Adil Writer & His Mad Ceramic Wall Hangings. Mandala Pottery, Auroville.

Whilst visiting the Dana Community, I saw Adil Writer and Anamika making pieces for the wall. I had been thinking about this possibility, as it seems that people are more willing to buy art that hangs on the wall rather than sits on a shelf (or at least they're willing to pay more for it).

Until I saw the finished result I was dubious as to whether these pieces would work. It seemed like Adil and Anamika were just throwing old bits of dry clay on thick square slabs. Adil told me he never recycles clay to be thrown with again, instead letting it dry out and then using it for pieces like this. As the layers built up, forms took shape. The work was very fast and spontaneous, no time for thinking or conceptualizing.

Each slab got numerous different clays on it.

Crumbly surface.

The final splosh on each was red iron oxide, liberally applied.

Bloody corner.

I thought this was the end of them. Ready for firing. So went around and saw what everyone else was up to, taking some pics and videos of the other potters at work. After some time (in India people always tell you things will happen in "some time"), someone came to tell me Adil wanted to show me something.

When I got back he was already in full flow, slapping the square slabs on the concrete floor. Not once or twice but many times; he didn't even stop when the slabs ripped and tore in pieces. I thought this was utter madness, but he seemed to have done it before.

There it goes.

And again.

Never mind those tears.

After this I was led to another workspace where larger squares of clay had been laid out, all cross-hashed and slipped, ready to accept a shaggy crust.

The surface of the clay slapped n the floor was stretched and cracked-a nice effect even unfired.

Anamika and Adil played with the 3D possibilities of the technique, too.

Mini mountain range.

Up close.

The solid backing gives the torn surface pieces support and allows them to be hung safely. During the firing the top layer curls up like a lily pad. Here is a finished one:

Ready for the wall.
After the performance Adil invited me upstairs to the studio where a lot of his finished works were hanging around, waiting to be shipped off for exhibitions.

Hands littered the floor.


How did it get so late so soon?

Before I left I popped my head in another little space and found a selection of large platters.

Sturdy feet.

Ready for glazing.

Textured surface.

And some finished ones:

You can see the same idea of playing with texture in the platters as the wall hangings.

Nice swish.

I love the mad crackle glaze mixed with the blue.

So that's a taster or the ceramics being made at Mandala Pottery. Next post will be about the pottery where most of the potters in the Dana Community trained: Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry.