Despite being a self-proclaimed ceramics-lover, I only recently visited Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle, home to the last of two dragon kilns in Singapore. This behemoth kiln contains three main parts: a front firing chamber, the main chamber where ceramic pieces to be fired are placed, and a chimney at the tail end where smoke is emitted. When it is lit, the kiln resembles an fire-breathing dragon!
The kiln’s business thrived in the seventies, but as the demand of pots, vases, cups, and other such wares slowed down, the dragon kiln closed down in the late nineties. In 2003, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) financed the restoration of the kiln, and the site was refurbished. Today, the complex is home to a one-stop shop for ceramic pots, lamps, tableware, and more. The kiln is also now at the center of a revival in ceramic art on the island.
We spent the afternoon wandering around the lush and spacious grounds, admiring shelves of locally-made ceramics and items imported from elsewhere in Southeast and East Asia, and purchasing gifts for family and friends in the United States, including a set of hand-painted chopsticks. A number of artists were hard at work during our visit, building works with slabs or painting with clay slip. Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle also offers pottery classes for children as young as four, and I hope to introduce The Preschooler to one of my favorite arts here when she is of age.