The calm found in the cold and moist clay often travels through the hands and reaches deep recesses of one’s mind. To a child, it brings joy; to a troubled mind, it brings solace. To art, it brings versatility; to an artist, it brings a sense of accomplishment. And, to history, it brings character!
Terracotta, a type of commonly used clay, is used in a wide range of creations. While some creations are utilitarian and lost in our kitchens and roofs, some pieces of art have etched their mark in history. Many adorations on ancient temples and revered pieces of art in museums around the world stand testimony to this endurance.
If we have learnt something really valuable over the years of practicing (and teaching) terracotta, then it is definitely the very basics. One of the key challenges of this medium is to know when the clay is ready to work with; it shouldn’t be too loose neither should it be too dry. You need to understand its properties as well as its limitations extremely well to master it. The process of making art with red clay begins from the moment you lay your hands on the clay. Kneading it to remove air pockets is one of the most important tasks to maintain consistency.
There are 2 major methods using which you can create practically anything in terracotta
Now, Handbuilding (the term being obvious) involves using your hands for three techniques – Slab building, Coiling and Pinching. You can mould and build clay into different shapes and forms using these techniques and further create various designs and patterns using different hand-held tools.
The most likeable and intriguing technique of clay work is perhaps, Throwing on a Potter’s Wheel. It is an extremely satisfying technique with meditative effects. On a wheel, the clay moves in unison with your own breath and that’s what makes it such a calming experience. However – as fascinating as it may seem – it requires a lot of practice to center the clay consistently and build perfect forms. And once you achieve that, you probably won’t feel like working with any other medium!
As an art form, clay can also be developed into limitless aspects of product building. Clubbing the techniques mentioned above with surface treatment techniques and ornamentation techniques can enable you to produce art or even functional art. This could range from home décor to even public installations.
Check out some of the work of our students –
If you are still not tempted to try your hand at this medium, give us a chance to spark that curiosity in you. Book yourself for a short 6-day program and see the possibilities for yourself. Head to our ‘Skill’ courses to find all our programs in Terracotta and get in touch with us to register!