Crafts do enthuse and inspire people – be it painting, music or pottery. Yet, pottery stands apart for its fragility and utility value. Pottery and its invention was a milestone in the human growth but its demand fell with the discovery of metals and polymers. Traditional potters lost their job and many of them embraced other professions. Still, pottery survived all the tides and the craft kept asserting itself on a parallel path.
Interestingly, pottery and ceramics rule the latest home decor arena. Studio pottery, a field where art meets craft, has lured the hearts of home decor connoisseurs in Kerala. Customized ceramic table-ware, kitchen and garden ware, wall-pieces and what not! Studio pottery is there everywhere.
Utility-based designer ceramic ware
According to Anu Cheeran, a budding studio-potter hailing from Thrissur, the increasing environmental awareness and the urge of people to return to nature has triggered the demand for pottery again. She owns a designer brand of studio pottery and ceramic ware called The Little Goldfish. Anu specialises in customized tableware, like designer ceramic plates, coffee mugs, jars, saucers and wall-pieces.
“At first, people hesitated to accept that these customized ceramic utensils are for serving food. They believed ceramic pottery is only art and not craft. But of late, I have started getting orders to manufacture kitchen and tableware. I manufacture ceramic tableware that can be heated over oven. You may very well put them to use. Yet, it has a high art-value too,” she explains.
For Anu, pottery goes hand-in-hand with nature. It is organic and disposable, yet reusable and hard.
Anu is a graduate in industrial designing from Allahabad school or designing. Her father Varghese Cheeran is a chartered accountant and mother Mini, a housewife. Anu owns two studios, one in Thrissur and the second, at Kakkanad. She also conoducts workshop for aspiring studio-potters in her Kakkanad studio.
Art-pottery, a burgeoning decor trend
When utility ceramic ware is vividly building demand, art-pottery is not slowing down too. Jayan, a studio potter and chief designer at TerraCrafts, Kochi, says that non-utility pottery is also high on demand in home decor area. Jayan manufactures garden ware – like urns, planters, garden-chairs and flower-vases. Having an upper hand in non-ceramic pottery, Jayan says that the value of art-pottery has increased in the wake of biennale. Earthen themes for living rooms and kitchens is the latest trend. Right from wall-hung sculptures, urns, jars and vessels to show-pieces for display-cases, people are all for pottery.
Jayan, 54, left his job to revive his family buisiness in the field. Though his art-pottery did not yield enough profit in the beginning, he persevered to become one of the highly-earning art-potters in Kochi.
While mud-houses and brick-homes conquer the realm of architecture, pottery adorns show-cases, walls, kitchens, gardens and dining tables of innumerable modern houses.