All fired up: Visitors (above) check out the clay works that have been fired at the newly opened Jalan Bahar Dragon Kiln. The new enclosed space is now dedicated to affordable ceramics for the Singapore pottery community and a place where interested people can view and buy works in a rustic, casual and non-intimidating environment. – PHOTO: JALAN BAHAR GALLERY
POTTERY fans now have a new gallery space dedicated to ceramic arts to browse and buy. Just as the Jalan Bahar art community just received a new “breath of fire” recently with the Dragon Kiln being fired up in its entirety – the first time in 40 years – the resident potters there have now pooled their talents to refurbish their gallery space.
“The brief was basically – no money!” recounts Kathryn Kng, one of the 17 artists who rent studio space at Jalan Bahar from Focus Ceramics which owns the lease to the space.
Ms Kng took the responsibility of designing the gallery – being one of Singapore’s noted interior designers who designed The Metropolitan in Bangkok, part of the Singapore-owned Como hotel chain. Ms Kng had studied under Singapore’s master potter Iskandar Jalil in 2006 for about three years, before she returned last October when a space opened up.
The potters had been discussing the need for a new gallery, but recognised that it was hard to maintain as they weren’t full-time artists. Ms Kng shares that she took up the design challenge, “Just because I had the knowledge to deal with the technicalities of making it work, using and recycling whatever furniture there was in the existing shed, making a secure space for the exhibits, creating the ambience and planning the application, communicating the construction and concept directly with the carpenter, who is another one of our resident potters,” she says.