Founded by Lee Huiwen and Kenneth Lau, a husband and wife team of ceramic artists, Studio Asobi’s soulful ceramics are inspired by God’s work and providence in their own lives. They craft each vessel lovingly by hand, naming each one and weaving in beautiful haikus to reflect the meaning behind their creations. Beyond making good art, Studio Asobi also supports good causes, donating 20% of its proceeds to a local charity for the homeless, as it believes in bringing joy not just to customers but also the needy in our society.
“ Asobi (遊び) ” means “ play ” in Japanese
The Kanji word “遊” also translates to “journey” in Mandarin. The naming of Studio Asobi thus embodies Huiwen and Kenneth’s desire for a playful yet spiritual journey through life. To share their love of creation and the peace they have experienced in unplugging from the busyness of everyday life, they also regularly invite participants into their cosy home studio to have fun at their introductory ceramics workshops.
Clay Workshops at Studio Asobi
In love with the beauty and complexity
Huiwen and Kenneth initially tried out ceramics purely as a hobby, but very soon fell in love with the beauty and complexity of this art form. In 2013, Huiwen took a sabbatical from her financially rewarding corporate career and after a pilgrimage of discovery in Tajimi, one of Japan’s famous pottery towns, she decided to take a big step of faith to practice ceramics full-time.
Trained in art and architecture, Kenneth has always held a special love for sculptural ceramics, and now helps to chart Studio Asobi’s artistic direction while designing homes in his day job.
Meet the founders, Huiwen & Kenneth
Hi Huiwen, bring us through the journey of Studio Asobi and how is it different from other ceramic crafter?
Since leaving a comfortable corporate career to reassess my life’s directions, I have embarked on a journey to discover what it really means to have a life well-lived.
During my sabbatical, I spent a month from winter through spring at a stay-in studio program in the old pottery town of Tajimi, Japan. As the days of one season passed into another, I sensed a soft stirring within my heart which grew stronger as I marvelled at the raw and natural beauty I was immersed in. Creating my own little pieces of art in this wonderful environment made me all the more aware of and amazed at God’s work all around me, and this is how I fell deeply in love with the art of pottery.
Nothing man-made can ever compare with the work of our Creator. Yet, I always feel something special when enjoying an object made by hand over hours of dedicated work – this warm, spiritual connection with its maker that simply transcends the physical nature of the object. It is my hope that the vessels I make can also create these same connections with those who use them. And that these clay vessels, formed from the humble ingredients of mud, water and love, can convey my renewed joy of living in this amazing and beautiful world.
Where do you draw your design inspiration from?
Did you know that there is a biblical analogy of God being the Potter while we humans are the clay? :) Our faith inspires us to look at our world with a different set of lenses and to be more keenly aware and sensitive to the natural beauty that is found around us, as well as the goodness and ideals that God had intended humans to experience. From the trees, to the birds, to flowers to mountains, everything beautiful is a source of inspiration!
What are the challenges encountered along the way?
The artistic challenge for us is to translate messages we care about into works of clay, which would not only be pretty to look at, but also be meaningful in creating an emotional connection and resonance with people. One of our most recent series, titled “Under the Skin“ is an example of how we are intentionally expressing messages through our art form.
Knowing Studio Asobi support various social causes, what inspired this movement?
At Studio Asobi, we want to go beyond making good art. We also want to explore how we can give meaningfully through our art. This is why on top of supporting various social causes such as Oxfam Trailwalker Japan and Room to Read, we are pledging 20% of our proceeds to Mercy Centre’s Trolley Ministry – an outreach serving the homeless in Singapore.
Living in this affluent city of ours, it is hard to imagine that there are still homeless people on the streets, but there are, camouflaged within the dark corners of our sanitised landscape. After joining the Trolley Ministry on one of their night “runs” to bring food and friendship to the homeless, we were deeply moved by how they went beyond addressing physical needs, focusing instead on building loving relationships with those who have no one to turn to.
Because we have been blessed with much, we believe in giving back and not turning a blind eye to the needs around us. In our small ways, we do what we can :) It is a great source of inspiration for us to know that every vessel we make and every workshop we run contains a little blessing for someone in need, and everyone who buys or participates is part of this blessing too, creating a small but special bond of hope and love among all of us.
Life feels more beautiful when shared this way!
What are some of your favorite ceramic works?
As a potter, I am grateful for every opportunity to hold these pieces of clay in my hands – formless still but each filled with potential – and lovingly mould them into something beautiful and unique, just as God formed us all out of the dust of this Earth.
We have limited edition pieces, each given a name and sometimes a haiku too, when the inspiration springs forth.
雾 ｜ MIST Handmade Bowl
文森特 | VINCENT Handmade Sake Set
鸟语花香 | NESTING Handmade Vases
亲子石 | TWO PEBBLES Handmade Bowl
Where can we view or purchase these artworks?
Mainly through our own website where people can email to enquire: Studio Asobi and also selected pieces via Batch and Beensprout. If you would like to purchase any of the items or to discuss a project or commission works, we would be happy to discuss further with you :) We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or +65-6656 3008
Lastly, any words of inspiration for our readers?
We have discovered the joy and essentiality of taking time out to think about the meaning and purpose of life. In our busy lifestyles, it is so easy to go with the flow and to consume more to fill out the emptiness within us, but there are alternative ways to live in a more fulfilling manner :)