“I relate to clay. Completely. I enjoy working with clay so much that I don’t ever feel challenged about anything,” feels Mudita Bhandari about her calling. How many of us can say this about our work? Not many are fortunate enough to find work that they enjoy doing, but Mudita is thankful. The ceramic sculptor took interest in sculpting as she would watch her mom, an artist herself, work on metal and stone sculptures.
As a child, while at school, she happened to visit a local potters’ village — Kumbharwada. When she watched the potters rustle up magic, she got hooked onto clay! There was no turning back for her.
She went on to specialise in clay as a medium. Gradually, she moved into ceramics and now does a whole lot of sculpting at her studio, tucked away in Indore!
“I love the fact that working with ceramics mirrors my being,” she elaborates, when I ask her what she loves most in this profession. “Controlling the medium doesn’t work. I have to work around it, along with it — it makes me calm. It shows me where I stand with my moods — just doesn’t work if I am restless!” she reiterates.
As with many unique professions, being a ceramic sculptor too raises eyebrows among many. “But, I love it when people are curious,” reveals an optimistic Mudita. “They question me and that sets me thinking — those dialogues are like a breath of fresh air. In Indore, there aren’t many from this field of work, but people are still very accepting of my profession.”
Her greatest inspirations come from space, says Mudita. “It’s like I capture the essence of a feeling or experience in a form that is related to space,” she delves further.
Interestingly, Mudita always jots down her thoughts and feelings in her private sketch book. She reads them on a later date and expresses the crux of it in her work. “I think of forms that will convey what I have written — architectural structures, physical space, etc. which later turn inward. I ponder upon those things and the realisation translates itself into a form,” she says. So profound, indeed!
Mudita has also won several awards. In 2013, she was selected as one of the Indian artist representing the Contemporary Indian Ceramics at the Indian Museum of FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums (FLICAM), China. She also got a special mention in the Excellence in Ceramics Awards for the year 2007. And, these are just a couple of accolades from her huge repertoire of scholarships and awards that she’s won. Not just this, her exhibitions are much sought-after by artists and art lovers across India.
Working at her pace in her studio, teaching students the art of sculpting and writing children’s books, keeps Mudita busy throughout the week. “One should go by one’s gut feeling. There is no right or wrong. When I was fascinated by this medium and skill, I never thought of it as my profession — I just felt right doing it and many things fell into place,” says the charming artist, as she bids adieu.