Thursday, March 19, 2009

Indian Wedding

They sure are a grand affair! Lots of food, lots of people, great clothes, tons of color and great source of inspiration like the henna pattern above. I am sure this pattern will make it to some of my pottery soon.I was going through some pictures of my brother's wedding which happened in Dec'2007. I had to do a double take on this picture of my cousins standing on stage next to my brother and his wife. The colors, patterns, designs looked so similar to a recent picture of butter dishes I had taken. Looks like my butter dishes are off to a wedding too. Do you see the resemblance?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Interview with Craft Nation

I recently got interviewed with Crafty Nation and they posted the interview on their blog.

You can read it here as well.

Meet Crafty Nation Member CreativeWithClay: Interviewed by Christy Nelson

I conducted an email interview with Charan earlier this month as I was fascinated by his story and his work. Here you will find my questions with his responses in his own words. I've also included some pictures of his work found at his website and also his etsy shop. Please take a moment to go and look at the wonderful things he creates!

Crafty Nation: From reading on your website, I noticed that you had a passion for clay even before you had easy access to it. When you were first learning to throw and make pottery, was it your intention to turn it into a business?

CreativeWithClay: I had a passion for clay since I was a kid and I was always fascinated by three dimentional things and my ability to use what is made by hand. When I started learning how to throw and make pottery, it was almost as though I had been doing it for a long time. My instructor was sure that I had been throwing on the wheel before. It never occured to me that I would turn it into a business. It was something I was doing because my body was yearning to do it. I feel I have some clay in my veins and it just felt so right to be working in clay. I wasn't thinking that I am doing this so that I can start a business and make money from it. I am making pots because I am passionate about it and really enjoy it. I am very glad that I am following my passion and now selling pots and establishing a small business with it.

CN: What are some of your major design influences?

CWC: I was born in Kuwait and even though I was brought up there for a significant part of my life, we were very Indian at heart and visited India every year. We watched Indian movies (Bollywood movies) a lot at home especially with the harsh weather there. I moved back to India during the Gulf War, and I was always facinated by the colors, fabrics and designs I saw in India. My mom's family has a business in making beautiful Indian fabrics with gorgeous embroidery specailizing in Indian weddings. I believe that has a great influence on my work too. I strive to give life to clay, making it decorative with Indian influences keeping functionality in mind.

CN: I speak with a lot of artists and crafters and most have a hard time balancing making things they love and making things that other people love. How do you decide what to make and what to put into your etsy shop? Do you focus on your best sellers, continually make new pieces, or a combination?

CWC: I can understand the dilemma artists face regarding this. I have gone through those periods too, where I think I need to make what people like. The truth is that if you make something just because other people will buy it and not with real liking to make it, then you will find it very hard to sell. For artists I think it is very important to work from your heart. Make what your heart enjoys... make something that can give you goosebumps... make something that will make you jump with joy. If you create something with real passion, you will find it very easy to talk about it with your customers. People can tell you really enjoy what you made and are fascinated by your influences and ability to create. Selling becomes a lot easier, as you don't have to pretend any more.Like every artist, I do have best sellers. My Bollywood mugs, bowls and soap dishes sell very well online on etsy and in shows. I do focus on them, but I am always creating new work. Sometimes it is a design or glaze, sometimes a new decoration technique, sometimes it is a new form that I have never created before. Over the last year or so, I have started branching out and working towards sculptural work. I like the way my work transforms. I keep pictures of my work and it a great learning experience to see how work transforms,... still being my work and still being different.

CN: Thank you so much for your time and we wish you much success in the future! We'll be looking around Crafty Nation for future feature crafters. If you have something special to share with the community, let us know in the forums.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wine Bottle Stopper: New Item

I have been very excited with some new decoration techniques. I have shared pictures of some test tiles in my blog and I have finally got some finished pieces. I will keep posting new items, but for starters I have wine bottle stoppers.

A wine bottle is a great gift to give your friends and family. It says Happy Birthday, Best wishes to your new House, Happy Anniversary, or simply.. Thanks for having us over.

To make your wine bottle gift special, give this Unique Ceramic Wine Bottle Stopper, and your gift will never be forgotten. They make a great gift to yourself too. :)

Each stopper is unique, glazed with several glazes. These stoppers are carved and textured with different patterns on both sides, and fired multiple times with different glaze color layers to give them a very unique look. The patterns and colors are influenced by Indian fabrics, embroidery, designs and of course Bollywood movies.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Studio Floor

Clay is messy to work with, but all us potters love the medium. It can be hard to clean clay dust in a studio, but it should be cleaned as it isn't good for your lungs.
With all the work involved with making pots, decorating, firing, taking pictures, selling, shipping etc etc... there is little time left for cleaning the studio. when I set up my studio, I wanted to have a floor that was easy to clean. I had a concrete floor and I painted it with epoxy paint after etching and priming it. The result is really nice. You can see pictures of the process here.

Cleaning it is a breeze. To make sure I clean it on a regular basis, I clean the floor every time I do a glaze firing. Never Sweep! The clay dust would just rise up in the air. I just take a wet mop and move it around the floor. Then I take a squeegee and collect the messy water together and just pick it up with a big sponge. Done!

It has been more than 4 years since I painted my studio floor and the paint is still doing well. Only a few chips in one area where I tend to drop tools often. :)

I have been contacted by other potters too asking me what I have done with the floor. Recently I was contacted by Miri Hardy who lives in Puerto Rico. After some discussions, she finished her floor with soy based concrete stain and her floors look beautiful. Like a the surface of a terra cotta pot. It is always nice to see an artist's workspace. If you have links to pictures of your workspaces, put links in the comments. Along with me I am sure other artists would like to see as well. Here is my studio tour.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Holi - The festival of colors

As many of you know I am fascinated with colors and they always find a way in my pottery. So it just made sense for me to post something about Holi.
Holi also known as the festival of colors is a Hindu festival celebrated on full moon day in the month of Phalguna. It celebrates Friendship and is enjoyed by throwing coloured powder(gulal) and coloured water at each other. On the eve of Holi, people light bonfires which symbolize burning of the evil and victory of the good. It is an oppurtunity for friends to get together and have fun eating Holi delicacies, drinking bhaang and playing with colors.

In some states in India, a pot of buttermilk is hung high on the street and boys form a human pyramid to reach the pot and break it, all while the women throw coloured water at them and sing folk songs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Techniques in action

A while back I had shared my technique of making a slip decorating tool which was featured on Ceramics Arts Daily. Thank you all for writing back and commenting on my technique and giving it a try.
I follow the blog of Grace Sheese who does beautiful work with slip trailing. I have shared her work on my blog before and she too had said such wonderful things about my slip decoration technique. In one of her recent blogs she showed the stages of her pots as they reached completion. I was thrilled to see the mylar cones in the background that she was using for decoration. She adapted well to the cones and says that are a lot better on her hands than using bottles. Considering that as a testiment... I encourage other slip decorating potters to use the cones for decoration.


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