For the Sheer Joy of Carving…

 

Carved lantern, 2003

How did it begin? What inspired me to start carving my pots?  Well, when I think back, it tickles me to recall that the earliest motivation to carve pots, resulted from a need to be able to identify my beginning wheel thrown work, from shelves full of bisque ware (work done by other beginners such as myself).  All our pots looked startlingly similar. They were small, heavy and ugly!! The only way to identify one’s pot was to turn it over and look for the initials. Not wanting to waste precious studio time in hunting for my bisque pots, I started making marks on them for the purpose of easy identification. I  did not know then, that, what began as simple etch marks (for identification purposes) was to become an integral expression of my voice in clay.

Red Earthenware platter, intricately carved, 2003

I began by etching designs on my pots, using just a  pencil, which slowly led to a full blown exploration of relief carving. Soon I was carving because I wanted to, not because I needed to.

 And the designs came pouring out of my head; I could see that my Indian upbringing and the years I had spent surrounded by the rich arts and craft of my native country were to be my inspiration.
Red Earthenware Tea set, 2007

Over the years, as my work evolved, my carvings underwent a change too…sometimes being the focal point of a piece and at other times, just highlighting the profile of a piece. No matter the manifestation, I still find the process of carving as soothing and meditative as I did sixteen plus years ago.

Tree platter, mid fired black clay, 2013
Carved Tea set, mid fired black clay, 2013
Learning to Teach…Teaching to Learn…

A few years ago, when I was asked to do a carving workshop, I found the idea absolutely terrifying. The thought of demonstrating in front of a group of people  made me weak at the knees. I was  convinced that I would be terrible at it. So, sheepishly, I refused. However, the relief of having dodged the predicament was short lived, for soon I was landed into another situation that demanded a mandatory demonstration for being a show participant. Long story short, I was thrown into the deep end and all I cared for, was to somehow get through it. So, It was rather difficult to acknowledge to myself that it actually had been a pleasant experience. That, there was a deep satisfaction in sharing one’s knowledge with an enthusiastic audience, was a realization that took getting used to.

I have come a long way since then…so far along in fact, that I now, willingly host carving workshops at my studio…talk about transformation! I  just finished one last weekend, and I am still so charged and invigorated by the experience that I am inspired to share it.

It was an all day, hands on workshop with eight fantastic ladies who had driven from various cities of Texas, one coming from as far as Oklahoma!! What an honor. The agenda was to carve all day while enjoying the camaraderie of other clay enthusiasts and that’s just what we did!

Ready for the workshop…
Demo time…
Hard at work…

All that hard work deserves to be rewarded…so we relaxed over a home cooked meal…

The menu included Chicken  Curry…
Basil Pesto Pasta…
And of course dessert!!! Featured here: Dark Chocolate cake with home made Brown Butter Ice cream, topped with Hot Fudge and pecans!
Time to eat!
Followed by more carving!!!
Everyone’s work was so unique, expressing their individual personality. Some did abstract work…
while others focused on realistic subject matter…
It was positively inspirational!!
Working with this enthusiastic group has been an awesome experience. I made great friends and was inspired to try something new. So in the week following the workshop, I threw a thick walled piece and carved it with deep,bold patterns…something I hadn’t done before…
…and it made me very happy!!! 

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