‘Creativity with Clay’ offers workshops and classes for ceramic lovers and amateur potters
Aparna Choudhrie from Vasant Vihar discovered her passion for pottery in 2004, when her friend suggested that she take up the art as a hobby to balance her stressful corporate life. After a few lessons with master potter Monica Grewal, she decided to start her own pottery studio, The Clay Company, in 2011.
Located in the bustling technological hub of Nehru Place, Choudhrie's studio offers workshops and classes for ceramic lovers and amateur potters. “It is a wonderful thing that ceramics have become functional today. What could be more beautiful than having art as an integral part of your daily routine? Bringing art into objects of everyday use helps achieve simple joys,” Choudhrie shared.
Expressing creative energy
As the pandemic outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns brought the entire world to a halt, The Clay Company started organising virtual sessions to keep the art of pottery alive. “These sessions are sort of therapy and help people deal with the pressure of these challenging times,” mentioned Shreya Kastuar, a pottery instructor, who has been teaching at The Clay Company since its inception. A similar virtual workshop for adults was organised on Friday evening.
The session, which began at 5:30pm, was led by Kastuar and overseen by Choudhrie. Titled ‘Creativity with Clay’, the workshop focused on the hand-building technique of slab-making to make platters designed with geometric patterns. “Hand-building techniques are very simple, and even a child can use them. Our challenge is to use this simple technique to make something that does not look like it is made by a six-year-old,” Choudhrie pointed out.
Four enthusiastic but amateur potters from different parts of the country attended this workshop from the safety of their homes. Mansi Shrivastav, who joined the class from Gurugram, shared with us how she always wanted to try her hand at pottery. “For some time now, I wanted to attend a physical class at the studio. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, it was impossible for me. I am glad that, with this online workshop, I am finally able to work with clay,” she shared.
Crafting magic with fingers
The bilingual workshop, which was conducted in English and Hindi, started with Kastuar introducing the participants to the material they received in the form of a kit (it had 1kg stoneware clay, a wire tool, a sponge, a few hand-building tools, and four colours for decoration). “Don't get distracted by the tools, your fingers are the best tools. You don't have to look for perfection when working with clay,” Kastuar shared.
Teaching the hand-building techniques of pinching, coiling, and slab-making, Kastuar deftly led the amateurs through their building process. The students used a number of household objects such as leaves, strings, and even doilies to craft designs on their projects. Venturing beyond the conventional, Arjun Pandey, who had joined the session from Gurugram, decided to create scenery out of clay. “The slab for me is a water body, and I have attached a small watchtower and a little boat made out of clay on it,” he stated while describing his work.
Barring the occasional network and connectivity issues, the workshop was an immersive experience. Punctuated by quips and jokes at intervals, the experience was similar to an in-person studio session. “Working with clay is as much an individual process as it is a community endeavour. In fact, it can be a powerful way of enhancing some very important human behaviours: team work, creative thinking, project management, etc.” concluded Choudhrie.
CHECK IT OUT
For all pottery enthusiasts, The Clay Company is hosting two more workshops for adults and children on February 4 and 5. Unlike the workshop for adults, the children’s workshop will focus on how to create different birds and animals out of clay.