JOP stands for “Joy of Pottery” – and that’s exactly what your birthday boy or girl will discover after a visit to this suburban workshop.
Located just outside the villa area of Shunyi, JOP Pottery offers group courses in wheel-throwing and hand-building. Throwing involves molding the clay into a vessel as it rotates on a motorized spinning surface, much like a lazy Susan. Hand-building is the process of shaping a vessel using clay “snakes” as a basic shape. One snake is first coiled to form the base of the vessel, and succeeding layers are stacked upward to form the desired design.
Set in a serene garden, the workshops include the use of the studio’s electric kiln to fire the finished pieces. The electric kiln is the most commonly-used stove to cook ceramics. JOP Pottery, however, also has two other kilns which the in-house potters use. These artisans produce ceramics for sale at the studio or as part of commissioned projects. The cooked pottery has different finishes depending on what kind of kiln it was fired in (electric, gas, or wood fire).
Kids can try making their own designs or find inspiration from the many creations on display at the studio. Either way, they get to transform an ordinary lump of clay into something useful. Part of the magic lies in not knowing exactly how a finished product will turn out.
Younger children (ages 5-10) should start with the half-day workshop, which runs for three hours. This would be ideal for a small group of up to six children and four adults. The full-day course (which runs for six hours and includes lunch) is better-suited to ages 11 and up. The full-day course is ideal for ten people and includes lunch made from vegetables grown onsite in JOP’s garden.
Check the seasonal menu in advance to ensure that there is something for all your guests. Otherwise, you can arrange to self-cater or head to Pinnacle Plaza or Europlaza. The latter optioons are about 15 minutes away by car and contain a host of Western and Chinese dining options. Pickup is available from Houshayu subway station but must be arranged in advance.
- Half day (1.30-4.30pm): RMB 180 person or RMB 400 for one adult and one child
- Full day (10.30am-4.30pm): RMB 280 per person or RMB 500 for one adult and one child (includes lunch).
All prices include 3-5kg of white clay, 5kg of rough stoneware, and a chance to fire two to five pieces, depending on the number of people in the group. Call for details.
JOP Pottery 拙朴
Daily 10.30am-4.30pm. 17 Shuipo Village, Gaoliying Town, Shunyi
District (5145 0754, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.joppottery.com 顺义区高丽营镇水坡村17号
Photos by KEN
This article originally appeared on p21 of the beijingkids November 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com