply destroy it and create another work. At the end of the workshop, I felt I had given myself some time to exercise my creativity. This somehow gave me a sense of accomplishment.

The work by one of my friends.

Whether it is for the novelty of making a piece of art out of clay, to learn more about the dragon kilns in Singapore or to simply give some time to exercise your creativity, you may find it meaningful to learn more about the Awaken the Dragon project here: http://awakenthedragonkiln.wordpress.com/about/

Do check out its Facebook page too for more updates: https://www.facebook.com/Awakenthedragonkiln

Works by one of the participants.

In the meantime, I look forward to the Awaken the Dragon festival that will take place from 14 Jan to 21 Jan 2013.

Details of the workshops are available here: http://awakenthedragonkiln.wordpress.com/workshops

Other related articles that you may be interested in:

Dragons in Singapore by Lim Chey Cheng
The last dragons of Jurong by Jerome Lim
Into the belly of the Dragon by Jerome Lim
Jalan Bahar Dragon Kiln by Remember Singapore
A visit to the Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln Firing event 2011
A Visit To The Firing Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln by Victor Koo
Dragon Kiln & Pottery Jungle by Joanne
NLS Resource Guides - Chinese kilns
Demise of a Dragon Kiln by Juliana P Lim


oceanskies79 said...

The upcoming Awaken the Dragon public workshop will be on 24 Nov 2012 (Sat), 10 a.m. - 1 2 p.m. at Anchorvale CC (Seng Kang area). In English. The best part is that your work will be fired in one of the surviving dragon kilns in Singapore next January!

To register, please visit this link.

Juliana Lim said...

We lost the 50m Sam Mui Kuang dragon kiln located in Jalan Hwi Yoh in the early 80s. Let's hope that the kilns in Jalan Bahar survive long enough for the dragon to be re-awakened again in 2024! julianalim.wordpress.com

oceanskies79 said...

Yes, Juliana, I hope the kilns will be around during my grandchildren's time! I think they will find it meaningful to see it.