Category Archives: Potters

DragonFire at Library@Esplanade

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; _MG_7503 - Version 2

We gave a talk, Earth, Wood & Fire: Wood firing and the Dragon Kilns in Singapore, at the Library@Esplanade during the Jubilee weekend, on the eve of National Day. All the potters came out in full force to share.

When we were planning the presentation, we didn’t want to do the usual slideshow presentation, – we wanted the audience to participate and have a hands-on experience. We decided on a round-robin format whereby the audience would move from station to station. After proposing this idea with the organisers and looking at the logistics in terms of space and layout, we had the go ahead.

We gave the round-robin presentation over the course of 1 hour. There were 3 stations, each manned by 2 or 3 potters. At Station 1, the potters gave a coiling and slab making demo; Station 2, they showed the DragonFire app, focusing on the time lapse videos and the 360 degree effects; and the potters at Station 3 with an assortment of leather-hard, bisque, wood-fired and non-wood-fired samples explained the effects of wood firing. The talk began with an introduction on the history of the ceramic industry, after which the audience would be divided into 3 groups and went to one of the stations. After 15 minutes, a bell rang and they moved to the next station. At the end (after 3 rounds), everyone assembled in the seating area again for a Question and Answer session.

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; P8084118 - Version 2

Carolyn began with a brief history of the ceramics industry in S’pore

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; IMG_9341 - Version 2

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; _MG_7431 - Version 2

Round-robin in session

Station 1 was where everyone had a hands-on demonstration on coiling and slab making.

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; _MG_7460 - Version 2

Tia & Tuan Yong showed how to hand-build a pot

Station 2 featured the dragonfire app focusing on the timelapse videos on pot making and wood firing effects.

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; _MG_7472 - Version 2

Hua Hoong and Jeannette (Dezainwerkz) brought wood firing to the library space via the DragonFire app

Station 3 highlighted the wood-fired pieces and the audience was able to touch and feel them.

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; _MG_7458 - Version 2

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; _MG_7475 - Version 2Yulianti, Hee Lai and Siew Kuan were at hand to answer queries on wood firing

Carolyn Lim: DragonFire &emdash; P8084122 - Version 2

The audience was attentive and interested in wood firing, the questions came fast and furious! A big thank you to Khoo Ee Hoon, the staff of the Esplanade and the Library@Esplanade for the opportunity to share our passion for ceramics and wood firing.

Photographs by Carolyn Lim & Chua Hee Lai


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Throwing a Pot in Twenty Seconds

I was trying out the updated iOS8 timelapse feature on the iPhone at Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln. Ng Siew Kuan was throwing a pot and here’s a video of her pot in the making!

Posted by CLim

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Packing the Dragon Kiln

In March 2014, we fired the dragon kiln. Before each firing, there’s lots of work involved especially the packing of the kiln. Each piece has to be carried into the kiln and carefully arranged to catch the passing flame. Packing the kiln is hard work! Packing the kiln is an art!

Watch this time-lapse of the packing process.


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A New Lease of Life for the Dragon Kilns

Great news over the weekend! The dragon kilns at Jurong are given a new lease of life! At the press conference on Saturday, the National Heritage Board announced that the lease for both Thow Kwang and Guan Huat dragon kilns  will be extended for three years with the possibility of renewal for another two terms.

Mr Alvin Tan, Group Director (Policy) of the NHB, spoke of the heritage & artistic value of the dragon kilns at the press conference

Mr Tan Teck Yoke of Thow Kwang interviewed by the media

For the past two years, the fate of Thow Kwang dragon kiln has been uncertain. The development of the CleanTech Park next door has been fast and furious, and week by week we saw its encroachment evidenced by the diminishing lush green that surrounds the kiln.

This move by the National by Heritage Board is a recognition of the heritage value of Singapore’s last remaining dragon kilns. The lease renewal will definitely spark new creativity and life, as now Thow Kwang is able to make long-term plans to conduct more  community arts programmes.

Posted by Carolyn Lim


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Potters in Motion



What do you get when 10 clay artists are given 10 thrown pots and 3 hours?

Lots of fun and 10 clay handbuilt pieces!

This 2-minute timelapse shows 10 clay artists at Thow Kwang playing round robin with 10 clay pieces! Essentially, each potter works on a pot for 15 minutes, then they all rotate to the next pot, resulting in a truly collaborative project! The pieces will be fired at the next wood firing.

Posted by Carolyn Lim

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2010 Retrospective I

Happy New Year to all our friends!

As we look forward to more great happenings at Thow Kwang in 2011, we pause a moment to take a look at the highlights of 2010.

April: Busy Potters
Clay Artists created new pieces for another wood-firing!

April: Sketchers at Dragon Kiln
A group of Urban Sketchers visited Thow Kwang and penciled/inked their impressions of the place.

May: Dragon Kiln Firing
The wood-firing was held on the Vesak weekend of 28 -29th May.  Lifestyle celebrity Martha Stewart joined us for the firing and lit the first flame with Mr and Mrs Tan. That evening, there was a huge turnout to watch the firing and everyone pitched in to help and had a great night-out.

June: Wood-Fired Pots
The unique and varied outcomes from the wood-ash-salt firing.

Click here to view a gallery of our wood-fired pieces.

June: Create! Ikebana and our Wood-Fired Pots
Ikebana expert Linda Nederkoorn showed us how we can combine the delicate and simple form of Japanese flower arrangements with our wood-fired pieces.

Read 2010 Retrospective Part II here.

Posted by Clim

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The Firing Continues

At around midnight, the fire in the firebox was blazing at 1,100 degrees Celsius.. The fire was well maintained and we hit the target temperature in the firebox after 15 hours of firing.

The stoke holes in the firebox were bricked up and the firing moved to the side stoke-holes.

This is always an interesting part of the firing as we can finally take a peek into the kiln and see the liquid flames dancing and swirling around our pieces.

Although the flames looked hot and fiery, the temperature was not able to reach 1,200 degree Celsius in the first two chambers. The firers had it tough.

When dawn broke, the firing stagnated at the first two chambers. The firers had no choice but to move on to the third, fourth and fifth chambers.

After 33 hours, firing ended at around 6pm on Saturday evening. How will our pieces turn out? No one knows. All we can do is to wait and hope for the best. Right now, all we need were a shower and sleep!

Posted by CLim


Filed under Dragon Kiln, Potters