Wood Firing – Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle

“To build on the concept of the ‘Pottery Jungle’, where people can discover beauty in its simplest state.”

Founded in 1965 by Tan Kim Seh, Thow Kwang started off as a small cottage industry. Initially producing glazed pottery cups for nearby rubber plantations, used in the collection of natural rubber.

Thow Kwang also met the demands of the local consumer market by manufacturing water jars, which were utilised for bathwater storage.

In the 1970s, when Singapore’s domestic economy changed to favour the growth of orchid farms, Thow Kwang adapted to new market demands by increasing its production of pots in various shapes and sizes. it is a rich history that illuminates just how much Thow Kwang – and perhaps even the entire ceramic production industry – has been an active and efficacious contributor to Singapore’s economy.For the past 15 years, Thow Kwang has been actively promoting a better awareness and understanding of pottery and the art of wood-firing.

The Dragon Kiln

Built in the 1940s, the Dragon Kiln at Thow Kwang is one of the oldest surviving brick-built kilns in Singapore for wood-firing. During the wood- firing process, the pots are engulfed in a river of fire and the ashes react with the glaze to produce unpredictable colours and textures, resulting in unique pieces that have a blush of flame not found in those fired by gas and electric kilns.

In the early years, the Dragon Kiln was used for the mass production of cups and functional wares to meet the demands of household and industrial use.

Now, the Dragon Kiln provides a platform for artists and potters to pursue their artistic interests, fuelling an understanding and appreciation of the disappearing art of wood-firing. The Dragon Kiln also stands as a cultural icon to educate younger generations on the traditions and heritage of Chinese culture, particularly the Teochew dialect group.

*Special thanks to Thow Kwang for the sponsorship for this event.