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Pottery in motion

22 leading potters from across the city will showcase their ceramic artefacts at the event Cerafest — Celebrating Studio Pottery

Pottery is considered to be one of the oldest forms of art, attested by the numerous vessels and tools unearthed from excavation sites across the world. The process behind making these artefacts is also shrouded in mystery, with each piece emerging from the kiln slightly different though the process is similar. Witness the magic of this craft by dropping in at Cerafest — Celebrating Studio Pottery, an event that aims to bring studio potters into the mainstream of visual arts and give the craft its due.

Kettle purse by Shalan Dere; (below)  Ceramic angels and dolls
Kettle purse by Shalan Dere; (below)  Ceramic angels and dolls 

The exhibition will feature works by 22 pottery artists including Sandeep Manchekar, Shalan Dere, Anshu Dorairaj and Vanmala Jain, among others. Some of the artists are professionally trained while others are self-taught.

Potter around
The exhibits will feature functional ceramics as well as abstract and figurative sculptures. The product range includes ceramic vases, soup bowls, plates, jugs and mugs, colourful miniature magnets, planters, lamps and tealights. There will also be beautiful tableware, one-of-a-kind platters, interesting sculptures, masks,
jewellery and miniature art.

Ceramic angels and dolls

The exhibition will also allow viewers to get behind the potter’s wheel through workshops and training sessions.

Speaking about the event, participating studio potter Raja Mohanty, a professor at Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay, explains, “Studio potters used to get together for the Potters’ Market during the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Getting space during the event has been difficult and there was no such market this year.

Cerafest seeks to start an annual gathering of studio potters in Mumbai. This would be an opportunity to share their work with people, connect with each other, and with visitors.”

Clay chronicles
Self-taught studio potter Shalan Dere adds that the primary idea is to increase the level of awareness about studio pottery, studio ceramics, and create acceptance for ceramic as an art form: “Unless people are informed, ceramic artists cannot expect appreciation from the public. We plan to make it an annual event in Mumbai and it will be held in October 2015 at the same venue.”

An exhibit  by potter Shayonti Salvi
An exhibit by potter Shayonti Salvi

Mohanty emphasises on why this event matters: “The difference between a machine-made pot and a pot made by hands is the difference between machine-made chai, and handmade chai.”

Dere shares that every piece is handcrafted and exclusive. “Apart from the artists’ creativity, the results depend upon the mercy of the fire god, and hence, uncertainty is a part of this art. Exact duplication is almost impossible.”

Dere further elaborates on the challenges involved: “A potter must know the composition of clay, how firing will affect work and how to handle the piece so it doesn’t get fragmented. Chemistry is involved in making glazes and the firing process is another science. The fragility of clay is the basic challenge to every potter.”

Till November 2, 11 am to 7 pm
At Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Fort.
Email cerafest2014@gmail.com to register for the workshops

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