Meet Pau Javier, a creative who invites you to play with clay

Pau Javier leans forward, her hands delicately tracing the sinuous curves of the clay, ever so mindful of the rhythmic whirring of the potter’s wheel. Slowly, the mold takes shape—the mud finds a new lease of life.

Javier’s space is a potter’s playground in San Juan.

The quintessential studio is called Wabi Sabi, from an ancient Japanese philosophy centered on accepting transience and imperfection. Inside, it houses five throwing wheels lined neatly one after another, while a variety of trimming and carving tools clutter a modest working table in the corner. In contrast, a mix of vibrant and eclectic hand-painted ceramic mugs and trinkets from artists Jill Arteche and Egg Fiasco adorn the center storage shelf.

“With pottery, everything is handmade, and with ceramics, even though it’s not that perfect, that just makes it all the more beautiful and raw, so you see the human touch,” Javier, 32, said of the art practice during a “Press Play” hands-on workshop organized by insurance brand FWD.

Javier’s is a recognized name in the field of production, with projects including “Resureksyon,” “Kuwaresma” and “Baka Siguro Yata.”

In 2020, when the pandemic took away the industry’s biggest platform—cinema, independent filmmakers like herself found themselves with no projects to work on. She knew a career shift was necessary then, but how it would change her life is still being made clear to her now.

“When I was working as a producer, I was burned out, so I was always looking for something else to do. Pottery, to me, was a break. Instead of a huge pile of lists I had to do in my head, it was a form of forced meditation. Because in those few minutes, all that matters is you and that piece of clay right in front of you,” she said.

Javier credits the resurgence of pottery not just in the country but around the world to the renewed interest of the younger generation in olden and traditional crafts. This, in part, is attributed to their yearning to slow down amid a fast-paced work environment. Javier noted that there’s also been a better appreciation for practice fueled by social networks that make the process of hand-making ceramics very appealing.

Javier has come a long way since discovering her love of pottery. What was initially a passion project for her turned into a profitable business that now offers crash and full courses on wheel throwing, hand building workshops and painting sessions. Expansion plans are also underway, beginning from the transfer to a bigger space to accommodate more clients.

Javier’s grounding, however, remains the same. She wants to maintain the purpose of creating with the intent of not being ordinary using a medium that’s very forgiving.

“We’re always striving for perfection and that creates certain expectations. Letting go can be very liberating, it’s knowing you gave something the best you can do and being at peace with it,” she said.

Such is the focus of the “press play” campaign by FWD Life Insurance, which features the stories of Pau Javier and five others across Asia who dared to pursue their personal goals and seek their purpose in life.

“Pau’s experience is a good example of why we’re encouraging every Filipino to ‘press play’ on their passions and dreams,” says Roche Vandenberghe, chief marketing officer of FWD Life Insurance in the Philippines. “Through our brand campaign, we want people to know that they can shape their life journey as they desire.”