Pottering About WHAT TO BRING
for Mind Therapy
I’d been noticing that I was surrounded by hobbyist potters – some even renovated their homes to include a firing kiln – and not to mention, pottery studios. I wasn’t sure if it was FOMO or a desperate wish to belong, but I’d been wanting to get into it myself. First, though, I had to figure out if I had the aptitude for it. I needed a place that would allow me to get into it without fazing me with daunting rules on basics.
Dirty Hands Only ticks the box in that respect. It’s an intimate space – it’s really just a room with a solid teak table and two benches. But what catches the eye is how quaintly it is decorated – chalkboards with messages in funky fonts, empty organic wine bottles and, of course, pottery. A few throwing wheels sit nonchalantly on the floor alongside tiny stools, and bags of white and red clay. It’s welcoming – you are among friends; no one is judging you.
The session ($85 for two-and-a-half hours) started with some hand building. I made a mental note of the shape I was going for, but what I realised was that there needed to be this immense hand-and-mind dialogue to get there – coil by coil. It ultimately didn’t look anything like I’d intended, but there was a dialogue for that too. It’s mindfulness at its best.
The session ended with me throwing a cup on the wheel. This was where control and coordination met at a halfway point, between your hands and the wheel, under the gentle guidance of Tiffany Chua, founder of Dirty Hands Only. This one was a bit more free-flow, and I was happy where it led me. As Tiffany said at the beginning of the class: “Just go with the flow, don’t think too much about it.”
I can see myself planning a pottery day out with friends here, or just to get my hands dirty creatively. The best part for me was that the result didn’t matter – no competition or personal judgement, just that feeling of being in an individual space of happy happenstance.
LOCATION Dirty Hands Only, #01-47, 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, tel: 9272-4123
Nothing. The tools of the trade are all provided. But remember to wear something that you don’t mind getting dirty as you will get clay on it – although it is washable. Also, keep your nails short as long nails can get in the way when moulding and lifting at the wheel.
As an ex-regular to spiritual retreats in Bali and Phuket, I was really feeling the mental deprivation from the lack of travelling. So when I heard about Grand Hyatt’s Recharge Retreat staycation, I was excited to give it a try, hoping to get some semblance of the serenity I used to feel during such retreats.
My Recharge Retreat started off at 2:30pm with a 60-min full body massage treatment at Grand Hyatt’s luxurious Damai Spa. A generously sized room with a water-function view, the environment relaxes one immediately and the masseuse’s relaxing strokes had me dozing off in a matter of minutes.
I then checked into the 54sqm junior suite with a separate living area. As part of the retreat, a set of activewear from local brand Kydra was also included. After unpacking and settling into the suite, I changed into my set and headed for the meditation session at the indoor fitness studio, a small building in the Hyatt estate. As I made my way to my spot on an exercise mat, I was taken by the calming effect of the relatively large studio, which could house a tennis court. Led by the hotel’s spa director Karu, the class of 15 guests participated in meditational activities such as Gong Sound bath and Breath Work exercises. As we laid down on our mats, Karu guided us to a state of mindfulness with the use of the musical instruments such as the gong and Tibetan singing bowls.
I am not a frequent meditation practitioner, so I didn’t have high hopes of getting into a meditative state for this practice. But 15 minutes into the session, my mind managed to get into it. There’s something so joyful about being completely present and aware of your passing thoughts that I found myself smiling while lying down with my eyes covered with an eye pillow. I left the indoor studio feeling a lot lighter.
If you’re looking to start your mornings on an endorphin high, sign up for the HIIT class. Those who prefer something with a slower pace can opt for the yoga or tai chi classes instead.
The workout is followed by a Nutritional Brunch Experience (curated by our #HerWorldTribe member and nutritionist Charlotte Mei) at Oasis, the poolside restaurant. The food was delicious – from a zesty pomelo salad to the coconut sorbet dessert – and I practically licked the plates clean. By the time brunch ended, I had just enough time to return to the suite to pack up. My itinerary for this review was 2D1N, but Grand Hyatt only has a 3D2N programme for this retreat now, priced at $840 for single occupancy. Dates are available from June 24 onwards.
Even though I didn’t exactly feel recharged from the short stay, the meditation session was an absolute hit. The lightness I felt after the session stayed with me for the next few days and I now find myself seeking a similar class in hopes of practicing it regularly.
LOCATION Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road, tel: 6738-1234