Textual content by Shirin Mehta. Images by Aditi Kapur. Styling by Sarah Rajkotwala. Artwork path by Aishwaryashree
Latika Nehra, 30
Ceramic Artist and Visible Designer
Why ceramics? What initially drew you to this artwork/craft kind?
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 artistic consolation and have been taking this pleasure moderately severely. Nevertheless it was in the summertime of 2020 when every thing 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 kind and house aren’t sidelined however assist in my course of.
What’s your means of creation, in bodily phrases?
I construct by hand and don’t use a wheel. I make use of coiling, the oldest approach for making pots, which is mainly making thick noodles of clay, laying them on prime of one another and merging them to construct the shape.
I largely hold 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’s nothing shiny or vibrant, the shape then is most dominant.
What conjures up your shapes and silhouettes? What do you attempt to seize in these silhouettes?
There undoubtedly are components 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 types are diminished 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 hardly ever keep on with them as a result of largely the clay does its personal factor.
Has the thought occurred that, working with mud and clay, you’re one way or the other tapping into the cycle of nature – of demise and regeneration?
I really feel I change into one with the fabric when I’m working. Generally I’m wondering if the article I’m making is a manifestation of my emotional state of that day.
I like to think about how clay is among the first supplies or media by way of which we communicated our tales, by way 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 depart behind to inform our tales to future generations. JPEGs? It’s in all probability not going to be clay, perhaps an entire lot of partially degraded plastic.
What position do artwork and design basically play in your life? Had been you launched to the advantageous arts by your mother and father?
I’ve no background in advantageous artwork and had no influences rising up. My father was a police officer and my mom labored as a schoolteacher. Nonetheless, I’ve essentially the most supportive household that tries to grasp what I do, and that was sufficient of a cause for me to maintain at it.
For the longest time, every thing I realized about artwork was by way of individuals who have been extra keen on it than me. My identification as an artist was solely formed as soon as I ended 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 if you work? Does your artwork inform your model in any manner?
I’ve some garments that I had saved separate for the studio, however now every thing is getting dusty and stained. Fairly actually, my artwork impacts my model.
Is there any type of conventional Indian ceramic creation that you simply love? That you just achieve inspiration from?
I’m very keen on conventional pottery methods and plan to make the examine of those an enormous a part of my journey. To be taught from craftsmen, to share and trade concepts from one another’s follow is priceless. It transfers information and opens many prospects each methods.
In March this yr, I labored in Jaipur with Ram Gopal Saini, a blue pottery artist. I learnt craft and construct my very own interpretations based mostly on my expertise there. In a manner, my works are a recent expression of that craft however under no circumstances do they try at being its new wave. The Indian craft sector is a really integral and very 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 likewise one which wants deep inquiry.
Has there been a defining artistic second in your life that informs all others?
Day-after-day builds as much as one thing.
Do you’ve a favorite piece that you’ve made?
Favorite works have at all times been those that didn’t prove precisely based on plan. Many instances, it occurs merely out of some error administration. For instance, if the clay is simply too moist and I’m constructing too quick, the piece begins to crumble. Now, I need to put it aside due to the effort and time I’ve put in, however there isn’t any manner it would appear to be what I had deliberate.
Is that this thrilling or upsetting?
It’s hardly upsetting; I do know when I’ve tousled. I’ll understand 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 need to be like that.
What are you experimenting with in the meanwhile?
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 huge a playground.
How do you title your items?
I do know immediately after I make a chunk what to name it. The types converse to me. Generally it modifications after firing as a result of firing can add an entire new persona to the work.
What are the feelings that feed your creativity?
Generally an anxious frame of mind can drive the velocity 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 centered and sedative course of. And but, I’m filled with concepts and daydreams, recalling reminiscences and making to-do lists.
How did the lockdown have an effect on your artistic course of?
I began doing ceramics throughout lockdown, so I might say it utterly affected my artistic course of. In some ways it introduced collectively all these facets of my life, like work and self-expression, that have been beforehand separate.