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The call of clay

There is something magical about handmade pottery. We all have ceramic tableware at home but nothing beats the exquisiteness of a handmade vessel.

Creativity rides high on a flight of imagination and shines through when executed with trained hands of a studio potter.

However, since these glorious works of art are largely available in high-end stores in posh locations with enormous price tags, they are accessible to a limited section of people.

Studio Pottery Market from August 19 to 28 at Chitra Kala Parishath is likely to change that.

In a first for Bengaluru, 40 studio potters will gather from all over India to showcase contemporary ceramics and handmade pottery.

Experimental functional ware will share space with decorative objects. Bannerghatta-based studio potter Nalini Dharan had gone to Kala Ghoda Arts Festival to participate in their pottery market where she met people from Sampoorn — an NGO dedicated to the promotion of different craft traditions — and the idea of Studio Pottery Market was born.

Nalini feels that the Bengalureans, who are quite appreciative of arts, need to be familiarised with the world of studio pottery.

“People have woken up to the aesthetic value of pottery, which has always been considered more utilitarian. People are moving from plastic to ceramic. It is affordable as well. And it is food-safe. We do lot of research on what clay, glazes and colours to work with. So many of us have studied ceramics,” says Nalini, who has her clay studio, KlayKarma.

The artist says the growing interest in the medium has also pushed a few traditional potters to innovate.

At the 10-day event, the potters from Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Puducherry, and Bengaluru will showcase different techniques and experiments in clay. While a traditional potter mostly works with terracotta, studio potters use stoneware and porcelain.

Nalini says a lot of hand-building techniques like coiling and slab work could be sampled at the event. “There is a huge trend of painting on pots these days and underglaze work, slip trailing, stamp work, sgraffito (scratching). Artists from Shantiniketan do sculptural works,” says Nalini who does a lot of wheel work. Pottery from different states bear distinct styles such as the sculptural pottery of Bhopal, subtle shades of Puducherry and gas-fired works of Bengaluru. Nalini was a hobby potter who turned into a professional potter in 2006 and trained under Pondicherry-based Deepika Talwar and Pune-based Sandeep Manchekar. Nalini is not an exception. The event comprises several names who were chefs and software engineers like Ranjita Bora and Shubha Raghavan who quit their professions to pursue pottery. Coming from different backgrounds, they are united by their love for clay. While some went to Andretta Pottery in Himachal, Delhi Blue Pottery in Delhi to learn the finer nuances of the art form and even from the legendary painter, sculptor, photographer Devi Prasad — a Gandhian with roots in Shantiniketan — a lot of them apprenticed with Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith’s Golden Bridge Pottery in Auroville.

Something for everyone

Besides demonstrations, presentations and talks by well-known ceramic artists such as G. Reghu, Devilal Patidar and Sandeep Manchekar are also part of the bouquet. Megha Mehta and Archana Ramchandran will hold clay workshops for children on August 20, 25, 27 and 28 at 4p.m. at the venue. Registration will be on the spot.

Back in time

Pottery is an ancient art form whose history in the Indian subcontinent can be traced to Indus Valley civilisation. Pottery refers to objects made by clay either on wheel or by hand, which is then baked or fired. It is made using terracotta, stone and porcelain. There are different styles of pottery in India like blue pottery of Delhi, Khurja and Jaipur, black pottery of Kangra and the Northeast, terracotta pottery of Bihar, Bengal and Gujarat.

Outside India, the traditions of Iznik from Turkey, Raku of Japan, Chinese ceramics and Celadon pottery of Korea are also quite revered.

Potters from the IT city

Shubha Raghavan and Shilpy Gupta among other potters will represent Bengaluru at the event. Talking of their styles, Shilpy who runs her studio, Ceramic Trail explores balance between functional pottery and art; Shubha, a former software engineer, experiments with cut work, glazes and texture.


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 10:05:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/The-call-of-clay/article14576096.ece

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