Pottery field trips in The Philippines is not only about going on a road trip with students and eating local food. It’s also meeting, the Potters themselves, who continue to form clay between their hands until today. They have established themselves, their family and their business, following their passion in clay.
My passion for handmade Ceramics started in 2002. Just like any curious student, I looked for a place where I could get my hands all dirty with clay. Luckily, the Masters in Ceramics in The Philippines (Jon Pettyjohn and Lanelle Abueva), had pottery studios, where classes in Hand Building and Wheel Throwing were offered. Pottery Exchange just opened in the new Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City in the same year. Personally, it was the best time in the area. There were no tall buildings yet, and we had the freedom to park anywhere. At the corner of the lifestyle section was Benjie Reyes’ furniture store, which I loved visiting as well.
Lanelle opened a pottery studio with her friends. Lydia Paredes, who was a part owner of Pottery Exchange, became one of my teachers as well. It was cool seeing them gather around the long table and working on their handmade creations. I remember having my first experience with slab making and pinching. I was able to keep some of my pots from their studio. It feels good to see where this freely-given skill of mine has reached. Thanks to my teachers and mentors, who patiently teach the craft to those who are willing to sink their hands into soft clay. I try my very best, to pass on, what you have taught me, to my students today at Clay Ave Pottery Studio.
After touring, the unbelievably beautiful, Pinto Museum, we headed to Lanelle Abueva’s Crescent Moon Café, Antipolo City’s pride in Ceramics.
As a kid, Lanelle grew up beside the sculpture studio of his Uncle, Napoleon Abueva, one of Philippines’ National Artists in the U.P. compound. Every summer, there were clay workshops. She also apprenticed under a Japanese Master Potter in 1977-1980. She studied the craft more in 1980-1981 at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities.
With all her skill and knowledge, she created her dreams, and continues to create her future goals, one pot at a time. A widow and having two girls to raise on her own, I admire her perseverance in experiencing the failure and success in creating functional pottery. I can only imagine, the amount of challenges, a Potter has to go through in such a tough time, when losing one’s spouse.
Let us take a glimpse of what Crescent Moon Café has been creating lately out of handmade, stoneware, clay.