A turn at the potter's wheel
Pottery fascinates people and the fact that there is no age barrier prompts many to indulge in this passion.
Pics: K. Ananthan
Moulding the earth. Pics: K. Ananthan
IT'S RARE to find someone who is not amazed watching a potter infuse life into a lump of clay, shaping it deftly to lend it character.
Most of us watch these artisans at work spellbound, wondering if the clay will be as pliable when we try our hand at the wheel.
Pottery is also said to have a relaxing effect, with its rhythmic movement acting as a balm on frayed nerves.
The art form is no longer seen as a village craft; it has acquired sheen (literally) and is now an upmarket hobby, with many people queuing up to have a turn at the potter's wheel.
Amateurs use electricity-operated wheels to learn the craft. At a 5-day pottery workshop held recently at the Bishop Appasamy college of Arts and Science, Mr. Raghu Samuel from Bangalore taught student participants and those from the general public the basics of the craft.
Age is no barrier for learning pottery and Air Commodore (Retd) M Vania is proof of that.
The retired officer was one of those taking part in the workshop. Along with young Vijayamalini, he learnt firsthand how a mere movement from his fingers could make or break his creation.
"I have always wanted to put my hands onto clay," says the parachute jumping instructor. And how does it feel?
"The same thrill that I feel when jumping out of a parachute; a sense of power that I am creating something."
"Maybe, this interest is the result of being told not to play in the mud while we were kids," he quips.
Vijayamalini has already learnt hand-made pottery and says getting used to the electronic wheel takes some time. "You need patience to mould," she says.
As for being a relaxing experience, both of them say that since they are beginners, they have been focussing on getting the shape right, rather than letting their hands do the talking.
Mr. Samuel, who hails from a potter's family, says that pottery is not a very expensive hobby, a reason why many people opt for it. "An electronic wheel would cost about Rs. 4,000. And, clay is not very costly either." Manually operated wheels are best suited for professionals, he adds.
Is a five-day course enough to get people started on pottery? Mr. Samuel replies in the affirmative.
"They can learn the basics in five days. After that, it is left to the individual to hone his or her skills depending on the level of interest."
During the workshop, terracotta jewellery made by his students were also on display.
Terracotta earrings and necklaces make a different fashion statement and they are preferred by today's youth, for they look and feel earthy.
SUBHA J RAO
Send this article to Friends by