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Clay play

An ongoing show in the city asserts pottery’s place among the fine arts.

art and culture Updated: Sep 22, 2012 00:41 IST
Srishti Jha
Srishti Jha

Pieces-from-the-diamond-jubilee-collection-are-stacked-up-on-sale-at-the-Emma-Bridgewater-pottery-in-Hanley-Stoke-on-Trent-England-The-diamond-jubilee-range-will-feature-both-hand-decorated-spongeware-patterns-and-lithographed-prints-on-celebratory-mugs-bowls-plates-teapots-and-a-ceramic-crown-emblazoned-with-the-slogans-Sixty-Years-a-Queen-and-Steadfast-and-True--AFP-PHOTO-Andrew-Yates

A display of new techniques applied to the ancient craft of pottery is on at the Lalit Kala Academy, showcasing the work of seven artists from the city’s very own Sanskriti Kendra. Launched on Wednesday, the exhibition which is on till September 25, is also an effort to have people rethink pottery as an art.

Renowned potter, Mansimran Singh, who has been in the field for 50 years, says, “Pottery has always been considered a craft. It wasn’t able to grow in India due to lack of facilities and equipment whereas elsewhere it was given equal footing with the arts. But now it is seen as fine art. We are developing a section on contemporary pottery. People are more conscious of pottery as an art.”

New techniques keep the public interested, with new finishes, shapes, uses or textures.

Arun Mukhuty, who teaches studio pottery at the Delhi Blue Pottery Studio and has his work on display here, says, “Pottery is now much more than just a product of the potter’s wheel. New techniques like crystal firing, chattering, and engobe (clay mixed with minerals) colouring allows us to innovate.”

Since the market demand supports varied forms of pottery, artists can experiment with items made with terracotta clay and ceramic, including ethnic pots, crockery, idols, wind chimes, wall hangings and vases. Divya Dandona, a management graduate who is now a full-time ceramic artist, says, “The market is growing. We get good returns during a sale, which wasn’t possible when I started off (in 2008).”

Practitioners also say that more people want to learn pottery. To meet this demand, Sanskriti Kendra, Crafts Museum, Lalit Kala Academy and Zorba the Buddha offer courses and workshops.

“Pottery is finally getting its due. When my father introduced studio pottery in India in 1952, it was tough to promote it as an art form. But now ceramic art has been accepted as a significant medium to express aesthetics. Young artists are now more interested in it, a rare thing just a few some years back,” says Singh.