Staying safe at home is a privilege that I continue to count as a blessing during these trying times. But when reading books, journaling, painting by numbers, or cooking have become exhausted means of passing time, you're bound to look for more ways to amuse yourself. And in my pursuit to find new things to do, Instagram's explore tab has become my window to the outside world.
I came across Mess We Made Euljiro and noticed in their bio that they actually have a branch in Manila! With an impressive and adorable feed that boasts of pastel-perfect plates and ceramic pieces, I fell in love! Online, I met Sunshine Arcilla who brought the South Korean ceramics class to Manila. She tells Preview that her love for ceramics and pottery came from her personal tradition of getting "one or two ceramic item as a souvenir from every trip." She adds that these dinnerware pieces that she's collected over the years became constant reminders of her trips every time she used them.
Sunshine shared that in a trip to South Korea, she discovered the pottery class that became a staple in her succeeding returns to the Seoul. It was because of her frequent class bookings that she got to befriend Mess We Made studio owners Choi Soo Jee and Chun Su Man. Eventually, it led to her bringing the joy she found in her Seoul classes to Manila. Sunshine says that the concept behind her ceramics studio is hinged on "creating fascinating and functional ceramic ware that presents the creativity and character of the maker."
Naturally, I had to try the class! I originally planned to book a private class in their studio in Alabang, but when the COVID-19 cases started to rise again, we opted to postpone the visit. Good thing that Sunshine launched a home kit version of her ceramics class! I bought four kits and spent the afternoon creating ceramics with my loved ones at home. Here's how it went:
What's inside the kit?
Mess We Made Manila's Picnic Home Kit costs P2800. Inside, you'll find your instruction packet with some stickers, color chips for reference, and return card (for when you're ready to mail back your pieces). There's also cloth, sponge, wooden tool to shape your clay, and seven globs of colored clay.
How does it work?
After you've completed your order online and have already received your kits, Sunshine schedules classes via Instagram live where you can follow along and watch her how she does it. But if you're not able to catch the live classes, some of her basic how-tos can be found on YouTube. It's easy to grasp the basic techniques but it does have a bit of a learning curve when you're turning your visions into reality. I suggest you start with simple shapes (like a flat, round plate) and once you've gotten the hang of it, you can try your hand in making more complex pieces.
You also need to work fast since the colored clay turns into a white, chalky hue as it gets into contact with air. It'll be hard for your to mix colors and create shapes once they start to lose moisture! Once you're happy with your work, it's time for the clay to rest and dry.
The kit recommends that you dry out your pieces in a cool, dry place before shipping them out or dropping them off at their studio for firing. Each kit will allow you a maximum of four slots in the kiln so be sure to send in your best pieces!
They will send you back your pieces once they are out of the kiln, Mess We Made Manila will ship it back to you! So convenient!
Is it worth it?
For one whole afternoon spent molding clay and expressng creativity, I'd say it's a 10 out of 10! It's a great bonding activity to do with your loved ones or for some quiet me time should you need a breather. There's excitement as you anticipate how the colors your mix turned out and there's thrill, wondering if your shapes survived the kiln! All in all, it's a fun experience, and you even get to make functional pieces for your home!
You can book your classes and buy your "Picnic Home Kits" at messwemademanila.com.