KOCHI: For advertising professional Jimmy Johns, a resident of Edappally, clay modelling is a passion. Jimmy has been working in advertising for 12 years, and has been associated with around 300 ad shoots. But in 2012, he ventured into clay modelling, which is an extension of his creative side.
“I used to deal with the creative and graphic side of advertisements. So my work was always related to colour compositions. Being in that for long, I was always urged to get into product designing. Most of them do the design on canvas or frames. I wanted to try something versatile, which is connected to the ground. That’s how the idea of clay modelling sprouted in my mind and I started by making clay pots,” says Jimmy.
He asserts that there are different types of sand and clay used for clay modelling. So he spent nearly six months researching this before he started work. “I studied the works in depth. In 2013, I conducted my first exhibition at the Lotus Club, Kochi. The products got the attention of the audience and I was soon offered another exhibition,” he adds.
In the beginning, Jimmy used to undergo a preproduction stage before the pots were made. “It was like a trial and error method. The product I intend to make was first graphically designed. This gave an idea of the colour combinations and how the final product looked like. Only then would I start working on the pots. The acrylic paints are directly imposed on the pots.”
What is the biggest challenge while making the pots? “Of course, it is to design the products which we visualise in mind,” he says. According to him, the sand used plays a pivotal role in designing. “The sand comes from places like Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru. The sands differ in their gradient and strength,” he says.
After 2014, he took a sabbatical from exhibitions. He started an ad company and was focussed on that. However, in 2016 his clay pots were displayed at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Jimmy got good feedback from the audience. He was back with another exhibition at Pepperfry studio in March 2019. “I was doing a collection while I took a break. Around 150 exhibits were featured. Along with clay pots, miniature products were also at display. The exhibition which went on for 45 days gave me a unique experience.”
He says he does not use the graphical trial and error method and directly gets into designing pots. “The processing time for a pot work is nearly 16-20 days. Designing also helps me in the advertising field. Though clay pots were already in the market, the uniqueness we bring to our designs make people curious.”
Jimmy is planning another exhibition at the same time this year. “Clay pots aren’t an essential item at home. So my next exhibition will have lights installed in pots. The pot works are stressful at times, but I enjoy doing it.”