I’m a sucker for cosy-looking home decor, especially tableware (read chai mugs and Maggi bowls). So obviously, when I came across the works of Rohit Kulkarni and Bhairavi Naik, I went all “Errmigaaaaad!” over their products. Just imagine this, Punekars – some light drizzle (ok, heavy downpour), a comforter, one of these gorgeous mugs/bowls with some steaming chai/Maggi and an episode of GoT. #LifeGoals, boss!
Anyhoo, I caught up with Rohit (co-founder of Curators of Clay), so I could help you guys accomplish the aforementioned #LifeGoals. Here goes…
When did your affair with clay kick off?
At some point in college I wanted to be a sculptor and make gargoyles. I also randomly applied to NID and was summarily rejected after a disastrous final interview! Around that time, I started playing with clay at Bal Wad Sir’s classes in Pune. But then other things took over. It wasn’t until much, much later, on meeting Vinod Dubey, my first pottery guru, when I rekindled the love for clay and this time started learning pottery properly.
Incidentally, what led me to seeking Vinod Sir out, was an article in a magazine about him. Bizarrely, the person who’d written the article was a friend who’d remarked many times that my hands seem like they would be decent at pottery!
How did Curators of Clay happen?
After doing the full time residential course at Andretta Pottery, I was working as a Creative Director in Mumbai, while moonlighting at the pottery studio in Mumbai. There I met another potter, Bhairavi Naik who, like me, was considering doing pottery full time. We discussed many different business plans/ideas about how we could do this, and finally just decided that unless we start something it will always just be an indulgent hobby. That’s when we thought of setting up Curators of Clay – the initial idea was to set up just a shop that sold handcrafted ceramics, but then we went ahead and set up the studio first, and very recently we opened our own store.
Let’s talk about CofC’s products… What do you make? Do you also customise products for your clients?
Curators of Clay is essentially a pursuit of beauty, happiness and peace – with clay being our medium of choice. We handcraft functional high-fired ceramics; beautiful tableware, home decor pieces and more – everything is made entirely by hand from start to finish at our studio in Bhugaon. Currently we have no karigars, so every piece is made either by Bhairavi or me. All the glazes are our own too – formulated and crafted at the studio.
All our tableware is microwave friendly, happy in the oven and absolutely food safe too!
We do undertake commissions – where we craft a selection based on the creative brief that we discuss with the clients. We’ve had lots of clients letting us create and craft ceramics for them, but no, we don’t do printed-logos/quotes-on-mugs kind of work!
We like to call our work ‘art for every day use’ – because our vision for CofC is simple, we want our work to be loved, cherished and above all, enjoyed daily.
What’s your favourite part about creating a product from clay?
I’m not sure whether I’ve one favourite part – but there’s something rather awesome when you just look at finished piece of your work and it just looks so stunning! But more than just the crafting part, my favourite part of this, is the lifestyle that it affords me – I work mostly in the outdoors, under a simple shed on the studio, which is on the outskirts of Pune on a hill. What a great office/workspace to have!
Where can one purchase your products?
We’re a small batch pottery – with just two people crafting all the work, we end up refreshing our stock often but in small selections. So the best way would be to keep visiting our store in Bavdhan (ground floor, Runwal Platinum, Bavdhan road, opposite Ramnagar Colony, Bavdhan) – and following us on Facebook where we continuously update new stock/work. Just drop us a line on Facebook and we’ll get back with price, shipping details etc.