Author’s Blurb: I did pottery in college overseas occasionally, and although it wasn’t easy, it was therapeutic and great for destressing. My only complaint was that I had to walk all the way to the studio even in freezing cold weather just to do it.
Because of how messy the process can get, it’s understandable why you’d have to go to a clay studio when working on clay.
On top of that, you’d need a pottery wheel to get a uniform shape as well as a kiln to dry it and make it food-safe.
However, two sisters, Juin and Wen, felt that clay-modelling should be a lot more accessible for anyone to enjoy making clay art in the comfort of their homes.
Keeping Hands Busy During Lockdowns
Though the sisters have no background in pottery-making, they’ve always enjoyed working on arts and crafts projects as a family.
Juin is also a designer, so she had her fair share of clay-modelling back when she was still in design school.
“Recently, I’ve noticed that many people in other countries have been working on clay projects at home during the lockdown as a new creative venture or a way to destress,” Juin shared with Vulcan Post.
“I figured that many keen pottery lovers might be itching to work on clay projects and aren’t able to as many local pottery studios are closed during the lockdown.”
Hence, the idea of curating a clay kit with all the basic tools one would need came to mind, which led to them starting Clayground.
They started with a soft launch on Valentine’s Day in 2021 to test the market by branding their kits as a fun activity that couples could do at home together.
To their surprise, they sold out within the first week. Hence, they figured that their clay kits would also be great for birthday and anniversary gifts, bridal showers, corporate team-building activities, and more.
No Pottery Wheel Or Kiln Involved
Currently, they have 2 types of kits, the basic and the party kit priced at RM80 and RM100 respectively.
The basic kit is suitable for 1 to 2 persons whereas the party kit is suitable for 1 to 3 persons. Each kit contains a pack of clay (two packs for the party kit) along with all the tools, paints, sealant, sandpaper and beginner-friendly instruction guide required for users.
They also sell individual clay packs for users who already have all the tools and just need to top up on clay.
However, they do not give you a mini pottery wheel or a firing tool as their clay can be air-dried in 24 hours.
“Air-dried clay is actually nothing new to the pottery world and is often used in schools for art projects,” Juin explained.
While that saves users from getting a kiln and pottery wheel to aid their clay-modelling experience, the drawback is that the final clay products are not 100% waterproof, which means they aren’t food-safe.
Hence, if you’d like your clay made with their kits to be used for drinking or eating, the final product would need to be fired in a kiln at around 1,200°C.
More Suitable To Be Used As Home Decor
That being said, Juin explained, “We recommend that the clay be used to create home decor pieces and sculptures as opposed to kitchenware like cups and plates.”
Since most of us are unlikely to have a pottery wheel sitting around at home, it’s practically impossible to make kitchenware for ourselves as well.
However, the sisters are looking at the possibility of bringing in mini portable pottery wheels in the future.
When they started this business, they didn’t have a target market in mind, as they see clay-modelling as an activity that’s suitable for all ages.
“Working with clay is a multi-sensory activity that not only helps to develop fine-motor skills, but is also a great stress reliever,” Juin said.
Catering To International Demand
Currently, one of their main challenges is shipping their products to customers overseas.
“Liquid items such as the paint and sealant in our kits are considered prohibited items that are banned by most international couriers,” Juin shared with Vulcan Post.
Moreover, because they launched during the lockdown, they’re relying solely on their online presence to build a customer base, and haven’t had the chance to join local bazaars which they believe would add to their brand awareness.
Inventory management has also gotten harder for them over time, as they’re trying to cope with the increase in demand within their small space at home.
However, once pottery studios reopen, they’re hoping to collaborate with those around Malaysia that are willing to offer kiln firing services to their customers who want to fire their clay creations.
Additionally, they’re also looking to host live workshops or zoom parties for pottery lovers to connect and play with clay together.
Bottom Line: Their no-fuss products and process appeal to me, seeing how much I disliked walking to and from the pottery studio back then. To add, I feel like clay-modelling for pottery is a little overrated, so having fun with it in other ways can be refreshing for clay enthusiasts.
Featured Image Credit: Juin and Wen, founders of Clayground