Makati City

Seize the clay! I tried out pottery on this hotel staycation

Steph Arnaldo
Seize the clay! I tried out pottery on this hotel staycation
I'M Hotel's fun Artcation Package taught me how to make my own ceramic mug from scratch, in partnership with Tahanan Pottery Studio!

MANILA, Philippines – As an artistically-inept person who’s always wanted to try her hand at pottery (and coincidentally also loves hotel staycations), an Artcation Package sounded like a novel and great idea to me. Adding an interactive hand-building pottery class to a relaxing staycation experience? Yes, please!

CERAMIC POTTERY. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
I’M HOTEL x TAHANAN POTTERY STUDIO. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

On October 6, I tried out Makati City hotel I’M Hotel’s newest Artcation Package, which includes overnight accommodations for two at one of its suites and a 3-hour beginner-friendly pottery workshop, in partnership with Quezon City’s Tahanan Pottery Shop & Studio. The workshop is helmed by Tahanan Studio founder and local ceramic icon and artist Rita Badilla-Gudiño.

LIVE DEMOS BY RITA BADILLA-GUDINO. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

I arrived at I’M Hotel’s function room at 4 pm to a room of socially distanced work stations and fellow artcation guests. Each work station had all the necessary tools and clay to make our own ceramic mugs (these are all inclusive, including the hands-on teacher aide assistance, glazing, and firing fees). I put my work apron on – it was time to pot it like it’s hot and seize the clay!

STEP-BY-STEP WORKSHOP. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

I initially thought that the pottery class would entail the famous pottery wheel (ala Ghost), but apparently, that mode of art requires extensive training and is not fit for beginners. The day’s agenda was to build our own ceramic mug from scratch – and surprisingly, this wasn’t as hard to do as I expected, even if I had clumsy hands and no prior sculpting experience at all.

CLAY AND OTHER TOOLS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Thanks to Teacher Rita’s easy-to-follow demos, copying her next steps wasn’t as daunting, even if I wasn’t so mug-aling at ceramic art. Whenever I had questions about a certain step, Teacher Rita or her assistant were always around to help me out or tweak my creation accordingly.

FLATTENING THE CLAY. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The process is as fast as you allow it to be – I was allowed to go at my own pace, even if I did feel pressured that my neighbors were already on step 5 and I was still struggling with step 2. However, the clay was there for play – the fun was in the experience (and masterpieces take time, right? Heh).

COMMUNAL WORKSHOP. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s a technical process from start to finish, so I got to learn firsthand the important pottery basics, like carving, scoring, rolling, sculpting, glueing parts together with slurry, molding, and texturizing.

CARVING PIECES. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
GLUEING PARTS TOGETHER. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
SHAPING MY MUG. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

There’s also room for creativity and personal choice, which adds to the fun – you’ll be asked to choose your own “texture template” to indent your clay with, as well as your finishing glaze. In my case, I chose a ruggedly curvy design and a matte yellow as my glaze. I also had the freedom to change the shape of my mug and its handle – you can go for a square mouth, or a curved lip, or a thinner, taller body.

ROLLING ON YOUR TEXTURED MAT. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

At the end of the 2.5 hours, I came up with my own personalized ceramic mug, with my signed name at the bottom. As a slight perfectionist, I wasn’t 100% happy with the wonky, uneven shape, but I guess that added to its unique “charm” – I still felt like a proud mother to my little awkward ceramic baby, seeing it stationed beside my fellow guests’ own mug-andang creations!

MY OWN CERAMIC MUG. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

This made me want to try more pottery classes with friends in the future, since it was a refreshingly different way to spend a typical hotel staycation. Everyone should get their hands dirty and try pottery at least once, just for the fun and satisfaction of it. There’s definitely room for imperfections here!

EVERYONE’S WORKS, READY FOR FIRING AND GLAZING. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Overall, it was a communal and laidback experience that kept my hands busy and creative juices flowing. Everyone was having a good time on their own and together, learning from a ceramics master while laughing at our own fumbles, struggles, and jokes. We were all happy to be taking home a concrete (or ceramic?) piece of our afternoon’s effort home!

After Tahanan fires and glazes your mug at the studio, I’M Hotel will schedule a separate delivery for you to receive your finished ceramic creation.

ON DISPLAY. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

For your achey hands, I’M Hotel also offers a complimentary 10-minute hand massage as part of the Artcation Package, and for your achey body, full access to I’M Onsen Spa Wellness Suites, which includes steam, onsen, and sauna. The package also allows access to I’M Hotel’s fitness center, Wi-Fi, and glass-bottom, acrylic swimming pool at the Mermaid Bar.

EXECUTIVE SUITE. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

You’ll also get to enjoy I’M Hotel’s luxurious 5-star service, amenities, and modern, minimalistic rooms, which offer a great view of the Makati skyline. The Artcation Package rates start at P9,800 for the classic studio, P11,300 for the executive/prestige (king or twin), and go up to P23,000 for the 2-bedroom executive suite.

DINING AND LIVING AREA. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Breakfast for two the next morning is taken at Common Good Restaurant, where they serve unli-brewed coffee, breads, jams, and butter (the miso butter was amazing, by the way).

The Artcation Package can be availed from October 8 to November 30, 2022. The Tahanan Pottery Workshop dates are on October 22, 29, November 5, 12, 16, and 19, with only limited slots available per class for safety reasons. You can book your stay via I’M Hotel’s website or via email at reservation@imhotel.com. – Rappler.com

I’M Hotel is located at 7862 Makati Ave, Makati City.

Tahanan Pottery Studio is open for single session workshops, hand-building & sculptural classes, private workshops, and pottery wheel classes. It’s located at 27 Scout Tobias St, corner Scout Lozano St, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City. You can sign up via website.

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.