Dancing Diva (This wall sculpture is a part of a series inspired by the songs and dances seen in Bollywood movies)
Q So who is Charan Sachar?
Charan Sachar is the potter behind Creative with Clay. I have lived in India for a significant part of my life where my mother ran a boutique designing clothes for brides and bridesmaids. The colors, fabrics, embroidery and designs I came across then have a strong impact on my work now.My work also reflects my love for Bollywood movies and my fascination with life in India. I strive to give life to clay, decorating it with Indian influences keeping functionality and uniqueness in mind.
Pottery has given me the much needed respite from the monotony of everyday life. Working with clay and giving it form feels as satisfying as organizing and bringing peace to all the chaos that is there around you. My goal is to continue to work with this medium to create art work which is cherished for life.
Bollywood Inspired Hand-built Tumblers (stoneware with slip decoration)
For having lived in India for a significant part of my life, majority of my influences do come from India. However I was born and brought up in Kuwait for first 16 years of my life. We were raised in a very Indian atmosphere, but the middle east influences do creep into my work. I enjoyed writing Arabic as it was so fluid and just like drawing. The intricate patterns seen in mosaic work also makes an impact on my work. Interestingly, I have noticed that same patterns which I thought are Indian, are very similar to Chinese and African too and mean different things. The same texture is the rising sun in one culture or fish scales in another. Textures and patterns in general do impact my work greatly and I keep my eyes open to everything.
Q You work in clay but is there any other medium you work in or would like to work?
I have worked in several mediums, like painting, pin thread, crafting from recycled material, cooking etc. I knew I always wanted to work with clay and had always been trying to get there. Every now and then I go get attracted to cooking, calligraphy and wood carving. With all the things I would like to do with clay, I don’t know when I will try to accomplish something else.
Big Sassy Funky Salt Pepper Shakers Dancing (porcelain, hand-built with slip trail decoration)
Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?
I have a studio at home where I create my work. When we purchased our home, my first priority was to have a studio space. We did have to convert a family room on the bottom floor of our house to my studio. I love the space and planned it with potential of growth. With almost 6 years in, it has worked work really well and I am now hunting for more space. I should be good for a few more years and then may be expand into my garage, if my wife lets me. LOL!
Q What is your typical working day look like?
I work full time as an engineer and my studio time revolves around every single free minute I can get. So I really can’t stick to a fixed everyday schedule. Having said that, I am very disciplined about what I need to get done on a monthly/weekly and daily basis. I keep a calendar for that. Usually after work, I take a break and get into the studio in the evening. My pre planning helps in determining what I will be doing in the studio that day. After I complete my work, I leave the studio in clean enough state so I don’t waste time cleaning when I work next. I would rather clean when tired at end of day, than clean when I am excited to make pots.
Tea Light Candle Holders (wheel thrown, stoneware with slip decoration)
With clay, it is all about timing. And with my decoration technique, timing is everything. The pots need to be at the perfect stage for alterations and attaching handles. With my slip decoration, if the clay is too wet, it is hard to get clean patterns. Too dry and the slip decoration pops out. To overcome this, I need to be really organized and need to divide my process in stages.
First is working with wet clay, i.e. throwing on the wheel, extruding or slab work depending on what I am making. Next day is trimming, adding handles, hand-building/altering the extruding work and the day after is the slip decoration or carving, which is the most time consuming. So once I have touched the wet clay, I need to keep on my toes to make sure the pots are at the right stage for every process. This is followed by the bisque firing and then the glaze firing.
Sassy Teapot with cups standing with attitude (stoneware with slip decoration)
Q How do you sell and promote your work?
I sell my work at art shows and in galleries across the US (You can see my show schedule and the galleries that carry my work at http://www.creativewithclay.com/). I also sell online at http://creativewithclay.etsy.com/. Majority of my promotional work happens through facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Creative-with-clay/66752007515), my blog (creativewithclay.blogspot.com) and through forums. All of these have their pros and cons. I do enjoy the interaction with my customers at all times.
Q What is your greatest achievement to date?
I don’t think I have reached any great achievement yet but I have been very happy on achieving some of my goals. In the last few years, I have been doing art shows which I only dreamed of doing. I had been visiting these shows ever since I got started in clay and thought some day I will apply to these shows and will sell my work here. I feel very fortunate to get into these shows on my first application and getting a great response. This has mostly been possible with support and encouragement of friends, family and my customers.
Bowls - (wheel thrown with slip trail decoration)
I am a big Bollywood fan. I will listen to everything and anything Bollywood. Lately I have been enjoying songs of Once upon a time in Mumbai, Action Replayy, Aisha, Raajneeti... The list goes on.
Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...
Focus, Determination, Discipline and enjoy every moment with this gift you have
Large Cookie Jar - (stoneware with impressed decoration and glaze)
Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
This list is going to be long and it would be very hard for me to list everyone here. Also I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out. So I am going to let this question go!
Q What do you do to relax?
Good question. I wish I had an answer to this since I hardly get time to relax. I do watch a Bollywood movie. A good 3 hours forces me to sit in one place and not work. That is the only way I will not work. But thinking about it, I am still taking in inspiration for my upcoming work while watching the movie. So it is not totally relaxed time.
Oval Lidded Trinket Box
To view video demonstrations of Charan’s Slip trail techniques and decoration process please click here: