‘Life may be a lot complicated but what soothes your heart is the remedy for any possible problem, for me that has to be Pottery’, words like this from a dedicated artist defines a lot about the mesmerizing beauty of their art. Spinning wheel, moulding clay, heat flames turning a lump into art is what terracotta pottery somewhat looks like, but the hidden layers of this beautiful art are carved deep inside. IndoreHD tried to explore these layers with a wonderful and well-known ceramic artist from Indore, Ms. Mudhita Bhandari.
At least once in our lives, we have witnessed a beautiful clay model or a mural on the wall and sat on the ground awestruck saying , “Wow!”. Ms. Mudita Bhandari is that ‘Wow!’ creator. The medium she has chosen to reflect her perspective to rest of the world is Ceramics in the form of Terracotta pottery ,accompanied with earthy colours.
Presenting your art in front of its appreciators and observers is what tests their art and the artworks created by Ms. Bhandari in her raw ambient studio have been exhibited more than 50 times in past 18 years. Her solo exhibitions were also widely accepted and appreciated. Her thoughts are hanging in the form of artwork in various homes adding an earthen ‘wow’ factor there.
After completing her bachelor education from Shanti Niketan and masters from The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, Mudita’s thirst for knowledge and newer experiences have made her a part of many artistic tours where she explored the unseen sides of pottery and experimented her art with diverse resources from nature. Would you like to know what they were? Keep reading!
For an outsider, pottery can be considered as another medium through which an artist gives life to his creative imagination just like sculptures or paintings but for an artist, the definition cannot be summoned through words. When you decide to take up a chance with pottery, the first step is to connect your hands and soul with the clay. You work directly and up close with earth and nature on a very new level. For a true artist, this is an expression of connectivity with nature, satisfaction for soul and peace for the mind. While moulding a lump of clay into a thoughtful expression, a brain only focuses on the clay’s strength and its edges, the quantity of water, the binding capacity of clay and more importantly the shape and texture of his creation.
This process is never simple or quick, it requires patience, it requires understanding and it requires for you to find the hidden layers of your heart. For me, pottery has also worked as therapy and meditation and a way to forget about the busy run of life and get lost in time. With a moving potter’s wheel, there is a lump of clay that is getting a new definition from an artist’s imagination. An artist or not, once a person feels the clay, he experiences the joy of being with nature. And that is what it is for me.
The beauty of any creative field is that it does not have any closed walls. The world is an open space to explore, observe and witness the best and then leave it to my hands for the rest. My artwork is more precisely a reflection of my life phases. Life itself is showering ideas for you in the way of challenges or situations and so I prefer to pick them as the best clues for my artwork.
Sometimes when I feel the drift of life from open space to a closed one, my art reflects it. In the same manner, my artwork is a result of the best or the worst teachings from mine and my surrounding lives. Because every person sees his/her own life in an art piece, I design it as I want to feel it.
Recently I had a trip to Himachal for a new project. Obviously, my part of the project was to design the best of the natural clay available in those valleys. We as the artist got a glimpse of the environment and culture of that place and the localities of that village enjoyed the presence of so many creative minds. This project was like a fusion between the urban and rural world and more importantly different traditions merging together was the most exquisite part.
While working with the natural clay of that area, it seemed like a pretty different material and none of the bookish knowledge worked for me there. It was only my connectivity with the clay that helped me to complete the modelling part. While I was trying a small piece with the new clay, my first piece cracked during the drying process. Pottery includes a lot of technical aspects to understand the soil and heat it on the right temperature but we didn’t have any scientific measures to calculate it there in a nature-made setup. And that is when the traditionally tried and tested method of ‘Try and Pass’ worked. We all believed in our own instincts and nature and experimented with whatever we could possibly use. So when I noticed that it is cracking, I added the remains of the crops of flax seeds to bind it strongly and it worked magically. So it’s actually your belief and touch that shapes the form, rather than a studio full of tools.
A large percentage of people working with clay in this medium do not pursue pottery as a full-time career option. Majority of the community is working with some other earning source on the side. Very few have developed it as their life and career choice, like me. Ceramic art is now a well-recognized art form and even a career option but 20 years back this mind-opening art wasn’t even a part of career options. Thanks to growing minds and big hearts, this art is now recognized widely and with respect throughout India.
If your passion lies in raising a creation out of clay, the list of opportunities and ways to earn money is enormous. But even if you want to pursue it as therapy or just as hobby, it only demands some concentration and zeal!
This interview with a true aspiring ceramic artist was a doorway to the world of ceramics and pottery. We are very thankful to Ms. Mudita Bhandari (http://www.muditabhandari.com/index.htm) for sharing such a thoughtful insight with the world. To view her artworks in Indore you can visit “Sanchi” at hotel Sayaji.
She not only creates art but also believes in creating opportunities for budding artists and guide newcomers through the passage of this beautiful art in her well-equipped studio located on AB Road,Indore. Recently, a huge festival related to earthen and various other arts was organised under her guidance, by Mrs. Suchitra Dhanani which went viral with the name ‘Maati Festival’. Ms. Mudita believes that art is best explored when share! With that note, lets make more art!