Monday, 8 February 2016

Progress Report -Work in the Studio

After the MP’s visit  yesterday we got a couple of articles in the newspaper and this brought quite a few visitors to the studio including some policemen and someone from the central intelligence!!

The clay situation is coming under control- all the possible sources of clay at the studio have been tapped including the clay that was slaking and was currently in slip form. The work is growing steadily in the studio.

Naidee had labeled the three people working at the Maihar House studio as “Team A “and the group working at Art Ichol as “Team B”.  It’s a pity we are not able to  all work at the same place but we have established a wonderful routine of having breakfast together every morning and ending up with dinner and a slide presentation of one artist every evening. 

At the Maihar House studio works are growing taller and every table occupied with work in progress. Music and  a creative  harmony  fills the studio. Naidee’s large Shiva is sculpture almost complete and looking fantastic, Alvin’s two thrown and carved vessels are complete and drying and  Kathy’s pierced Bucket Vessel is finished and slowly drying under plastic. The frenzied energy  of making is subsiding and the  studio full as the time allotted for making wet work comes to an end.

At Art Ichol Sandy was building two large forms, while Thiebaut was rolling tubes that fitted one over the other and Madhvi was busy building with her clay cow dung chips. Jacques had to keep an eye on two ends of the campus as he supervised the brick makers making 4000 bricks for him while he built his form with coils.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

2nd Feb

What an unexpected event that our group was greeted by a member of Parliament, Mr. Ganesh Singh, who welcomed us with a gift of Angavastra (scarf) to his constituency and Art Ichol. Lots of commotion as the press took pictures and clamored for interviews. The MP promised to come back for the fiber kiln firing when Thiebaut told him it was part firing, part performance- so the pressure is on!

After a delicious spread of street food made fresh for us with Golgappas, Chole chat, Pau Bhaji and Dosas we struggled to settle down and work. 

In the studio we had a lot of challenges- the clay was being consumed faster than we imagined, the plasticity of the clay with so much grog was compromised and building the forms was very slow. Alvin had managed to throw and carve a large form with more plastic clay and Naidee had given up working with earthenware but was managing to build with the stoneware clay at a fairly fast speed. 

By the end of the day much work was done, Kathy had thrown some forms and Thiebaut and Sandy made a few sections of their own works. Jacques had resolved his idea of the brick shrine and started his other large work. Madhvi had a mould made the cow dung and had settled into building with her clay- cow chips.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

1st Feb
All is happening according to plan so far, the assistant at the studio Milan Singh has close to 2 tons of clay ready, the glazes have been tested on raw clay and few slips have been made. We have the metal frame fabricated for a kiln Thiebaut has designed and over 300 porcelain buttons are ready for it. There is plenty of wood and the bricks are stacked up. But will all go according to schedule?

We start the day with a meeting trying to sort out the many unanswered practical questions: How much clay will each of us want? What were we thinking of making and will we have enough kiln space? How are we going to dry and fire the works? What solutions will we find to make and finish our works- glazes or slips? 

By the end of the day many things had sorted themselves out Kathy, Naidee and Alvin decided to work at the Maihar studio  and navigated the issue of only one functional wheel and the non-plastic clay. Thiebaut, Jacques, Sandy and Madhvi  worked at the Art Ichol space, 7kms away and had figured out how to dry the excessively wet clay and mix rice husk into it to start building. Jacques had spoken to the local brick-layers for his project and Madhvi had gathered the cow dung chips and hay that she needed. We definitely do not have enough clay or kiln space but work has begun! 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

31st Jan

We arrived in Maihar after a 15 hour overnight journey on the train from Delhi enjoying an Indian picnic dinner in our cozy private compartment  which was outfitted with bunk beds. The journey was well spent getting to know each other and I could see that the group chemistry and dynamics was going to be great!

Our host in  Maihar Ambica Beri welcomed us to her beautiful compound and  her hospitality made us feel instantly at home.  The Maihar house gardens and studio are lovely  and nearby Art Ichol as breath taking as the pictures we had seen.

After the morning of looking around the facilities, we decided to drive to the Khajuraho temples, known for their explicit erotic stone carving.  It ended up being a 2.5hr drive each way on a very bumpy road. It was ambitious for our first day but the temples were inspiring and they more than made up for the terrible guide we got.