A Himalayan Effort
POOL|POOL 104

At Atelier Lãlmitti, his studio in the mountains, ceramic artist and teacher Reyaz Badaruddin uses red clay to give form to his imagination

Reyaz Badaruddin

What drew you to ceramics?

RB: Being from a small town (Ranchi in Jharkhand), I had zero exposure to art and culture. Despite this, I was always drawn to art and my mother was very supportive. Through a friend’s sister I found out that one can study art at university. I passed the entrance test of the Fine Art College at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on the second attempt and went on to study Applied Arts. During the foundation year I was introduced to pottery and ceramics and decided to take clay as my main subject for the rest of the course. My time at BHU laid a strong foundation in terms of skills, leading me to master the craft of making vessels. However it did not teach me how to be creative with the material. This is something I learnt afterwards, through experiences and encounters. My time at Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry and Cardiff School of Art and Design in the UK was very significant in that respect.

What triggered your move from Delhi to the Himalayas?

RB: My wife and I had planned to move to the Himalayas for a long time, and were slowly renovating a house there. Our dream was to make a spacious studio for ceramics. The trigger to actually make the move was the birth of our baby and the longing for fresh air. Last year we set up Atelier Lãlmitti, our studio in the mountains, thanks to the help of a successful crowd funding project. It is many spaces in one: a studio for ceramic artists, a learning center for students, and a small pottery production space.

Tell us more about Atelier Lãlmitti.

RB: It is in the village of Andretta in Himachal Pradesh. Situated at the foot of the Shivalik hills, it is surrounded by wild trees, animals and birds. On the other side stands the beautiful Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. The studio is a very open space and is planned in a way to include the feel of nature. I share it with my artist wife Elodie Alexandre, my daughter and my students.

We are fully equipped in terms of materials and facilities, with gas and electric kilns, a dedicated student space, a small gallery to showcase our work, potters wheels and a newly-acquired slab-roller. We use red clay, sourced locally for the most part.

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