“Everybody has an innate talent and a knack to create, you just need to channel the artist within you,” says Carmel Hessing, who is giving new dimensions to the age-old art of pottery through her pottery studio ‘Claysutra’.
A potter, sculptor, sketch artist, and fine artist, Carmel has donned a lot of hats and been dabbling in the world of art throughout her life. However, she officially started spinning the pottery wheel in 2016 out of the sheer desire to create and go back to her artistic roots. Carmel explains, “I didn’t think about the market or the need, I just knew I had to fulfill my dream of opening a pottery studio, and everything else followed through.”
Located in the lap of Padma Rao Nagar and spread across a lush area of 2000sq feet, Claysutra studio allows you the perfect space to pursue your creative sensibilities and indulge in the pleasure of handmade art.
While Carmel had opened her studio in 2016, it wasn’t until 2018 that she opened it up for the public to learn from her. “Earlier I used to do only commissioned work for cafes, restaurants, and public spaces. I wanted the studio solely to myself,” she says with a laugh, “but it was also important to make Hyderabad aware of this craft that has been hidden for so long.”
Hyderabad, the cultural hub that it is, lacked a proper pottery community back then, and Carmel contributed a lot to bridge that gap.
“Now, we have a large number of potters and pottery studios in Hyderabad, a majority of them are my pupils too,” Carmel says proudly while keeping an eye on her students working the pottery wheel.
Scroll through her Instagram, and you will find an array of students perfecting their pottery skills. “I wanted to create courses that are available to everyone, right from students to working people, and from beginners to experts, I wanted to keep this art accessible,” she says.
Currently, Carmel offers various types of pottery classes which can be convenient for people of all walks of life. She conducts one-day workshops on Sunday which proves to be a great weekend getaway from the mundanities of everyday life. Furthermore, she offers a beginner to advanced pottery 6-month or 6-week pottery day-time course.
However, what caught the attention of this reporter is the unique 3-month residential pottery course which is not usually conducted in Hyderabad.
Residential Pottery Course
When asked about it, Carmel says, “This is not common in Hyderabad, I agree. And I wasn’t planning on doing this either. But I had people from all over the country eager to learn pottery from me and I thought why not use my humble abode to spread my passion.”
So far, Claysutra studio has seen students from states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam among many others who dedicated their three months to become an expert.
“During these residential courses, I receive students with zero knowledge of pottery, and to teach them the delicate art of pottery-making can be quite challenging. But the end product makes it all worth it,” says a joyful Carmel.
After a month-long break, currently, Carmel Hessing is gearing up for her upcoming residential course which starts on June 15 with 4 spots open for ladies only.
“What I have created is a safe haven for women, who can come and stay at my 3 BHK apartment to learn, enjoy and indulge in art as much as they would like,” she said.
Difference between traditional pottery and studio pottery
It is no doubt that Carmel has now changed the way Hyderabad views pottery with her unique take on the art. Speaking about how studio pottery is different from traditional pottery, she says, “Traditional pottery uses terracotta clay and manual wheel to create products which do not provide that neat look. Studio pottery, on the other hand, uses an electric wheel and a high-fired stoneware clay to create a product that is then glazed which gives it a fine look despite being handmade.”
Just one visit to the Claysutra studio and you can see the utter dedication Carmel has put in to make the place an art nirvana filled with ceramics, fun, and peace.
Apart from classes, Claysutra is always open to visitors and customers who would like to buy ceramics created by the pottery instructor, Carmel. Created in soothing colors, the lovely ceramics are the perfect conversation starters as they add that earthy element to your home.