The art of ceramics is an age-old skill that dates to 4000 BC, older than the early Harappan site of Rehman Dheri, which was dated to 3300 BC. Brahmdeo Ram Pandit, born in 1949, is the first Indian studio potter and craftsman, from Nawada Bihar, known for his expertise in making pottery.
The Chinese were the first to introduce high temperature kilns, capable of reaching up to 1350°C, and, around 600 CE, developed porcelain (a material with less than 1% porosity) from kaolin clay.
Many of us have ceramic cups and dishes, but when executed with the trained hands of a studio potter, creativity rides high on a flight of imagination and shines through.
“There is something magical about handmade pottery; nothing beats exquisite handmade pottery,” says potter Bipasha Sen Gupta, curator of the Happy Soul, Potters Fest Goa 2023 supported by Sara clay glazes and art suppliers.
However, these splendid works of art are largely available at high-end stores in posh locations with enormous price tags, and are accessible to a limited section of people.
Bipasha had this dream and vision of bringing products at an affordable price to Goa. “I believe in reviving the dying art in whatever little way I can and bring forth the world of studio pottery to the common man. People have woken up to the aesthetic value of pottery, which has always been considered more utilitarian. People are moving from plastic to ceramic. It is affordable and is food-safe. We do a lot of research on what clay, glazes and colours to work with, and many of us have studied ceramics and its dynamics,” says she.
The growing interest in the medium has also pushed a few traditional potters to innovate.
This event comprises several potters from around India, coming from different backgrounds, those who were chefs, software engineers, designers and HR professionals who quit their professions to pursue pottery.
Some went to Andretta Pottery in Himachal, Delhi Blue Pottery in Delhi to learn the finer nuances of the art form, and they are united by their love for clay. This event is an effort to extend a platform for potters to sell their wares and a learning process of an art that is the oldest in Goa.
“We must learn to sit back, enjoy and appreciate what is given to us, not destroy the environment and work towards a mindful living. Studio potters in Goa have been practicing this art for ages and we are trying to give them a platform to showcase their work and make a livehood,” Bipasha elucidates. She believes in reviving the dying art in whatever little way she can and bring it forth to the common man and patrons to encourage and appreciate the world of studio pottery.
The first exhibition (of potters from around India) in Goa was held in November 2021, in an endeavour in culmination of diverse decorative and utilitarian objects. People in Goa witnessed something huge under one roof, which was novel and at the same time it was empowering, and made a huge success which added a new dimension in tourism, art and culture.
“I am just another ceramist who is trying to bring the community to greater heights in my own small gesture and this is turning out to be a multi-cultural diversity, an eclectic mix of old and new potters brimming with great new ideas, philosophy and work,” Bipasha concludes.
Potters Fest Goa 2023 will be held from January 13 – 15 at Autumn Leaf Bistro, Assagao, Bardez. For details, contact +91 8375 804549 or +91 98995 55458