BENGALURU : A slew of pottery workshops are listed starting April and going all the way to May end. Apart from the fact that pottery workshops are a way to pass time during summer vacations, Bengalureans have taken a liking to the art form, seeing a rise in the number of classes and workshops held in the city.
Ceramic artist Anubha Jaswal who heads the pottery studio at Lahe Lahe says, “Everybody is leading a hectic life. With pottery and clay, people are engaged in this elemental art form. It is physically laborious but mentally slows you down. Our finger tips have a lot of nerve endings that gets stimulated by clay. People open up, find it therapeutic as it is an expressive art form.”
Maya Babu, a potter who works with special needs kids, in both India and abroad says, “Pottery is therapeutic. It is the most forgiving of all arts. Even if I were to quash it, I can easily work on the same material again. Lot of special needs kids, cancer patients, students suffering from ADHD would come to the workshops. They would be restless initially. We give them their space for half hour. In a while, they also start to notice that something that does come out of the clay.”
“It brings out their curiosity. We work with different techniques, teaching them how to press, pinch, and so on and so forth. It is an exercise for joints and thumbs. The satisfaction is really high and there is a morale boost for kids and adults. The skin absorbs the minerals from the mud, which is a natural resource without toxins. It is like meditation, mellows them down and they don’t realise how time passes,” Maya adds.
Artists believe that while pottery was always in demand, the lack of studios in the city made it difficult to access costly equipment. The trend has now reversed as several cultural spaces have pottery studios. Kshitija Mitter, an IT professional who quit her job to take up pottery full-time says, “Earlier too pottery was there in Bengaluru but there were not too many open spaces at the time. In 2010, Clay Station started a studio and it made available the infrastructure including mechanised Potter’s wheel imported from Japan. The final pot or clay piece must be fired up in a kiln, a process called bisqueing. The kiln costs `1 lakh and the community pottery studios make it accessible for people.”
Right from couples, adults to parents accompanying kids, there are workshops for all age groups. Mansee, co-founder of Lahe Lahe says that they plan to have regular classes soon, owing to the number of interested participants.“We see that clay and pottery helps with therapy. That is why we decided to build a separate studio for it. It is a costly investment. We are bringing in two more potter’s wheels, and starting basic and advanced courses, with separate courses on glazing,” Mansee shares.