Textual content by Shirin Mehta. Images by Aditi Kapur. Styling by Sarah Rajkotwala. Artwork course by Aishwaryashree
Latika Nehra, 30
Ceramic Artist and Visible Designer
Why ceramics? What initially drew you to this artwork/craft type?
My skilled background is in Visible Design. I went to the Nationwide Institute of Design [NID], Ahmedabad, and I’ve labored for nearly 10 years as a graphic designer in India and Germany.
I’ve additionally been experimenting for my very own inventive consolation and have been taking this pleasure relatively critically. However it was in the summertime of 2020 when the whole lot was shutting down, and thus additionally the corporate I used to be employed at in Berlin, that each one these items I used to be doing alongside actually got here to the centre of my life. My years of graphic design practices of type and house will not be sidelined however assist in my course of.
What’s your strategy of creation, in bodily phrases?
I construct by hand and don’t use a wheel. I make use of coiling, the oldest method for making pots, which is principally making thick noodles of clay, laying them on high of one another and merging them to construct the shape.
I principally maintain my vessels unglazed as a result of I like uncooked, grainy textures. I really feel it brings out this sense of being near the bottom, the soil, or to different naturally discovered surfaces. And since there may be nothing shiny or vibrant, the shape then is most dominant.
What evokes your shapes and silhouettes? What do you attempt to seize in these silhouettes?
There positively are parts of human movement that I seize in my vessels. I discover myself experimenting with volumes, like an expression for limbs or constructing curves that may characterize the posture or stance of an individual.
Some varieties are lowered to simply an essence, like that of the leap of a rabbit or some are exaggerated just like the chaos contained in the washed-out cavities of seaside cliffs. I do make sketches however not often follow them as a result of principally the clay does its personal factor.
Has the thought occurred that, working with mud and clay, you might be in some way tapping into the cycle of nature – of demise and regeneration?
I really feel I grow to be one with the fabric when I’m working. Typically I ponder if the article I’m making is a manifestation of my emotional state of that day.
I like to think about how clay is likely one of the first supplies or media by means of which we communicated our tales, by means of the pots, clay tablets and artefacts which have survived until date. I discover that reality fairly exceptional. I additionally take into consideration what artefacts we would go away behind to inform our tales to future generations. JPEGs? It’s in all probability not going to be clay, perhaps a complete lot of partially degraded plastic.
What function do artwork and design generally play in your life? Have been you launched to the fantastic arts by your dad and mom?
I’ve no background in fantastic artwork and had no influences rising up. My father was a police officer and my mom labored as a schoolteacher. Nevertheless, I’ve probably the most supportive household that tries to grasp what I do, and that was sufficient of a purpose for me to maintain at it.
For the longest time, the whole lot I discovered about artwork was by means of individuals who have been extra focused on it than me. My identification as an artist was solely formed as soon as I finished being influenced by exterior components, tendencies and different such market calls for on my artwork and I actually started to place within the hours to do my very own factor.
What would you usually put on once you work? Does your artwork inform your fashion in any approach?
I’ve some garments that I had saved separate for the studio, however now the whole lot is getting dusty and stained. Fairly actually, my artwork impacts my fashion.
Is there any type of conventional Indian ceramic creation that you just love? That you just achieve inspiration from?
I’m very focused on conventional pottery strategies and plan to make the examine of those an enormous a part of my journey. To study from craftsmen, to share and alternate concepts from one another’s follow is priceless. It transfers data and opens many prospects each methods.
In March this 12 months, I labored in Jaipur with Ram Gopal Saini, a blue pottery artist. I learnt craft and construct my very own interpretations primarily based on my expertise there. In a approach, my works are a recent expression of that craft however on no account do they try at being its new wave. The Indian craft sector is a really integral and intensely ingrained a part of our society. Artists and designers are available and provides their two cents, however to attempt to rework it’s a mammoth activity and in addition one which wants deep inquiry.
Has there been a defining inventive second in your life that informs all others?
Each day builds as much as one thing.
Do you’ve gotten a favorite piece that you’ve got made?
Favorite works have all the time been those that didn’t end up precisely in response to plan. Many occasions, it occurs merely out of some error administration. For instance, if the clay is just too moist and I’m constructing too quick, the piece begins to disintegrate. Now, I wish to reserve it due to the effort and time I’ve put in, however there is no such thing as a approach it should seem like what I had deliberate.
Is that this thrilling or upsetting?
It’s infrequently upsetting; I do know when I’ve tousled. I’ll comprehend it earlier than it goes into the kiln for firing. So, when it comes out cracked, I’ll bear in mind what horrible temper I used to be in whereas making it or that I used to be in an excessive amount of of a rush. That’s the factor with ceramics, it teaches you to do issues slowly and be affected person and I like that as a result of I wish to be like that.
What are you experimenting with in the mean time?
Glazes. There are such a lot of methods to color — engobes, underglazes, pigments — and all of them produce totally different outcomes. It’s thrilling however intimidating as a result of it’s so broad a playground.
How do you identify your items?
I do know immediately after I make a bit what to name it. The varieties converse to me. Typically it modifications after firing as a result of firing can add a complete new persona to the work.
What are the feelings that feed your creativity?
Typically an anxious frame of mind can drive the pace up and down when I’m hand-building.
I wouldn’t say it’s like meditation as a result of that requires emptying oneself from thought. However when I’m working, there’s a laborious calm; it’s a targeted and sedative course of. And but, I’m stuffed with concepts and daydreams, recalling reminiscences and making to-do lists.
How did the lockdown have an effect on your inventive course of?
I began doing ceramics throughout lockdown, so I might say it fully affected my inventive course of. In some ways it introduced collectively all these facets of my life, like work and self-expression, that have been beforehand separate.
Subsequent: Puja Rao