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I've finally got my hands on some clay this week and got to meet some lovely folks from the clay studio. Everything feels different though - materials and textures, touches and smells. I'm not used to throwing when my hands are cold, and the water is always cold here. The clay can manage so much more water before collapsing than back home. The techniques for centering clay are different from what I normally do and demand different muscle memories. Everything is organised, operated on a larger scale, and the people are warm.

I knew I'd be a bit stuck for ideas when I first start making things in the studio, so I just started to list the things that I actually need for the house. Like my own mug and a big ramen bowl. I'd also love to make something for Aunty Mary and Uncle Simon, my guardian angels here in Auckland, but I'm still not too sure what to make. I started on the mug(s) in this gorgeous caramel dark stoneware that will fire into a rich rusty brown colour. I say mug(s) cause even though I only need one, I made 3 in hopes that I will slowly narrow it down to the one I like the best. But who knows. I might have people over.

I had this shape in my head that I couldn't quite place. I wanted a slight belly with an elegant flared lip, but with all rounded shapes you have to take your time to find that sweet spot in the form, every slight angle and curve can alter the form entirely. All 3 mugs have different shapes.

Of course I chattered them. Which turned out a lot better than I expected considering the bases were still pretty wet because I didn't flip them over to dry evenly in the studio. I attached some slab-cut handles and they're slow-drying in the studio now. Stressed out glazing them in a whole new range of glazes, and firing my first electric-fired pots! I was really spoilt silly at Mr. Lim's studio, with every single pot - both great and rubbish pots - fired in a gas kiln (and if you're lucky with some glorious brushes of reduction).

Things have been moving so fast since moving to Auckland. It's been 4 days and I've already moved into my new accommodation and have a job at the clay studio nearby. I remember telling my dad that I was having a bit of a sensory overload during my last few weeks in Singapore - with all the mixed emotions about having to say goodbye to so many people and routines, balanced with the excitement about starting a new life in a new place. I didn't really know how or what to feel, there was fear and excitement in equal amounts so I guess they just crossed each other out and left me semi-catatonic. And if I was semi-catatonic then, I don't know how to describe how I feel now.

After unpacking into this new place, I finally feel like I have a little breather to make sense of things and reflect on how the week has just zoomed past. I'm excited to get back to the wheel soon and get my hands dirty with some clay.

Context: I am flying to Auckland tomorrow night. I'm in my room, scanning around for things that I need to pack within my modest 25kg luggage allowance. On my desk there's an empty mug of chamomile tea, a card for a dear friend that I've just written, my old film camera that's run out of battery, my bible, and a mountain of other bits. How many bits do I need to take with me?

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