A diya for every occasion

Amrita Prasad
Friday, 22 September 2017

Although you get varieties of decorative diyas in the market, the charm of clay diyas is timeless. Simple, humble and eco-friendly — these diyas, when filled with oil and lit up, and lined up on building parapet, staircases and windowsills, make your homes more beautiful.

What better way to gear up for Diwali than making your own eco-friendly diyas? Learn the art of clay diya making from pottery artist Dhanashree Kelkar.

Any Indian festival or puja is incomplete without the illuminated clay diyas. With Navratri celebrations on and Diwali knocking at our doors, it is an ideal time to get some diyas home. 

Although you get varieties of decorative diyas in the market, the charm of clay diyas is timeless. Simple, humble and eco-friendly — these diyas, when filled with oil and lit up, and lined up on building parapet, staircases and windowsills, make your homes more beautiful. 

And even more fulfilling is creating them with your own hands. If you want to learn how to make them, Gaya3 Art Workshops Retreat spearheaded by Gayatri Tambe-Deshpande is organising ‘Be The Light!’ — a diya making workshop on Sunday, where pottery artist Dhanashree Kelkar will teach you the nuances of diya making with terracotta clay, which you can take home. 

Participants will be introduced to the tools and provided with ready-to-use clay for making diyas. Says Kelkar, “We will be teaching the handbuilding technique of making diyas with terracotta clay. In this technique, you use simple tools and not the potter’s wheel. The focus is on using slab technique like rolling out the slab with hands or a rolling pin. Freshly rolled out and dampened slabs are soft and can be moulded into various forms with ease.” 

The clay needs to be first rolled, then given cylindrical form followed by carving designs. The clay lamps will be in the shape of a glass/tumbler with some cutwork. 

The clay must neither be too smooth nor too dry; a medium constancy is required to avoid the clay from sticking or breaking. With a height of 3-4 inches, each diya will have some carving on them to add more detailing and beauty. 

Once the participants have completed making the clay lamps, they will be dried and baked by the artist and given back to the participants after two-three days. On sunny days, the clay dries in two or three days, but during rains you must at least dry the diyas for three or four days before baking them.

“Terracotta has a beautiful hue which is further enhanced after baking. The colour of the clay will turn out more eye-catching if baked at a high temperature,” she adds. 

ST READER SERVICE 
You can participate in ‘Be The Light!’ workshop on September 24, at Studio Gaya3, Shree Suvarna Ratna Gardens, Cummins College Road, Karve Nagar. 

Timing: 11 am-2 pm for children between age group 5-11 years; and for those above 12 years, the workshop will be held between 3 - 6 pm. To register, visit www.gaya3art.com or write to gayatrideshpande07@gmail.com

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