My inspiration comes from nature and people – the joy of working with clay is the perfect reflection of my attitude to life. Clay is malleable, it responds to every touch, and you can make wonderful and unexpected shapes with it – very much like life, which gives back as much joy, energy and creativity as you put in! I find clay an amazing medium, especially because of its responsiveness to the subtlest of touches.
My journey with clay began more than a decade ago, with learning to throw on the wheel. At that time it was a hobby, but slowly I realized that it was giving me immense satisfaction. I knew then that I wanted it to become more than just a hobby, and I now work with clay full-time. I slowly drifted towards hand-building, shaping clay with my hands, and that allowed free rein to my creativity because it gives me complete freedom of expression in contrast to wheel pottery. Absence of any formal training allowed me to go through a rewarding process of trial, error and creative experimentation over the years.
I now work mainly in stoneware, with temperatures ranging from 1170 to 1260 degrees centigrade. I like working with terracotta while doing sawdust firing. Almost always I formulate my own glazes.
Contemporary potters also have an influence on my work, and it is a pleasure to meet other enthusiasts at my exhibitions and exchange ideas. Teaching pottery once in a while comes as a nice break from this solitary occupation.
- Shalan Dere
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