Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Aw Pottery, Ayer Hitam, Johor

BACK IN those days when I used to teach in Johor, trailing along the Johor's leg of the North-South highway felt like a chore - that particular stretch of road takes about 2-2.5 hours to reach from end-to-end (North-most point of Johor to South-most point, vice versa) and the terrain around it, let's just say it is somewhat monotonous, or maybe because I trudge that stretch of the highway way too often, it feels somewhat...too familiar.

And thus began my search for interesting places to stopover during my drive down South to Johor/up North when leaving Johor.  

One of my favourite stopovers is at Ayer Hitam, a quaint little town located just about an hour's drive from Johor Bahru, conveniently right off the exit of North-South Highway. Ayer Hitam is also known as the ceramic town of Malaysia, due to the prolific number of ceramic factories there. Yes, you could purchase pretty and affordable ceramic products at this quaint little town!

One place you definitely shouldn't miss in Ayer Hitam is Aw Pottery. Aw Pottery is a pottery studio founded by the late Mr Aw Eng-Kwang, a renowned potter/sculptor, back in the late-1940.  Some of Mr Aw's handcrafted masterpieces are on display at our National Museum as well as the Singapore National Gallery

Mr Aw was an immigrant from the Teochew province in China. He started off making latex cup after he's settled down in Malaysia, following the latex boom back in those days, and later (somehow, somewhat, I'm not too sure about the details) developed into an art center. His talent was recognised after he joined the First Sculpture Exhibition in Singapore in 1967, as the popularity of Aw's Pottery began to soar.

In 1980, Mr Aw and his wife decided to retire in United States, and they've since passed on. Aw Pottery's faded to a dormant stage after his passing until Aw Lee Lang, the youngest daughter of Mr Aw decided to return to Malaysia in 2013 to revive Aw's Pottery. She gave the studio a major facelift and the place is now refreshed with a new look and renewed energy. 
Aw Pottery is now open for visitors and is free to visit :) So when you're there, do take time to walk around the compound and appreciate the little things around it, especially the garden. Slow down and admire the plants propped in beautifully crafted pots. Pay attention to each of their unique characteristics and intrinsic details.

When I was doing my research about Aw's Pottery, one comment that was frequently left by visitors is to visit their toilet...now you might be like me, wondering what good is there visiting a toilet? I mean, how great can a toilet be? Perhaps it'll be something like Japan? Maybe?

My jaws dropped when I saw the toilet.

Trust me, you'll never see a toilet like this anywhere.
The toilet was...absolutely stunning. Gorgeous.

I was blown away by the intricate detailing of the walls, which features fragments of ceramic pieces
Walk into the toilets and wow, I was blown away. The walls, flooring, bench....everything. Was just so intricately put together.
I am absolutely NOT a toilet selfie person, but I really couldn't help it
And another one outside. Just look at that healthy & bushy Pegaga (Pennywort) plant there!
Visitors are encouraged to leave a donation for the upkeep & maintenance of the toilet.

There's also a mini museum you could visit, featuring some of the works of the late Mr Aw
Aw's Pottery sells an array of porcelain products - from flower pots, decorative ornaments, kitchenware, candlelight holder...to anything you can imagine!
I had so much fun scouring through the compound! It felt as though I was in a treasure island :p

I could spend an entire afternoon there, scouring for pots. Everything was unique and affordable :)
Also, you may visit their kiln, which is a chamber used to bake ceramics/pottery. Apparently, this is one of the longest kilns in the world. Kilns are slowly going extinct as ceramic-making methods are slowly being replaced with more modern techniques.

Aw Pottery do offer pottery classes and workshops, or group tours too. The arrangement has to be made in advanced

Aw Pottery Studio
13 Kampung Macap

Contact Number: 07-754 1476
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Artist/Aw-pottery-Malaysia-305346809640382/
Website: https://www.awpotterystudio.net/

Operating Hours:
8.30am-5pm, Friday to Tuesday
Closed on Wednesdays & Thursdays

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