I pinch the clay absently as my mind wanders to other tasks. “Mindfulness please mindfulness!!” Tania’s loud cheery voice calls out to me breaking my reverie. She reminds me that a single air bubble in the clay could ruin the piece I am setting out to make. Shweta looks up from the wheel as her hands effortlessly mold that squishy wet lump into an elegant vase and smiles. I grin and get back with more focus. Their studio has become my refuge from the pushy world filled with schedules and deadlines. One forgets to look at the time. Students will tell you how they step in just to relax for an hour and they never realized it stretched into 3 or 4. In our hearts we thank them not just for mentoring us into this amazing craft but never rushing us when we stay longer.
From humble origins in a cramped but extremely cozy one room studio, Tania and Shweta have expanded into a large airy studio with multiple wheels and a kiln and oh so much work space! (let’s not forget the coffee/tea lounge space next to the balcony!) Tania and Shweta were inspired to name their studio PADME HUM, aptly so as Padme means lotus flower and hum stands for the spirit of enlightenment. The lotus symbolizes both beauty and wisdom as derived from the lotus glowing even in the midst of murky waters.
Tania and Shweta have a large and growing gaggle of students from all walks of life who find their avenue of expression in clay. Most of us entering thinking it is about taking a lump of clay and shaping it into what takes our fancy. Little did we know the vast journey of learning that we were setting out upon.
Clay as novices find, is both a forgiving and demanding medium. For hand-building projects it starts with kneading the clay by slowly pinching it to form a rough slab. One then shapes it into a ball by knocking it from palm to palm to be followed by rolling it out. Mind the air pockets which have to be poked. Then begins the journey of creation. Bas-reliefs, coiling pinching, slabwork….. Watching your creation blossom from shapeless mass to form and then undertake an ordeal by fire to emerge perfect and vibrant has been awe-inspiring and so so satisfying! As for the wheel.. well more on that next time. Join us!
Written By.... Vasu Krishnan