Much more than mud
POOL|POOL 84

Suchitra Ravichandran’s Scorched Earth provides a livelihood for disadvantaged women, who help transform riverbed clay into beautiful pieces of wearable terracotta art

Where can you trace your passion for terracotta?

SR: I’ve been fascinated by clay as far as I can remember. As a child growing up in Mumbai, I would wait for the Ganpati festival every year, when impromptu workshops selling idols would crop up everywhere. A few men would be making smaller idols with clay, and I would make it a point of tarrying there on my way back from school. The raw clay was not for sale, so it was no less than a triumph when I could persuade them to sell me a small amount. This precious sticky lump would keep me occupied for many hours for as long as I could make it last.

As I grew up and academics took over my life, time for such indulgences became limited. As a student at Sir J.J. College of Architecture in Mumbai, I encountered a potter while taking part in the Malhar festival at St. Xavier’s College. Getting my hands dirty at the wheel triggered an ‘Aha’ moment and I was hooked for life. Unfortunately in those days, studio potters who taught were very few and those who did accept students ran their studios in the far flung suburbs and had timings that were unsuitable for a working professional.

It was in Sydney in 1998, when my first born was about a year and a half old, that my dream finally came true. I had the opportunity to learn pottery and hand building with Pim Hodge, a South African sculptor based in North Sydney. I was a hands-on mother by day and student by night. When we came back to India, I continued honing my skills. I attended a short certificate course in terracotta jewelry at NID, Bangalore Chapter, and became fascinated by all the detailing involved in making wearable art. The rest is history.

What is the story behind Scorched Earth?

SR: Apart from practicing architecture in Bangalore, I continued making terracotta jewelry on a regular basis. A lot of the pieces got gifted to family and friends. People suggested that I begin selling my work. This was in 2000, when most people had no inkling that clay could actually be used to making something as fine as jewelry. Clay was for bricks and maybe, murals. Only a handful of people who made terracotta could be found. At the same time, I felt that this was an opportunity that could benefit many women who were under served and struggling to earn a living. Lack of education and skills kept them from earning adequately to meet their and their families’ needs. But first, it was essential to test market feasibility.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM POOLView All

The perfect balance

Aniruddh Mehta is as much graphic designer as visual artist, and he tries to do justice to both through his work at Studio Bigfat

5 mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

The Nature of Light

Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth of Klove Studio combine the delicacy of hand blown glass with the sturdiness of metals to create a breathtaking range of lighting options.

6 mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

The Creative curve

As partners at GCD Studios, graphic designers Shahana Jain and Devshree Sahai contribute enthusiastically to the ‘creation of ideas without boundaries’.

10+ mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

All ABOUT SCALE

A well known industrialist, Dr. Naushad Forbes is Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall, India's leading steam engineering and control instrumentation company. He is on the Board of several educational institutions and public companies and was recently listed in the Indian Express list of the 100 most influential Indians. His is also a familiar name in Indian design circles. As former Chairman Governing Council National Institute of Design (NID), and Chairman India Design Council (IDC), Dr. Forbes has been able to work at bridging the still large gap between industry and design in the country.

5 mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

NO NEED TO HIDE

By encouraging traditional leather artisans to explore recycled rubber and other material, Sudheer Rajbhar is giving them the opportunity to keep their skills alive

3 mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

A NATURAL INSTINCT

Nibha Sikander’s 3D figures of birds and insects are intended to draw attention to the wonders of nature. She tells Sonalee Tomar of ‘The Indian Curator’ how she was drawn to the art of paper-cutting.

4 mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

A moving experience

Amrish Patel and Darshan Soni came together to share a common vision that has since come alive through striking explorations of kinetic art

6 mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

The Richness Of Handmade

Amit Vijaya and Richard Pandav are committed to bringing together many hands and hearts through their clothing label ‘amrich’

6 mins read
Designindia
Designindia 114

Bringing Ideas To Life

Creative Director at her eponymous design studio, Sharon Nayak picked up the camera to bridge the gap between her creative vision and its photographic execution

8 mins read
POOL
POOL 108

The Striking Right Note

Johnny Ganta might have made a career in music if he hadn’t chosen to work at being a master visual storyteller instead

8 mins read
POOL
POOL 108
RELATED STORIES

DD's FREE AGENCY PLAN

Pro Football Focus had McCain rated higher than Rowe in terms of 2020 performance, though Rowe played the more difficult role of covering opposing tight ends (such as Travis Kelce and Darren Waller).

1 min read
Dolphin Digest
March 2021

Big 12

Texas Tech is the favorite, but there’s plenty of competition in the Big 12 race

4 mins read
Baseball America
February 2021

ARKANSAS Bear Camp

Fall Bear camp is a time-honored tradition & 2020 didn’t disappoint.

10 mins read
Bear Hunting Magazine
November - December 2020

GOOGLE AD COSTS, NOT ITS ALLEGED MONOPOLY, IRKS BUSINESSES

When asked about Google, Bryan Clayton voices a familiar lament among small business owners.

5 mins read
Techlife News
November 07, 2020

BELLANDUR LAKE FROTH - Debasish Ghosh

Bangalore, India, was once known for its interconnected lake systems, which provided a reliable water source. As the city grew, these lakes have encroached, and the water became polluted day by day. The largest, Bellandur Lake, now carry huge volumes of snowy froth, which block the adjacent canals.

2 mins read
Lens Magazine
October 2020

The Snowglobe Christmas Cottage

This bright and welcoming newly-built Michigan country home exudes cottage charm and festive holiday fun.

4 mins read
Cottages and Bungalows
December-January 2021

BUILT WITH A PURPOSE

Expedition Overland’s ’18 Toyota Tundra “Trinity”

6 mins read
Diesel World
Yota Winter 2020

HOMETOWN GIRL

Using her years in retail and design, Annie Parker has created a perfectly curated shop.

3 mins read
Baltimore magazine
October 2020

MODERN HISTORY

Nearly two decades ago, Anne and Brad Bishop searched for a family home. They found one that charms everyone.

2 mins read
DesignSTL
September/October 2020

Remembrance: Milton Glaser, 1929–2020

IF THEY’RE TALENTED AND THEY’RE LUCKY, designer-artist-creators get to lob an icon out into the larger culture—the ultrafamiliar shape of Leo Fender’s Stratocaster guitar, say, or Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster. If they’re great, maybe they create two. Milton Glaser, though, operated on another plane—he just kept hitting the bull’s-eye, again and again, throughout his seven decades as an illustrator, graphic designer, art director, and visual philosopher and paterfamilias. He loved New York City and celebrated it in multiple ways: with a magazine, with posters, and (most visibly of all) with the three-letters-and-a-red-heart slogan he created. Almost incidentally, he also changed the way you eat.

6 mins read
New York magazine
July 6-19, 2020