With the pandemic and the endless lockdowns (hello, ECQ!), it's no wonder that people are looking for more outlets to express their creativity and relieve stress. One particular art form that many—including local celebrities—have picked up as a new hobby is pottery.
Their go-to place? Wabi Sabi, a local brand that produces hand-crafted ceramic ware and trinkets, and offers pottery classes.
Borne out of hobby, Wabi Sabi was created by sisters Gabi and Pau Javier, who tried pottery "just for fun." Pau, who is a producer by day, initially did pottery to "de-stress," but eventually "fell in love" with it.
When COVID happened, they had to stop going to the studio they were taking classes from. So, the siblings practiced on their own and found a quaint spot in San Juan for their own studio.
"My sister got creative with it. She started working from home, started building clay at home. And then eventually, we thought of the idea of putting up a studio initially for personal use lang namin," Pau told PhilSTAR L!fe.
At first, the sisters only created and sold pieces online—which, by the way, sold out in just 10 minutes upon the launch of their first collection.
But later on, potential students started inquiring about classes. And so in August 2020, they opened their doors to their family, and later to the public "when [they] felt somewhat competent enough to teach or open the studio for workshops."
"We've always wanted to be part of keeping the tradition of ceramic making alive," they wrote on Instagram. "The process of pottery has evolved, but the core is almost the same as it was thousands of years ago. It has always been a slow art and it's amazing to see it appreciated during an era of speed and modernity," they continued.
Since then, guests have been visiting their studio in San Juan to take up their workshops, and even celebrities are channeling their creativity into visual art. Pau also believes that because of the lockdown, there is "always a need for people to try new things."
"I think we're also in a time that the interest in art is growing collectively," the young producer told PhilSTAR L!fe. "[Pottery] is more available now, compared to years back," she added.
Frequent visitors like Lauren Reid and boyfriend Gab Banal have credited Wabi Sabi for making their "potter dreams come to life."
"It's not an overstatement to say that I'm in looOooOve with this craft. From learning, to the failing, to the achievement of making your own functional art," wrote Reid, posing with her 6-piece mug series.
Kathryn Bernardo, who was invited by her friend Ria Atayde back in February, went to "tick this off of my bucket list" and said she "wouldn't mind doing it again."
Others who were spotted to visit the place were Mimiyuuuh, Jennylyn Mercado, Dennis Trillo, Champ Lui Pio, Dimples Romana, and Bea Alonzo, who even vlogged her own experience.
"[Pottery] grounds everyone together. Your focus is on the craft. So, it's all about the practice so whether you're celebrity or not," Pau shared. "I think the celebrities have helped us also in having people get an interest," she added.
For first timers, Pau advices them to just practice and educate yourself about the art.
"I think practice is always good in anything that you do. The first step to learning a new craft is getting into a class or reading about it or researching about it," Pau said. "You always have to take that first step, that first initiative so you can like, see if a certain craft is your thing, or if it's something that you likely want to pursue."
And the secret is to trust your inner instincts and keep creating.
"I always told people to always believe in their first idea. We're not sure if it's something that's going to be a hit, but your first idea is usually the core of your artistic gut," she explained.
"I would encourage people to just keep trying and keep practicing and keep creating."
Wabi Sabi offers three kinds of workshops: A 1-day Pottery Workshop Crash Course (P4,400/pax) that focuses on wheel throwing; a 3-day Full Course (P10,600/pax) where you will learn the complete process of making ceramic ware; and the Wabi Sabi at Home Virtual Class (P4,500) which comes with a clay kit.
Read here to learn more about their different offerings.
Photos from Wabi Sabi's Instagram