If anyone’s the queen of collecting clay earrings, it’s probably me. No, seriously, I spent the entire circuit breaker curating my clay earring collection to perfection; it’s almost cause for alarm. As I trot furiously and purposefully down the chain of craft workshops to experience in Singapore, it’s a no-brainer that clay earring making has to be on the list. Enter Hands On Klay, a clay making studio that specialises in bringing the creation experience to craft crazies like myself.
Conveniently situated right next to Bugis+ Mall, Hands On Klay’s studio beckons anyone looking for cute date ideas, corporate team bonding, and even bachelorette parties. Tonight, I face off my deepest pleasure and innermost foe (mostly because of the sheer amount of money I spend on earrings).
Sam, owner and instructor of Hands On Klay, runs the studio alongside her husband’s support, for which she left her full-time job as a flight attendant with Singapore Airlines. Her disposition is warm, charming, and jovial all at once, already putting us at ease as we gear ourselves up for a night of clay making.
But first, we condition
Using just the warmth from her hands, Sam rolls a ball of clay to remove any air bubbles that may be trapped within and even out the clay’s consistency. The clay ball is then, in Sam’s words, “roti prata”-ed on the board before her, but not before using a thickness marker to guide her as she rolls out and flattens the clay into a delicious—I mean—smooth clay slab. We’re keeping to two inches of thickness today (ignoring every possible innuendo that comes to mind); roll your clay too thin, and it might tear, too thick, and it won’t fit through the binding hoop later on in the process.
Getting down to business
Once the clay’s ready to be worked with, it’s time to choose our shape. I know, it’s so tough to pick just one, and you’d think by now, I’ve had just about any earring shape fathomable already in my collection. Still, like picking your favourite child, the decision doesn’t get any easier with time. (And for those of you still stumped over the answer to this question, yes, it is your sibling, and no, you’re not imagining things.)
I decide on the trapezium-shaped cutter, markedly satisfied that it’ll provide just enough surface area to accommodate my million and one design ideas. Sam teaches us techniques such as terrazzo patterns, made by hand-pinching or cutting strips of irregularly-shaped chips and piecing them together, and creating flowers by arranging tiny, intricate clay balls and then flattening them out to form a 2D five-petaled daisy using our dotting tool.
Half an hour flies by as we’re thoroughly immersed in attempting the very best designs under very little time. “Five minutes more” is never quite really five minutes more—it’s much harder than it looks to piece all the little intricate details together on such a tiny canvas. As I’m going along, my respect for creators of slow, handmade clay earrings continues to grow quickly and exponentially.
As best as we can, our pieces are finished up and sent off for baking for twenty minutes at 120 degrees celsius—but not before first puncturing a tiny hole just slightly off the edge—a ring will later be fitted to hold the dangle pieces together.
Taking a commercial bake
While our crafts bake, we’re treated to fresh bakes of our own kind. Sam generously and thoughtfully offers us a box of J.CO Donuts, which, according to our social media executive Corliss, is the best donuts in Singapore. So if you’ve any grievances to air, you can take it up with her at [email protected] To our profuse thanks, Sam replies that it’s all part of the Hands on Klay experience. I guess the saying is true—it’s hard to take that Singapore Airlines hospitality out of an SQ girl, a trait that’s deeply and thoroughly appreciated.
With our earring pieces hardened and awaiting assembly, Sam shows us how it’s done by prying tiny silver rings apart using only two plier tools, slipping her clay pieces through the hoop, and then fastening it back shut without breaking a sweat. I’ve always wondered how each stud and dangle sit so comfortably within the rings, but I guess that level of estimation just comes with a ton of practice and some (frustrating) trial and error.
Once the back of our ear studs are glued and held down with industrial-level super glue (you know, the kind that can hold our sad, sad lives together), the work has been fully assembled and is ready to be donned.
I’ll be the first to admit—the day right after crafting them, I decided to bring my clay babies out for a spin, but only to test if they truly held well together, and not because I was overly-enthusiastic about showing them off or anything of that sort.
I particularly adore landscape designs on my earrings, but that’s, of course, an attempt for another day (a very far, far away day). For now, I shall be content with my humble daisies and abstract patterns, ever comforting myself that it’s not the prettiest creation of the lot, but at least it’s mine through and through.
For more craft stories, check out our pieces on jesmonite crafting, pottery, as well as punch-needling.
Price: $ $
Hands On Klay
112 Middle Road, Singapore 188970
Hands On Klay
112 Middle Road, Singapore 188970