“When you do your best, people notice”- Oprah Winfrey
Last couple of years has drawn my work some attention and personally its very gratifying. Its self-assuring, strangely motivating and gives a sense of purpose. All this due to some adulation from absolute strangers. People are so kind with words, I am grateful and over-whelmed but it also makes me wonder if my work is being over-rated.
I love taking up some small personal projects and as a part of that plan I began taking online sessions for ‘terracotta jewelry making’ since last August. I have had a decent response overall, with some completely surprising me with their quickness in learning, constant practice and a few who have even begun selling. Happy to say that almost one year on, with multiple batches, I still have a handful of them who show a great deal of interest in learning the craft. But with that I have had my share of those who discontinued too. The timing may not have been right, with multiple responsibilities, work etc but I appreciate the curiosity, the eagerness they had while enrolling for the sessions.
Pottery is a skill gained by investing time and learning techniques. Its acquired by constant practice. If I make it look easy that is only because I have put in hours each day doing exactly that. During my 12 sessions which equates to 14.5 hours in total, I share techniques and knowledge gained over the last ten plus years.
“14.5 hours : 10 years” – the ratio seems a bit off, doesn’t it? 😊
I concise information, filter and share what’s necessary.
I spent a LOT of time doing some serious ground work on where to procure materials, best suppliers, good reads, selling avenues and a lot more than one can imagine. This information wasn’t readily available to me. But now I share sources to the best of my knowledge so that the amount of ground work that people have to do is much lesser.
The other project I took up in November last year was to start my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/paintedearthbyneha that focuses on content, sharing my experience and skill, tips and tricks to understand and handle the material with ease. Information I have gathered over time, practiced sometimes hours before getting it right. Most of my videos are real-time while the few rest are hyper-lapsed but with necessary information provided in the description.
All with one intent – sharing what I know with you all about terracotta.
A lot of you describe my work as “neatly finished”. But that was not the case years back when I started. My jhumkas didn’t have the perfect dome, the pendants didn’t have a smooth finish, my beads looked mis-shaped. But I was in no rush, I took my time, worked on it each day and longer than the previous. I enjoyed dunking my hands into moist clay and everyday got me more curious about the material itself. I gave it more than a 100%. With no formal education in pottery or ceramics, its challenging to get the right information. So it was important I asked the right set of people. I share only what I know and have never claimed to know it all. I am still looking to enroll for formal college sessions so that I can be mentored well towards this chosen field.
There is no fun in acquiring anything if it comes too easy. When you don’t get it right the first couple of times, don’t be disheartened. Any craft done with utmost interest, dedication and practice will show results. The rest will follow. A craft can be taught, but the creativity comes from within oneself. Before deciding on what you want to pursue, ask yourself how much are you willing to invest. Not just the financial part, but yourself, your time most importantly. If the answer is any less than a 100%, you might even sail through but never really enjoy or find satisfaction in what you do.
To all my readers, I hope this resonates with you, a family member, friend or even an acquaintance. I hope you find happiness in what you choose to do!
Neha Gopinath Pillai