Veena Chandran, owner of Studio Farishtey, talks about her journey and her passion for creating art pieces with clay
Fascinated by unique landscapes and excited by the prospect of creating impressions through eco-friendly methods, Veena Chandran, founder of Studio Farishtey, pursued a formal degree as an architect but decided to later follow other passions borrowing on the design sensibilities and the aesthetic sense that she developed during the years.
Chandran says, “A tryst with clay during a workshop in pottery fuelled my urge to master ceramics and even contemplate a career in it.”
Her eagerness and curiosity took her to Puducherry where she believes, her dreams took shape. Experimenting with different clays, methods of shaping forms and firing techniques, her ideas of clay shaping entered new dimensions and a unique style took shape.
Teaching being one of her main passions, Chandran put in time between teaching pottery and moulding her visions in clay at her studio in Pune and that is how Studio Farishtey was born. “It is my baby that has given meaning to my life and sent me on an amazing journey,” says Chandran who spends almost her entire time at the studio. She believes it is where all her creations find life and start taking form.
The idea behind the studio was to have a space where she could explore and grow as a ceramic artist and a space where she could introduce this medium to other like-minded and interested folks. She says,“The idea is to bring beauty and character to everything that is created in the studio irrespective of its functionality,” she urges.
Each piece that is made at the studio is carefully hand crafted and since Chandran does not have a manufacturing set up, each and every product is hand made and treated as an art piece, be it a mug or a sculptural piece.
Talking about the products that are available at the studio, Chandran says, “I make anything and everything as long as I can make it in clay,” mentioning that the studio has mugs, plates, bowls, wall pieces, murals, sculptural pieces, vases and name plates to name a few. Explaining the process that goes behind making the products, she says, “Before making a piece the clay needs to be prepared through a process called wedging.” After the first step, the wedged clay is then moulded into a form either on a potter’s wheel or is hand built. It is then left to dry out completely before it is put in a kiln. Each piece goes through two firings, after which you get a ready glazed piece which is microwave and oven friendly and is food safe. Chandran says that each part of the process of making a ceramic piece is time consuming.
Mentioning the elegance of ceramics, Chandran says, “The earthiness of ceramics is a quality I have not seen in any other material.”
She says that she has a lot of people asking her for bright colours on her work but she feels it steals the inherit quality of clay. She says that we mask the earthiness by covering it with all these colours. “I strive to be true to the material and what it stands for,” she insists.
Chandran believes that ceramics can be used pretty much everywhere in the house right from name plates to vases, wall pieces and even lamp shades. There is no limitation to the extent where ceramic can be used. “A great art piece can be a conversation starter,” she says.
Chandran points out that most people start their day with a mug in their hand, which for her should be the most valuable piece of art that people own. She believes that people first eat with their eyes before tasting the food. “Shouldn’t our plates be pieces of art and not just a plate with absolute no character to it?” she says.
However, she faces her set of challenges too. “Clay is an extremely testing material to work with; it tests your patience in ways you never thought and it tests you each and every day relentlessly,” she tells us.
The main challenge Chandran had to face is to try and get people to understand the work and efforts that go into studio pottery and the difference between studio pottery and mass manufactured ceramics.
Chandran explains that Studio Farishtey is a fully-equipped ceramic studio having a number of wheels, kilns, work stations and tons of clay. Apart from making ceramic products and creations, she also conducts pottery classes and workshops at the studio.
The products from Studio Farishtey can be purchased from the studio situated in Kalyani Nagar or can be found online on Instagram and Facebook accounts as well as the Studio Farishtey website — www.veenachandran.com