Textual content by Shirin Mehta. Pictures by Anish Fnu. Styling by Sarah Rajkotwala. Artwork route by Aishwaryashree
Rajvi Mehta, 31
Textile Guide and Potter
Working with tactile supplies has at all times introduced me pleasure. First it was textiles, so I spent 5 years on the Nationwide Institute of Design [NID], Ahmedabad, finding out weaving, printing, dyeing, cloth manipulation, floor building, and many others. In 2014, I joined Wari Watai, Bangalore, as a senior textile designer. In the direction of the tip of my four-year tenure, I did a challenge utilizing stoneware with Minim Design. Working with clay once more and the fascinating adjustments that it goes by from uncooked to completely fired, prompted me to try studio pottery.
I had the chance to be skilled as a studio potter beneath Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith at Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry in 2019. I now seek the advice of as a textile designer, primarily within the house linen area, and run a pottery studio, making useful ware.
What’s your technique of creation, in bodily phrases?
I wish to throw items, slightly than hand construct. I’m experimenting with creating a couple of glazes of my very own, however principally use prepared ones. I attempted to make use of what was out there once I began my apply. It was a technique of what you are able to do with what you could find. Slowly, I see a mode rising that’s pushing me to experiment extra on this route – on the lookout for native clay, uncooked supplies and many others.
I really like faceting my items and am working in the direction of including extra textures to my record of visible therapies. Delicate glazes and easy however useful varieties are what I usually lean in the direction of.
What evokes your shapes and silhouettes? Do you sketch these earlier than you begin or glide?
Plenty of my inspiration comes from the issues that I noticed whereas I used to be studying. Typically, at a chai stall or retailer, I might see one thing and assume, Hey, I ought to attempt making this. I draw out the varieties in a e book, do a couple of trials, and see what comes naturally to me once I throw multiples. The sketch turns into a place to begin, and a kind develops as I maintain attempting the identical factor again and again. In the mean time, I’m actually having fun with throwing tumblers with broad bottoms.
What has the method of making from clay/mud been like for you?
At Pondicherry, I skilled the journey of an object, the sculpting of a fabric to make a kind. I am going again to this always, as it’s my level of reference, my first coaching. Fibres will be woven, felted, crocheted and handled to create textures. Clay will be malleable or inflexible similarly, and the parallels between them excite me. Paper, cloth and clay – all of them have such a wealthy objective, historical past and shut relationship with the fingers of the maker.
Did you at all times have a need to create, at the same time as a toddler?
I’ve realised that when I’m not engaged on consumer tasks in textiles or making pots, I are likely to spend time within the backyard – repotting, checking for bugs, including compost…. There are lots of “house enchancment” tasks which can be always within the pipeline – like making macrame hangers for pots or stitching new curtains! I suppose that additionally comes from watching mum round the home always fixing issues and enlisting our assist as children.
What function do artwork and design basically play in your life? Does your work faucet into childhood recollections in any manner?
My mum has been fairly an inspiration, together with my grandmum. They taught me at a really younger age to knit, crochet, paint, sew, embroider and usually make issues alone. My dad made positive we travelled nearly yearly to some new metropolis or nation. There, we’d go to museums, markets, roadside gala’s. My mum would cease to see how an artisan was making his wares, at all times curious, asking many questions. I suppose her inquisitiveness made me pause and really concentrate.
What would you usually put on while you work?
I put on essentially the most snug on a regular basis garments like a delicate cotton T-shirt and a few stretchy pants, with a potter’s apron my mum stitched for me.
What’s your private fashion like exterior of labor? Does your artwork inform your fashion in any manner?
I assume I’ve gotten very used to solely sporting garments that I really feel utterly snug in. The lockdown made it simpler to stay to this routine. So, you’ll principally discover me in lengthy skirts or easy cotton attire. Or pyjamas and T-shirts! Additionally, contemplating I work carefully with materials, I have a tendency to select up completely different woven or printed cotton materials wherever I am going, which I’ve stitched into easy silhouettes.
Is there any type of conventional Indian ceramic creation that you just love? That you just acquire inspiration from?
One Diwali, I got here throughout a beautiful wheel-thrown diya with a glass prime. I’ve tried to take that ahead and made my model of a tea mild holder. However total, I really feel the necessity to do much more analysis on the numerous conventional, historic types of pottery and sculpture.
Do you’ve gotten a favorite piece that you’ve got made? Why do you adore it greater than others?
I attended a workshop the place a ceramicist from New Zealand, Elena Renker, confirmed us learn how to make pots utilizing the Kurinuki technique. A set of bowls I made then have utterly modified my notion of what hand-building strategies can obtain. They’re mild, however have a solidity to them, the distinction being merely lovely.
Do the items at all times end up the way in which you imagined?
Each kiln opening is a shock. And truthfully, at first look I by no means like every of my items. It takes me a while the place I sit with it, stare at it, transfer it round in numerous settings in the home, see it in numerous lights, after which it begins to develop on me.
What are you experimenting with in the mean time?
I’m attempting to give you a workable clay physique utilizing damaged, fully-fired ceramic ware floor into powder. Fired ceramics don’t degrade in any respect. That’s the reason that we uncover pottery in archaeological websites. My long-term purpose is to make use of as a lot native or recycled materials within the clay or glazes to cut back the consequences this course of has on the earth.
What are the feelings that feed your creativity?
I must be at peace with myself, physique and thoughts, to have the ability to create. It’s one of many causes I’ve taken up gardening, rising my very own meals, and yoga. I make my very own kombucha and maintain attempting issues to enhance total well being. For fairly a while, I didn’t take note of the indicators the place my physique and thoughts have been asking me to decelerate, be just a little mild with them. However, effectively, it’s by no means too late!
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