Playing with form and function, a fresh cadre of clay masters are rethinking the age-old material. Megha Mahindru tracks the new wheel-to-table revolution
In the 21st century, automation may be the biggest threat to employment, but architect-ceramist Adil Writer isn’t worried. “If you offer something that is unique, there’s no fear,” he says. Writer should know—for 20 years he’s created one-of-a-kind pieces that no machine can replicate.
Trained at Puducherry’s Golden Bridge Pottery—Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith’s iconic institute that has been the launchpad for many Indian potters since the 1970s—Writer was one of the 35 Indian ceramists feted at India’s first international ceramic triennale at Jaipur last year.
There’s growing evidence to prove that ceramics are having a moment. At restaurants, chefs like Olive’s Rishim Sachdeva work with ceramists like Writer as closely as they work with their produce supplier. At homes, artisanal brands like Nkuku, a global fair-trade label that works with craftspeople, are replacing factory-made dinnerware for tactile pieces that tell a story. But what has made ceramics the craft du jour? For makers like Aman Khanna, it’s the sustainable aspect of clay. For buyers, it’s the idea of supporting local crafts. Its newfound relevance can also be seen in the shapeshifting ways we’re using clay today. Meet the potters—some accomplished, some aspiring—who are turning the wheels of change.
WARE INNOVATIONS, MUMBAI
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