A graduate from Symbiosis, Ashi grew up in the quiet green lanes of Bhosale Nagar, nurturing her creative instincts for as far as she can remember. Doodles, illustrations and greeting cards were her media for artistic expression, helping her even to cope with her awkward introvert traits, till at age 15 she was introduced to the joy of clay. When Ashi’s sociable mother took her reticent daughter to see a neighbor’s work, she unsurprisingly fell in love with the beautiful little sculptures and glazed pots. Wanting to try her hand at pottery, Ashi signed up with The Creative Club to learn the basics of the art. Now that her hands were dirty with clay, there was no looking back!
A couple of years into marriage, her husband urged her to embrace her passion and Ashi happily obliged by joining a three month pottery course in a place called Andretta in the lap of the Himalayas. Learning the ropes from the likes of the renowned Mansimran Singh amidst beautiful mountains, fields and the warmest of people she honed her pottery skills and techniques. After Andretta, she was fortunate to work with Sandeep Manchekar, another accomplished potter, followed by Hanif & Abbas Galwani, resident potters from Kumbharwada, Dharavi.
Ashi then moved back to Pune and turned her backyard, with help from her equally reserved father into a private pottery studio. This was the first time she was running a studio alone, devoid of the immediate help available in a shared studio space. She took some time to get used to it, to solve snags with firing, glazing or any other techniques without any help from senior potters. In times of need though they were always just a phone call away.
Over the years Ashi’s pottery skills have evolved. The possibilities clay provides due to its plasticity she says are endless. Each day presents an opportunity to create something new and original. Studio pottery allows her to satiate her artistic whims and hence she intends to stay away from production pottery. Every piece Ashi creates is either hand thrown on a potter’s wheel or hand built from scratch. From procuring raw earth, turning it into clay, throwing it on the wheel and then turning it into aesthetically stunning pieces by using her own lead free glazes, this talented potter does it all. Ashi also keeps coming up with ideas away from the wheel. She might for example choose to use only her hands and a few tools to shape a lump of clay into an exotic piece, fit to command space and attention in your living room.
Her ideology she explains strikingly has always been to find beauty in imperfection. To treat each pot as an individual work of art and not a member of an assembly line. Her jovial disregard to strict processes and procedures has been essential to enable her to express her creativity. Some of the potters Ashi admires are Lucy Rie, Bernard Leach, Hamada, Perry Haas and Michael Hunt.
Ashi has now been a part of several pottery exhibitions and fleas, and has seen overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers. She is also in talks with a few concept stores. In spite of not being tech savvy she is now consciously making an effort to establish her brand online. We at Punekar wish this magic weaving potter all the success!