Jhalak Ubhriyani - Slow Journeys

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Jhalak Ubhriyani - Slow Journeys

Jhalak Ubhriyani

Aug 2022 - Two Month Course

I approached Pottery with no prior experience with clay whatsoever, let alone the wheel! Today marks eight days of me trying my best to befriend the clay and the wheel, and it has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least. Initially, my body, my hands and fingers were extremely stiff (still are!) and that worried me a lot. I had a lot of 'what if's' dancing in my head and taking away the joy of learning something new. "Don't overthink it, Jhalak" "Stop fussing over it, Jhalak" "Stop seeking for perfection, Jhalak" - Nikita's wordsused to echo in my ears everyday. Until I started to loosen up. I still have a long way to go on that front, but I do feel like I'm taking baby steps with every class. I've realised a lot of things about myself in these few days- both good and bad. The clay and pottery as an artform in general has taught me the very importance of patience and of letting go. Also, 10th August , I made five cylinders!!! Hope to have more such milestones and realisations through this journey.

Love & Light

Jhalak :)

"It's ok to have a few wobbles in life"

September 2022,
Intermediate batch at Slow Pottery.

Week 01.
After spending a whole month on the wheel, I expected my world
to change in the second month. I thought my first day would be
brand new, full of new challenges and agendas. It was very much
like I expected it to be, yet nothing like it at all. Confusing, I know. I
can explain.
Nikita told us it was practice day – more of a recap of our basics.
Although, we were supposed to increase the quantity by 100
grams. So, the goal was to throw 500 grams of clay on the wheel,
instead of 400 grams. That was the “something new” that we were
going to do, I thought to myself.
Reality hit me like a truck when even 100 grams made so much of
a difference. It all felt new, even cylinders and bowls which I had
repeatedly made for a month. Although, the feeling was
beautiful. It kept getting better and better with each day, as I
started feeling my growth as days passed. Of course, my first
weeks were not full of wins. But it was certainly full of realisations –
and sometimes that is more important than scoring full marks.

Slowly, as the first week progressed, we started learning narrow
forms, jugs, narrow and tall cylinders.
The most important realisation from the first week?
“Every minute on the wheel makes a difference.
So does every minute off of the wheel.”

Week 02.
Most of my second week was gloomy in every way possible. I’m
feeling sad just even thinking about it. It had nothing to do with
studio – except it had everything to do with studio.
I was affected by the flu, and it made me slow, tired, and weak.
And this meant I could not work with clay and water, because
that affects body temperature in a negative way when you’re
I would go to the studio, attempt to work, and end up sitting in the
verandah because I couldn’t sit through it. Every time when I
wanted to sit on the wheel and couldn’t, it made me sad.
That brings me to realisations of week no. 2.
Here we go:
When you fail to slow down, your body demands rest in unhealthy
ways. Listen to your body, give it the rest it wants, the rest it needs.
Once you know how to do pottery, that essentially means that
you cannot go back to not knowing how to do pottery at all. It is

in your hands, your muscles have formed a memory around it,
they know all about it now. So, the fear that you have of ‘what if I
am not able to do it after a long break?’ – is a myth. It’s a trap.
Don’t fall for it :)
Now, the few days that I did get to work and practice, I took it
slow, practiced narrow forms and tried my best to get
comfortable with bigger quantities of clay, even if the difference
was of 150 grams. It was still a difference; it was still growth.

Week 03.
After two full weeks of learning new forms, week three was all
about working on my own personal collection, preparing a new
glaze, helping out in small, studio tasks here and there. What I
loved is the fact that I was getting to learn so much more than just
the skills of potter. Studio management and tasks were also an
important skill that a potter definitely should have, and Nikita’s
guidance and my own enthusiasm to help around made me learn
a lot.
We had also learnt a new form – plates. Nikita told me about the
risks involved with such flat forms. The biggest risk was that plates
were prone to cracks. And breakage. This is what my third week
realisations are all about.
I was willing to take these risks, and I was incredibly proud and
honestly, a little shocked by my own willingness. I always thought I
would end up becoming the kind of potter who wants to be safe
especially when the risk would involve breakage and cracking.
But I was willing to do this. I wanted to practice detachment if
something were to happen. This realisation was so validating. I
made a lot of plates! The risk of these plates breaking was still
there, but I was so ready for it.

Week 04.
The end of fourth week also marked the end of my course at Slow
Pottery. I don’t even know where to begin. The journey I had as a
potter and as a girl who isn’t used to be away from home
(definitely not used to farms) has been beyond incredible. I had a
dream a few years ago, when I was studying architecture, that all
I wanted to do was finish college and learn how to become a
potter. I had SO many ideas – for myself, for my life, for how I
wanted to shape it all.
Nikita helped me mold this raw dream into a beautiful one, by
giving it the push it needed. She helped me become the potter
that I am today, and the potter that I am becoming. They say you
always remember your ‘first’ of everything.
Indeed, that is true even in my case. Slow Pottery and Nikita will
always be my ‘first’ in all things pottery and I wouldn’t have it any
other way.
Thank you, Nikita.
Love and Light x