Madhur Sen, Ceramic Artist, Blue Turtle Studio, Anand Foundation

Madhur Sen, Ceramic Artist, Blue Turtle Studio

In conversation with Ms. Madhur Sen, Ceramic Artist at Blue Turtle Studio

1. How did your journey with pottery begin?
Ans. Having specialized in Sculpture, I graduated from Delhi College of Arts in 1986. It was that time the first potters wheel was set up in college and I was instantly in love with moulding the clay on the wheel. After my graduation I was associated with ‘Garhi’ Artists Community’
at Lalit Kala Academy, worked for 17 years in their Ceramic department and it gave me a wide exposure to the world of pottery.

2. When did you start the Blue Turtle Studio?
Ans. I started my own Studio around 2003.

3. What is your style of work?
Ans. I love working with simplified forms like human and animal figures. My works are a mix of both sculpting and pottery, I get to do the best of two art forms. Moulding the clay is pure love, it is life. For me working on the wheel is a meditative process.

4. Who or what is your inspiration in the field of Art?
Ans. In my college days, I was inspired by 20th century artists Henry Moore and Augustus Rodin. While in the ceramic world Hans Cooper and Bernard Leach. I love to work on human forms, especially experimenting with the hands and legs.

5. According to you what is the difference between sculpting and pottery?
Ans. Sculpting has a wild aesthetic, a creative freedomin itself. I can engage in any form and direction in sculpting since we look at it as a aesthetic function. Whereas in pottery it requires a discipline and correct measurement. For example, if im making a cup it has to be
in a correct size and angle so that when im drinking tea the upper circle doesnt hit the nose. And having a cup of tea or coffee in a beautiful mug just makes the day further better.

6. Your experience in Japan, China and other foreign countries where you have taken part in Clay Symposiums with international artists.
Ans. People from different countries and language come together in the Clay symposiums, all the artists maynot even speak a common language like English but what is common among all of us is the love for Clay. It is an immense learning experience, the approach to the clay is different for different artists. Hence I get to learn
new ways of handling the clay by these very talented ceramic artits, plus the firing techniques is unique and different in every country. The impressive part about international artists is they are dedicated and serious about their work, no shortcuts.The youngsters now are
coming up with alot of new ideas and conceptualization in ceramics, plus they are saying alot about the wordly affairs through the medium of clay like politics etc.

7. What is your experience in teaching the students at the studio?
Ans. I love teaching and especially teaching a student who takes initiative in learning more. Not constrained by anything and has pure dedication. It is a great experience working with students, we have alot of fun together listening to music and
discussing about our work. I get students from all fields, a few of them take up pottery as their future prospect too.

8. What is your advice to beginners?
Ans. Most of the time students loose their heart in pottery while kneading or when they wedge the clay but I tell them to be patient and hold on to their passion and love for art. I also emphasize on basic shapes and to first sketch their ideas.

9. From where did you derive the name of your Studio?
Ans. As I have mentioned earlier, I love Animals and its form. Some of my favorite being turtles, elephants and Rabbits. I did have a Rabbit as my pet too. Hence, the name of my studio is Blue Turtle Studio.

10. What are the drawbacks in the field of pottery in India?
Ans. I feel the major drawback is infrastructure. There should be more institutes and the local authorities supporting pottery, they have a problem with the firing technique. There is only two places here which support high temperature firing
blue pottery trust and Sanskriti but it is not possible for all the ceramic artists to run to these places everytime for firing their clay. Hence there is a infrastructure issue in the on going process of ceramics.

11. Your take on traditional potters….
Ans. I have immense respect for the traditional potters, since it is their whole family who is involved in the process of pottery. They are bound by the traditional form of clay and making matkas but these matkas prove to be much more functional and
useful. They work mostly with earthenware and at low temperature firing. Whereas Studio pottery is more of an individual artists identity, it his or her own individual creativity confined by the studio.

12. When are your upcoming events or exhibitions?
Ans. I will be going to China next month for clay symposium and after that to Spain. Later on in October, me and some more ceramic artists will be putting up an exhibition to honor the late Manisha Bhattacharya.

13. What are your future plans and thoughts?
Ans. I would love to set up a Big, small and test kiln in my Studio and have a production unit with all women members.