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Clay connect

Dabbling with ceramic art has emerged as an antidote to stress while also offering a liberating outlet to many, writes Tanisha Saxena
Last Updated : 30 April 2021, 06:39 IST
Last Updated : 30 April 2021, 06:39 IST

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Kshitija Mitter
Kshitija Mitter
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Ridhima Chawdhary
Ridhima Chawdhary
By Shweta Mansingka
By Shweta Mansingka
By Kshitija Mitter
By Kshitija Mitter
By Shweta Mansingka
By Shweta Mansingka
By Ridhima Chawdhary
By Ridhima Chawdhary
By Jayati Mehta
By Jayati Mehta
Shweta Mansingka
Shweta Mansingka
Jayati Mehta
Jayati Mehta

The squeezes, the pinches and the shaping. The pulls, the stretches and the scraping. The caress, the glazing and the glancing...

Pottery can’t help but feel miraculous! With our collective thirst for nostalgia, this art form turned decor trend — goes back to antiquity. Clay culture is the quintessential legacy that has evolved over the years. Think avant-garde vases, teapots, high-gloss plates, multi-coloured table planters and miniatures... unlike the grannies’ pottery, today’s ceramics are minimalist and undeniably chic. The revival of the art offers an antidote to the hectic life, a sentiment that is tied to the homespun craft vibe, and is much-needed as a stress-buster during this pandemic time.

Jayati fell in love with the very idea of making art out of dust and water after forging it in the fire. She believes in embracing failure in clay over success in any other form of art. “I knew the day I walked into my teacher’s studio the first time that I wanted to do this professionally,” recounts the Dehradun-based resident. “I was looking to do something creatively inclined post-graduation, and I came across pottery as a medium in an art book at home, searched for options and ended up taking classes for just over two years. I then started out on my own”, adds the 31-year-old.

Kshitija, an engineer by profession and a ceramist by vocation, believes that pottery brings in catharsis. “It is like a shower on a warm day. You enjoy it while it lasts and come out feeling refreshed, ready for the toil,” she asserts. For the 39-year-old it’s like an astral projection. All that exists is the representation of her subconscious into an artefact. “For me, it is more like a notebook, a journal of my feelings, my sensibilities at the time of creation. Sometimes the pages in that journal are scratched over, torn, folded, and sometimes it is pristine with immaculate text on it. The opening of the kiln after a firing is a huge thing, something that validates whether I triumphed over the variabilities or whether the variables had the day. Either way, the head-rush is addictive,” adds the Pune-based ceramic artist.

While most clay artists choose to make functional pieces like teacups, plates, saucers, etc., Delhi-based ceramist Shweta Mansingka’s work is quite intriguing. After all, not everyone can think of creating a fruit like a pear as a wall-mounted decor art.

She has been in the industry for nearly 32 years and every artwork makes one introspect. When Shweta started her journey she felt gravitated towards artwork and sculpture rather than functional ware. The ceramist says, “simple mute objects of art speak if you have the vision to see or the bandwidth to listen to their silence, and my work is that expression of minimalism which kind of pushes the viewers to introspect.”

Fruit — the womb of creation, is one of the many series by the artist that compels people to think of life in a different way altogether. “Fruit is a form that inspires me with its constantly evolving life cycle. In all its maturity it embodies the very womb of creation. Its ripeness is not the end, rather the mature belly nurtures fresh seeds as potential to perpetuate life,” adds Shweta.

Can you think of taking a sip of your morning tea in a bra-shaped cup? And no, I am not kidding! Ridhima Chawdhary, a Bengaluru-based potter artist experimented with the fusion of art with social issues. Her connection with clay began in 2019 and since then the 25-year-old is exploring the realm of ceramics. An instructor at Clay Station (a pottery studio based in Bengaluru), Ridhima leaves no stone unturned to bring breathtaking concepts through ceramics.

The Crazy Cup is a powerful series by the young artist where she gives a playful but remarkable twist and feminist interpretation to her art. Clay cups shaped like lingeries representative of the history of brassieres becomes a potent symbol of the female voice. “Clay is a calm yet temperamental material that will bend to your will only if you respect its processes. I love playing with it and letting myself be creative through a mouldable medium,” says Ridhima.

“The most important thing in ceramics is patience, and taking your time to let your piece be what it wants to be. It’s always half your effort, and half of what the clay wants to be because there are so many variables, every time you open the kiln, you are surprised and excited,” she adds.

“The Crazy Cup stemmed from a pun, Where bras are a crazy ‘T’ cups. From a pun, it slowly evolved into a collective that talked about how brassieres evolved through time to serve various purposes, and how today they’re almost a mandatory commodity” shares the ceramist.

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Published 17 April 2021, 19:07 IST

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