Embracing ethnic earthenware

Homes & interiors

Embracing ethnic earthenware

Expensive artefacts are no longer the order of the day. Sarah Thomas contends that the ever so versatile earthenware offers better options.

The beautiful craft of pottery reflects more than just our traditions; it is an art form that has existed since ages, passed down by our ancestors.

The beauty and richness of our long-standing culture resonates in these ceramic
artefacts, that have, over the years, evolved to suit the current scenario.

From simple earthenware, pottery has transformed and taken on a modern facade to fulfill a changing aesthetic and functional role in modern houses.

More and more people are turning to these hand-moulded products to decorate their homes.

There is a growing interest in using terracotta clay objects as design elements in homes.

“I personally love ceramic art; it looks lovely when such artefacts are used in houses. I use earthen products as much as possible as it looks great and lends some sort of warmth to the space where it is used,” says Joshua Thomas, a freelance game designer.

His job has him moving to studios, but he mostly works from home.

This involves little physical activity, he explains. So he makes sure that his workplace has a positive, inspiring ambience - something that would help him feel calm and driven.

Recollecting his childhood, he said that mud pots and mud vessels had been an important part of the kitchen since ages.

The trend slowly died, but now, they have donned a new avatar and re-entered houses as decorative elements.

The usage of terracotta clay as decoration, though, is not new and has existed through the years.

People often think only mud pots can be considered pottery, but the very term is vast and includes everything made from clay - wall murals, fancy showpieces, lamps, planters and so on, says Ganesan Manickavasagan, founder and director of Clay Station, a Bengaluru-based creative clay studio run by a bunch of innovative artists.

Broadly speaking, pottery can be classified into earthenware, stoneware and porcelain.

Terracotta clay called Bangalore clay is easily available at an affordable price in Bengaluru; hence many people opt for terracotta objects, says Ganesan.

Soup bowls, utensils and tiny planters that can be placed on table tops have
become very popular. The most eye-catching and novel development is probably the use of terracotta beer mugs – they look lovely and serve the purpose of cooling as well.

Aishwarya Gowda, an interior designer based in Bengaluru, adds that utensils, bowls and tumblers made from clay are also popular choices. While they do have their own authenticity and reflect the traditional style, you can bring out your own personality in them by using your creativity, she opines.

Painting on them or trying different creative stuff is the key.

“I remember once, my aunt changed a simple pot into a gorgeous vase. What she did could be done by anybody; it seemed easy and fun; and the end result was stunning.
She used tissue paper, some paint, fevicol and water and mixed these in batches. The fevicol, water and paint were mixed separately and the same was done with different colours of paint. She then rolled tissues into shapes and stuck it on the pot,” she shares.

So, it is all about creativity!

Wall Murals

The very word brings thoughts of temples and traditional art.

There are experts who specialise in creating and designing wall murals that are made of clay slabs. They then undergo a process to produce the desired output.

These wall murals can be permanently fixed on the wall or can be made movable.

Personal designs, one that catches your attention, can be executed.

Any local potter or interior designer will be helpful in getting the wall murals done.

But since it is more complex and labour intensive, the costs may vary depending on your

Clay furniture

Now, that’s something truely novel! Whoever said tables have to made only of wood, plastic or metal.

Try clay. The table top can be made of glass, while the base can be made of clay.

Ganesan vouches for the beauty of the clay-made coffee tables that he has come across, in all excitement.

He believes that the trend, though not seen very often, looks great and provides an old-world, rustic charm to the house.


Handmade clay showpieces can also be found along the roadside.

“The best place one could go to buy earthenware is on the roadside between Doddaballapur and Gauribidanur,” suggests Aishwarya.

Beyond the display of the potters’ dexterity, these showpieces add to the beauty of a space, creating the ambience you want.

Terracotta dolls, vases, statues, pots and hanging lamps also fall into this category.

For a company in Dubai, Clay Station recently designed round terracotta lamp shades that can be hung from the ceiling.

Light can be reflected and adjusted according to the requirements. These lamps create an ideal bucolic setting in the house.

Pottery, Ganeshan insists, is an infectious art; once you experience the beauty of the craft, you will cling on to it.

It helps that the art can be a partner in your endeavour to create a space that is warm , inviting, beautiful and artistic.

For those who aren’t interested in dirtying their hands, there are many places that will design and create items according to your liking.

And for the DIY kinds, there are innumerable pottery workshops to choose from.

Either way, it is your space. Get creative with it.

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