Attractions

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle: Singapore’s Last Surviving Dragon Kiln

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle


As far as hobbies go, pottery has to be one of the most therapeutic and rewarding ones, especially when one-of-a-kind ceramic keepsakes are the fruits of your labour. If you’ve ever attempted pottery, you’ll know that your clay babies need to be fired up in a kiln to set the glaze and make your ceramics hardy.

While most pottery studios in Singapore operate with electric kilns, dip your toes into the magic of wood-firing over at Singapore’s last surviving dragon kiln: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle.


What is a dragon kiln?


A dragon kiln, or 龍窯 (lóng yáo), is a type of traditional Chinese kiln that is used to craft Chinese ceramics. These kilns are typically very large with some of them being around 60m long. They also are able to achieve temperatures of up to 1,400°C to fire clay.

In particular, the one at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is fed between 5,000 to 10,000kg of firewood during each firing process which lasts around 3-4 days. It is then left to cool down for a week. Dragon kilns are still adored by potters till this day because they are able to produce a natural ash glaze that modern electric and gas kilns cannot reproduce.

There used to be at least 20 dragon kilns peppered all over Singapore in regions like Yio Chu Kang, Jurong, and even Pulau Tekong, but only 2 remain today. The other one resides in Jalan Bahar, called the Guan Huat Dragon Kiln, but ceased operations in the late ‘90s.


What is Singapore’s last surviving dragon kiln?



From its build, the kiln resembles a dormant dragon, hence its name.

Image credit: @tkpotteryjungle via Instagram

A multi-generational family business run, Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle was established in 1965, but its traditional brick-laid dragon kiln was first built back in the 1940s by previous owners. Today, the Thow Kwang dragon kiln is one of Singapore’s last 2 dragon kilns, and the only one that is fired up multiple times a year.


Image credit: @tkpotteryjungle via Instagram

Tucked away on the stretch of Lorong Tawas, Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle sits in the middle of dense greenery and gives off serious kampung vibes. Its exact location was chosen for the land’s abundance of natural clay.

Fun fact: So much natural clay was “harvested” from the land that a large pond now sits in place of the recessed land.


How the glazed ceramic pieces are arranged prior to firing up the dragon kiln

Image credit: @tkpotteryjungle via Instagram


What workshops can you do at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle?



Image credit: @tkpotteryjungle via Instagram

Whether you’re looking for a 1-time class to try your hand at making your very own mug or to pursue wheel-throwing as a serious hobby, you’ll find a fitting workshop or course over at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle.

You’ll be able to sign up for a single 2-hour Trial Potter’s Wheel Workshop for $80 or a 2.5-hour Hand Building & Potter’s Wheel Class from $55. Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle also opens its classes to children below 8 years old as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Aspiring potters can commit to their Long Term Throwing Course ($594) that comprises 10 3-hour sessions on Sundays to learn all you need to know about wedging, centering, collaring, and trimming clay.


What else can you do at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle?



Image credit: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle

Overly attached pawrents can also take this opportunity to commemorate their love for their pets with a special pet-friendly Paw Stamping Workshop ($85). There won’t be any pottery-making involved but you’ll be imprinting your fur baby’s paw print on a ready-made bowl and given the option to hand paint that memento to take home after it’s glazed and fired up.


There’ll be posters set up for you to follow on your self-guided tour of the kiln.

Image credit: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle via Facebook

If you’re intrigued by the ancient art of wood firing but would rather spectate than partake, feel free to go on a self-guided tour by roaming the kiln’s grounds. Get out your phone for photo ops, as you’ll be able to venture into the belly of the beast a.k.a. inside the brick tunnel of the kiln.


Image credit: @tkpotteryjungle via Instagram

You can also set aside some time to browse Thow Kwang’s expansive catalogue of ceramic wares from casserole dishes, mugs, vases, and bathroom sets. These even include antique vases, planters, iconic Peranakan designs, and even ceramic tables and stools.


Where can you buy Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle’s ceramic wares?



Image credit: @tkpotteryjungle via Instagram

The business may be decades old but sneak a peek at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle’s online store or pay them a visit IRL, and you’ll be surprised to see a trove of ceramic treasures that transcend the ages.


>Image credit: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle via Facebook

From classic Peranakan crockery and blue-and-white ceramic that date back centuries to monstera plates and quirky planters, expect no two pieces to be identical as each one is handcrafted by Thow Kwang’s theme of pottery artists.


<b>How to get to Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle?



Image credit: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle

Located near Jurong Eco Garden, Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is a little ulu, so we recommend coming by car to save yourself some walking; they’ve even got free parking to boot.

Along Nanyang Avenue, you’ll catch a glimpse of CleanTech Building. Turn left onto CleanTech Loop and go straight on till you see a right turn. You should see a tall vase here, so go down the slope on the left and drive all the way in till you arrive at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle.

For those taking public transport, board Bus 199 from Boon Lay Bus Interchange, and alight at the “Before Lor Danau” bus stop. Head towards the JTC LaunchPad building and you’ll see Jurong Eco Garden, along with a flight of stairs. Walk down the stairs and you’ll arrive at the premises’ green back gate. The walk should take you around 5 minutes from the bus stop.

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle
Google Reviews
4.6
(570)
Address
85 Lor Tawas, Singapore 639823
Opening Hours:
Monday 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM Show More Timings
Contact Information

Pay a visit to Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is the place to jio friends who constantly whine about there not being enough stuff to do in sunny Singapore. Whether you’re working the pottery wheel moulding your next masterpiece or simply browsing their colourful wares, the dragon kiln makes for the perfect creative space to while your afternoons away.

For more artsy things to do:


Cover image adapted from: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle, @tkpotteryjungle via Instagram
Originally published on 19th Feb 2021. Last updated by Khoo Yong Hao on 16th April 2024.

 

Kimberly Lauren Wong

A seemingly normal girl with the appetite of a baby T-Rex and a penchant for all things bohemian. Perpetually in pursuit of the best vanilla chai latte in town, you'll find her huddled in a quaint cafe with a book or fountain pen in hand, inking her way through stacks of paper perfecting the alphabet.

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