In-Focus: Pottery, An Alternate Career Option

Posted on December 29, 2009 in Alternative Careers

Sahiba Singh:

Since the beginning of civilization, pottery played an integral part in our lives. From the kitchen to the temples, it was every where to be seen and it shaped our history.

But sadly, when it comes to fine arts, pottery has always been in the background as compared to more glamorous counter parts. Paintings draw in crowds at galleries and command skyrocketing prices. Their artists are treated like celebrities.

Sculptures inspire admiration and provide instant recognition to the artist. Pottery, instead, brings to mind utilitarian vases and tableware created by roadside sellers. We often buy pottery products after bargaining heavily.

Like any other art form, creating a simple earthen pot requires a great deal of hard work from the artisan.

But the perceptions of people are changing and now pottery is taken more seriously. There are regular exhibitions and workshops for promoting new talent. Now deserving artists are getting their due recognition.

In order to keep the rural pottery industry alive, many NGOs and state governments have tied up with artisans at various levels. They help the artisan to reach larger markets with competitive prices. This has helped to revive the dying art in India.

This career is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. It takes a lot of courage to take up your hobby as a career. You need immense determination and creativity to sustain in this art. There are some tremendous success stories of artists who have kept pottery alive and have shown that it can be rewarding financially as well.

P.R. Daroz, one of the foremost names in the art, has been working in ceramics for years. He specialized in clay designs from Baroda’s Maharaja Sayajirao University and ever since he has been creating sculptural pieces. He recently created a 50ft by 30ft ceramic mural for Mukesh Ambani’s corporate office.

Then there is Vineet Kacker, 42, ceramic artist who graduated with an architecture degree from Delhi’s School of Planning and Architecture and later traveled various parts of India to study from different artists. He has showcased his creations in numerous exhibitions all over the world. He has won numerous awards and honors. He was invited to Sweden to participate in the Indo-Swedish Glass Sambandh program.

There are many young artists who are doing some remarkable work. Thirty three-year old Keshari Nandan, for one, retails tableware and decorative items from stores like Fab India, but also does abstracts in his studio.

Deepti Gupta, 31, a ceramic artist, makes utilitarian items and figurative sculptures. “I also do ‘sgrassito’ work which involves etching and carving on semi-dried pots. I believe that pottery will get its due soon.”

With pottery emerging out from the rural areas to high class urban areas as a hobby and a career option, artists from all over the world are taking to this profession with keen participation. But even today it is a tedious task to find schools and colleges that specialize in teaching pottery.


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