The other day, I got unintentionally enrolled into a clay workshop that was being held in the city. I reluctantly agreed to go.
I reminisced about the time we played with clay as kids … we would find small lumps of clay in the heap of sand when there was a construction going on in the neighborhood. We would collect them and give them different shapes, based on our imagination. Those were the days when Barbie was not born – or may be still unknown to us. Though I was fascinated by the artists who created beautiful dolls from clay, I had no experience with making these dolls except those during my childhood.
Now I was suddenly enrolled in a workshop! The day dawned, and as I reached the venue, I saw that 99% of the participants were kids. I felt like I had landed on the wrong planet, and was almost about to turn back when I saw a couple of ladies enrolling for the same. This gave me some relief that I had not entered kindergarten at middle age.
The programme started with some games and kid talk, which again was a pricking to the senses – ‘Am I in the wrong place?’ Later they distributed the clay. And that was when I was transported to a different world. I was oblivious to my surroundings and gleefully put my hands into the soft clay. The clay beautifully refused to obey my every whim and fancy … whatever I wanted, was there for me to create. But with some effort! And if I didn’t like the image, I could re-mould and create a new pattern. The rule here was to create the image before the clay hardened. That was the only criterion. Time flew, and hunger forgotten. Kids and grownups alike, were all engrossed in the simple act of moulding clay. And I could see that each person was enjoying every minute of it. Happy place, happy people.
At the end of the session, these lessons I took back home with me – I will never haggle with a roadside vendor for a ‘better’ piece of craft. I will learn to appreciate the effort that goes into the making because each handcrafted piece of art is beautiful with all its flaws. Second, whenever stress knocks at the door, just get your hands on some clay! Get back to childhood for a while.
For those who are interested, and for those who got curious to know more – This workshop was held by the popular Kannada cine artist and art director Mr. Arun Sagar and his wife Meera Arun, along with the kind support of Mr Malliarjun and Mrs Gangambika, without whose help this event would not have been such a success. The Aruns also run Vruksha School of Fine Arts in Banashankari II stage, Bangalore.
Group pic uploaded with the kind consent of Mrs Meera Arun
Clay models: Author’s experiment