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19 Sep 2019, Edition - 1528, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Poetry on Pottery: Ceramic artist gives forms to her favourite poems

Indrani Thakurata

Bengaluru: Poetry and pottery is a rare combination, and very few artists have attempted to do anything on this line. Shilpy Gupta is one of the rare few. Potter and artist, she blends the magic of poetry into pottery when she creates masterpieces on clay for her brainchild — Ceramic Trail. Inspired by the world of poetry, this artist has taken pottery to an all new exciting level. Always fascinated by the art of Pottery, Shilpy managed to learn the trade at a studio in the United States of America but shifted base to India to explore and expand her passion into profession. With 15 years of experience behind the pottery wheel, Shilpy creates magic in clay and the poetry of Rumi and teachings of Buddha add life to the same. And such artistry comes from observance and a place of deep influence. “My first influence was the traditional indian potter. I saw them in my hometown and was fascinated by how they were able to turn a ball of clay into a beautiful urn. The magic of that moment stayed with me and eventually drove me to practise the art myself,” says Shilpy.

A self confessed Rumi fan, Shilpy regards Rumi and Buddha as her greatest influences when it comes to what she does. Apart from that, her travels also greatly influence her. Her work reflects her influences, her previous series were on her travel to Kutch. She did her first exhibition at Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai and after the immensely successful event there she did her first solo exhibition in Bangalore at 1 Shanthiroad gallery (April,2017). The thrill of an artist to create a different canvas to depict her art was what encouraged Shilpy. She is aware, that poetry and pottery aren’t mainstream art forms in India, and that is something that saddens her. “Pottery is still a form of handicraft and hasn’t gained as much recognition as I’d like it. There is still a stigma surrounding it. But luckily for me, my family supported me.”

Talking about Role models, she says, “While living in the US, I learnt pottery from various studio potters and honed my skills under them. My role models were the potters i learnt from and the artists I collaborated with. I was part of an art league in Germantown, Maryland. The founder of the league, Lynne Oakes and her commitment towards providing a platform for new artists had a big influence on me.”

When each piece is inspired by a couplet, often from the words of Buddha or poet Rumi, how can one not ask about her favourite poem. “Everybody is made for a particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart,”says Shilpy. Elucidating on the same, she says, “This poem beautifully expresses the passion that each one of us are born with and that all we need to do is to discover it within ourselves. I believe that it is only by following your passion that you can create magic. In the pursuit of my passion of creating form in clay, I find that the words of great thinkers open up avenues of exploration. These poems lend themselves to multiple interpretations and this exploration gives each piece a personality which is unique.”

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