She taught her craft to the royal family of UAE and is here to teach you how to work up magic in ceramic. The Guide tries and tests a session
Deftness of hand isn't one of my strong points and art and craft classes back in school were time to sneak in a book.
Being a scribe has, in the past, made me explore many such areas of personal unpleasantness. So here I was, before a large table with a warm, sincere-looking woman greeting me.
Mallika Paul shows her students how to make a ceramic petunia
She was surrounded by a bunch of students and seemed to be working on something exciting with near microscopic particles.
Further introductions led me to meet the inanimate in the room- Thai clay, moulds, paint tubes, palettes and some more.
A basket full of petunias in violet and pink lay derelict in a corner of the room. A few unfinished ceramic flowers were suspended upside down from metal wires that ran on top.
The class I attended was for petunias. Armed with little boxes of white clay, the students were soon rolling the clay out, kneading droplets of paint and following instructions that sounded like those from a forgotten botany class.
"Art and craft have always been my forte. I started out with painting as a child and always wanted to learn a specialised craft", says Mallika Paul, the instructor.
Hailing from Thrissur, Paul took her artistic streak seriously and decided to take up a course in Sugarcraft and Bread making in the UK at a much later stage. "Sugarcraft was something I had always wanted to learn, but homemaking took up most of my time. Once my children grew up I knew I had to go learn", says Paul.
Learning the art led to newer possibilities and Mallika began experimenting with different media to create the same in a way that would last longer.
"I tried out ceramic powder and glue. Later on I tried Thai clay and realised the same art could be created effectively with this medium", she says.
She later went on to start an arts centre in Sharjah where she was living. "I have been teaching ceramic flowers, painting, metal embossing, sugar craft and more for 25 years," she tells us.
The workshop is conducted over a period of five days, with three hour sessions each day. The classes are conducted in groups and you learn techniques to create a variety of ten different English flowers with flattened Thai clay and the use of moulds.
The flowers involve intricate work in clay with swift strokes as the clay dries up on exposure to air and due to pigmentation with added colour.
The flowers are dried by hanging them inverted on a metal line. Once dry, clay is used to attach a calyx and pollen. The flowers, when finished, have similarity to the real ones. Paul will also be starting sugarcraft classes in town. All the classes require registration in advance.
Call 9945178000 for workshop details
For Rs 2,500 for introductory batch