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Updated: May 13, 2014 23:49 IST

Trying to keep the dying tradition alive

Nivedita Ganguly
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Equipped with a degree in Fine Arts, 20-year-old Siva Krishna is the only resident of Kummari Veedhi who still holds on to pottery

The few racks of mud pots and vessels at the entrance are the only hint of the years of pottery tradition that lies hidden behind the dingy lanes of the potters’ colony of Kummari Veedhi here.

It’s in one of the houses here that Siva Krishna sits watching his 60-year-old grandfather K. Satyam tirelessly spinning the potter’s wheel.

The 20-year-old Fine Arts graduate of Andhra University is the only youngster from this old colony of potters, who has taken up the task to preserve the pottery profession through his art works.

“Pottery is a craft, an expression of creative poetry,” says Krishna, as he offers a helping hand to his grandfather, who is one of the two traditional potters of the colony still holding on to the profession.

There was a time when the colony had more than 50 families, who practiced pottery. In sharp contrast to the buzz of the potter’s wheel of those days, today there are just two families which silently churn out clay marvels.

Paradesi Atcha Rao is the other old potter still engaged in the profession.

Artistic blend

It is these impressions from a potter’s wheel and life that Siva Krishna has managed to capture in his art forms. His works are a blend of different mediums. For instance, one of his works in clay with charcoal portrays the face of the potter on pieces of charcoal reflecting the hardships in a potter’s life, says the artist.

At a time when a majority of the youngsters of the present generation are shying away from the age-old tradition, what makes Siva Krishna still hold on to it?

In fact, his grandfather advised him to take up another profession.

“Even as a child I was fascinated by the moving potter’s wheel. But only after I learnt the various techniques of fine arts and worked in different mediums, I realised how difficult and artistic pottery is. Through my work, I want to depict this dying form,” says Krishna.

Today, in his colony, what is conspicuously absent is the presence of youth, who have taken others forms of works.

“The old people who still churn the potters’ wheel do not have the energy or money to make on a large-scale. So, their work is reduced to creating small coin pots, which are fragile and don’t fetch much,” he says.

Siva Krishna feels that the art of pottery is valued more in bigger cities, where there is a market for it. But the traditional potters need to be trained and the younger generation should be involved in saving the traditional profession of these families, he adds.

Masters course

During the first year of Fine Arts course, he gave a demo of pottery-making at the department.

“There, I learnt the improvisations in pottery by exchange of thoughts and ideas,” he says.

Siva now has applied for his masters course in Central University, Hyderabad, and Shantiniketan.

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