The whole process from forming the design to applying the finishing touches to a ceramic piece thrills Anupong “Nu” Singtong, the founder of the humble Praarthid Pottery studio in San Pa Tong.
“Many factors like the temperature a piece is fired at affect how a pot will look. It’s really exciting to see what comes out,” said Anupong.
Initially, Anupong was interested in studying design, but he chose to study ceramics at the Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna instead. After graduation, he started working at a ceramic factory nearby his house.
“I’d go home at midday and start working on my own pottery. I was very lucky because the factory owner was generous enough to allow a new graduate like me to use his factory kiln to fire my own pieces,” said Anupong.
The earliest works under his “Praarthid” brand were cups and mugs, which got him positive responses when he sold at the Sunday Walking Street.
“Chiang Mai has many flea markets for arts and crafts,” Anupong said. “I’d visit fairs like Nimmanhaemin Art and Design Promenade (NAP) and look at other artist’s contemporary designs. I’d try to identify which designs met market demands while continuing to develop my own until my works had a distinctive look. I was introduced to other established ceramicists who knew galleries that exhibited products from different studios. Finally, Gallery 11 on Nimmanhaemin gave me a space to display my products alongside works from other artists. This was something I’m proud of — being good friends with other ceramic artists.”
Praarthid Pottery’s handcrafted products are not meant to look perfect, and no two items look the same. Anupong thinks this is part of the charm of Praarthid Pottery’s works, where he throws pots on a wheel. He fires stonewares at 1250 degrees Celsius using techniques like dripping and unique glazes he sources from the ashes of local wood like longan that render natural colors.
“Praarthid is the Thai word for the sun. I want to be like the sun; I don’t want this fire inside me to be extinguished even when I face obstacles like storms. That’s why I chose the name “Praarthid.” It reminds me to always be lit up,” said Anupong.
In addition to cups and mugs, Praarthid Pottery’s products include tableware and home décor. His unique designs have a raw look emulating that of pebbles and sand. Anupong draws on his surroundings for inspiration.
“I work every day with happiness and joy. It is best to live happily and do your job, don’t you think? Sometimes, I tell my story through my works, depending on how I feel in the moment. Whether I’m having fun or feeling lonely, my work turns out differently. Whatever comes out, it’s always unique,” said Anupong.
Currently, his goal is to have his own small studio where he can serve his mother’s homemade ice-cream on Praarthid-made tableware and enjoy seeing visitors sit back and relax amidst nature. He also wants to organize workshops for those who are interested in pottery. Those who are interested in learning more about Praarthid Pottery studio should visit Facebook and Instagram, he said.