Sunday, October 25, 2009

At the Wheel in India

I am sure that the title of this entry may have you thinking that this was going to be an article about driving in India.....sorry to have "thrown" you pun intended!

The practice and art of making clay pottery in India dates back several centuries.
Many of the early styles of making pottery was done manually by hand.....before the invention of the potter's wheel.

There is much debate on when the potter's wheel was school of thought places the date at 6000 years B.C. while another set of scholars places the date closer to 2400 B.C.

Whatever the date, not much has changed in India.....the use of manual wheels is still alive.Until this weekend, the only type of potters wheel I have ever seen have been electric..... one such demonstration took place in Linda's cousin's pottery shop in Evergreen, Alabama.

I have explained many times, that India never fails to provide someone with the opportunity to experience something unique.....or an opportunity to learn or witness something new......after all, it is an incredible place!

Now picture this......a potters wheel made of stone......several holes along the outer edge used for the placement of the tip of a aged man squatting at the edge...stick in hands, and with his years of experience he sends the wheel spinning....then his skilled hands begin working their on the mound of clay that was placed in the center of the wheel......Such is the practice in all of the rural parts of India, where I understand that each community has such a potter with the skills to transform clay into various vessels used in the village by thse who live there.

This weekend however, the potter and his wife were in the driveway of the New Delhi home of one of our friends....who had hired the potter and his wife for her daughter's 8th Birthday Party.

Not only was this a huge hit with all of the young girls who were being coached by this "master of clay", but he had the parents mesmerized by this primitive art form being brought to life in front of our eyes.

When the children had their turns, he urged the parents to participate as well......I had originally refused and decidedly took pictures of Preston trying his had at forming the clay while the wheel was set spinning.

I must admit, watching Preston at work made the act seem too easy to continue sitting on the sidelines.....but much to my dismay, the potter handed me the "stick" and using both sign language and Hindi, he instructed me to try my hand at spinning the wheel......I was a good sport...and did my best, but after two attempts, I eagerly handed him the baton and asked him to please save me the embarrassment of continuing to try and master the wheel.
It was only moments before he had the wheel spinning perfectly and he assisted me in the forming of my clay pot......
Now this may not seem like the most exciting "India Activity" to participate in.....especially when you could trek the Himalaya's.....but it was a cultural experience nonetheless.....and unique it it's own way.

So unique, that Linda and I even thought that this would be a fun thing to do at an "Adult" party......who knows, after some adult beverages, the clay objects may become quite creative.

Enjoy the photographs of Preston and I the wheel in India!My masterpiece!

1 comment:

A Reason To Write said...

It was great fun to have you there!