“During my Bachelors in Product Design, for one of my college assignments I used clay for making a prototype. That was my first introduction to the medium and I enjoyed the malleability and tactility it had to offer. But my bigger introduction to ceramics as an art/craft medium was during my Masters in Visual Arts at Camberwell College of Arts, University of The Arts London.”
Kriti Chaudhary reminisces about her tryst with ceramics during her product design days and gives us an introduction on how it became a full-fledged affair.
During her Masters, Kriti was invariably drawn to the works of artists like Jennifer Lee, Gordon Baldwin and Helen Carnac. The unglazed ceramic surface, the tactility and the character it offered enticed her and she started experimenting and working with clay in a very intuitive manner. One look at her work and it recreates an aura of nostalgia and puts you in a solicitous mood.
The inspiration for a large part of Kriti’s work was derived from a collection of polished rock-cut stones gathered by her grandfather, who was a hobby collector. The strong force of nature was so evident in these relics that one could visually map the capacity of nature to shape these stones. The colours, lines and surface markings in Kriti’s ceramic pieces attempt to visually interpret these forces of nature and time.
For anyone who thinks designing such caricatures in clay is an easy task, think again! In an age dominated by machines where automated quick fixes define efficiency – for such creative offerings it’s a matter of experimentation, patience and appropriate material which renders it the recognition it deserves.
Fossils and Tracing Time, a series of work executed by Kriti has garnered a lot of attention. This series draws inspiration from the natural processes around us like erosion and changes through time and nature. The marks and traces left behind by these natural geological processes are evident in these creations. Fascinated by the varied land forms created by erosion and deposition over the course of time, Kriti strives to evoke these ideas in her work.
The pieces in the Fossils and Tracing Time series involves a deliberate non-use of glaze in an attempt to achieve a more natural look and retain the surface quality of clay. The ceramic pieces are mostly wheel thrown or press moulded to develop a certain surface.
The ceramic products in this series are mostly customised in sizes for interested buyers. There isn’t usually a strict timeline, given the nature of the craft. But generally speaking, a time of around 20 days is decent enough for delivery.
A good look at the ceramics designed by Kriti and you would not fail to notice unique markings on the objects – these are imparted using alternative firing techniques like ‘smoke pit’ and ‘saggar’. The clay surface is subjected to various elements like heat, smoke, oxides and other combustible materials; the markings of line and colour are obtained using metallic oxides, cloth, wire, organic materials, etc.
This artist’s pieces espouse nostalgia and the manufacturing process itself is reminiscence of the stresses and strains which personifies a human life. Kriti’s studio is based out of Asola near Chhatarpur and visitors are usually welcome to come around.
Text By Vikas Bhadra