Uppla Firing Workshop
This is a rare experience, which happens when we have above 100 pieces at a time. This time when we were ready with 140 raw creations by the students, we arrived at a date n venue after months of hustling. Studio 78, is the first Studio in India to have initiated this firing.
Assembled at 9.30. ‘Japphis’ ,hugs was the way to welcome, everyone was happy n brightly dressed ,waiting to experience their Lifetime joy. The bed of Uplas (cow dung cakes) was made, pieces arranged, covered by Uplas again. The excitement, agility, joy and excellent Team-Work, made the whole process interesting and fun.
Once the Bhatti was lit, it was covered by hay, and then wet mud . While the process was on the shutterbugs of our ace Photographers, Nutan and Neha were on and produced awesome results . Cake, snacks , drinks did rounds - making sure the energy level was maintained .
All came up to the drawing room, clicked pics, again, some ‘khana-peena’, introductions, experience sharing and some useful talk on pottery !! Right from 14 yrs to 75 yrs all participated -varied backgrounds, professions, views-- nothing came in the way of our bonding and the joy of togetherness.
This is what Meena Vohra wants to propagate--" Besides learning the art form of pottery , we all must learn the lesson of Life from Clay and try to be better human beings."
The guard on duty was the teacher- adding of Uplas or mud, making sure that the flame keeps alive for at least 10 hrs at a stretch. Nutan came in the evening and we clicked n enjoyed seeing that rare sight of Deep Red Glow in those grey n black ashes.
Next morning we were back on the sight to dig out our treasures. Oh my God , how beautifully the raw clay overnight became so, so, awesome, with shades of pink, red, grey , black ,peach and brown.
Celebration was in the air !!! Such is the result of passion, love, togetherness, team work , hard work and a desire to learn something different , something new. This experience has taught all of us not only how to fire our pottery pieces without the modern kiln , but also to appreciate the basics, the joy of celebrating life with clay, to always love what one is doing. Yay !!! Till we meet for another pyaar ki bhatti !!!!
Beautifully Expressed By A Student - Deeksha
My feelings :)
Tryst with the wheel ----
Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is never easy. My life, over the last few years, has revolved around numbers, data and lots of research. I have also successfully earned the title of being the least creative person in my close group of friends, so much so that they wouldn’t let me get anywhere near their wedding preparations: P. So when I took the decision of learning pottery and exploring my creative side I didn’t expect to sustain for more than two classes. I told Meena Aunty, my inspiring pottery teacher, about this creative handicap and she told me not to worry. The journey from then to now has been exhilarating. I was cognizant of the fact that many memories will be created while learning this new form of art but didn’t realize that there will be days that will leave a deep impression on my heart and soul. One such day was my first day on the wheel. The act of creating beautiful pieces of pottery on this mundane looking equipment has always intrigued me. So, when I finally got a chance to spend a day on the wheel and create something of my own, feeling of ecstasy surrounded me. What everyone saw next was a rare visual (as described by Meena Aunty) at Studio 78. Minutes into the session I could feel a strong connect with the wheel. Soon this connection translated into synchronized and nonchalant movements of my fingers wrapped around the clay-cladded wheel. The next 3 hours were, perhaps, the most unadulterated hours of my adult life, with perfect harmony between the heart and brain, both witness to the magic being created. There were no insecurities, fears, expectations or any points to prove. The wheel and I became each other’s guide. If I faltered and mistakenly sabotaged my piece, the wheel would lead me to improving it. Similarly, if the wheel lost balance, I would get it to listen to me. Soon enough, I was also able to draw parallels between life and pottery. While rising and falling of the cone reminded me of the ups and downs of life, being able to mould the clay to create whatever the heart desired made me feel powerful and reinstated in my head the famous saying that life is what you make it. The unexpected tears in the clay reminded me of the numerous surprises, good or bad, life can throw at us. And being able to create something with less than handful of clay was an apt reminder that one can rewind and restart in life even if the chips are down. By the end of this extremely personal rendezvous, I had no tangible creation but the gratifying memories and numerous life learnings that will be ingrained in my soul forever. Next time when you get on the wheel, remember not to stress about getting a physical output instead try connecting with your inner self. In this world where life and happiness is increasingly measured by one’s tangible achievements, make sure to break free from this notion. Surrender yourself to the experience and see the magic being created!
My experience with pottery:
Any experience i believe comes with a will,In other words a simple willingness to learn and explore new things, this was the start of my new journey in an old city. I came back to Delhi thinking it will be same what i would have left couple of years ago , old friends, old places, but everything changed , friends moved out , old adha turned into cool cafes.etc So now all by my self i thought its time to learn a new art form and Pottery stuck me, couple of website search made me land up at Meena Vohra Pottery classes in Noida. A beautiful experience playing with clay and it was more amazing when i actually sat on the wheel for the first time. She made it a life learning experience, something which will stay for a long time with me . Thank you Meena, and a gentle reminder i have few classes left, which i am gonna come back and do it sometime next summers, because its always fun talking to you. Also a special thanks to people I met in class.