CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ
As an architect working in a firm in Bengaluru, Nimmy Joshi used to be on-site a lot, working around masons doing mud and stone work. It was this that prompted her to try out doing basic clay work herself.
She enrolled herself for pottery classes in Bengaluru and then decided to move to Goa to train under ceramic artist Thomas Louis in Socorro. “And I’ve been here ever since,” says Joshi smiling, who worked with Louis for about a year before she began to work independently. “Being in Goa is a lot easier in terms of doing my work. It’s peaceful and the people are nice. Also, the pottery circle in Goa has been very supportive right from the beginning,” she says.
Joshi specialises in miniature clay works which are a delight to look at. “I actually began doing miniatures because in the beginning I didn’t have a lot of material or a kiln. So I would make these small things and put it in between another potter’s stuff and get it fired,” explains Joshi. However, she became more and more fascinated with this style with time, although it took a few years to master the detailing on miniatures. “There are a lot of stories that you can tell with small objects which I have begun enjoying doing a lot. I create a small scene or setting and place my works in this or juxtapose it with other objects etc. It’s just my way of telling various stories. Of course the viewer’s perspective of the scene can be very different from what I envisage,” she states.
With a fondness for working on animal figures and the female body, Joshi also does a bit of political commentary at times through her work. “I am not someone who will just go out there and publish my political commentary, I am not so bold. But if there is something that has been disturbing me for a while then I sometimes work on this,” she says.
Living in Goa has also helped her work a lot. “Here in Goa you can see so many things all around – cows birds etc and you can take your time to observe how they look and behave, and this I can then recreate,” says Joshi, who lives in Quitula, Aldona.
But there a few challenges in the beginning. “The main challenge was getting the word out because what I do is still very niche. There are very few people in India making a living doing miniatures. As it isn’t functional ware i.e. bowls, mug etc, it doesn’t yet generate as much demand,” explains Joshi, who does functional ware too whenever she gets an order for such. “There has always been a market for functional ware and with people becoming more aware about pottery and handmade things, everyone today wants personalized things,” she says. As far as miniatures are concerned, Joshi has observed that people are always happy to see these.
“There are people however who come to Goa and regularly buy my things. Maybe the number of people buying is not large and that’s okay, it is slowly growing,” she says.
Joshi’s works can currently be found at People Tree, Assagao and Paper Boat Collective, Sangolda. An exhibition of her works could be the next step forward. Joshi also takes pottery classes and does workshops. Currently she is busy prepping and creating more works for the upcoming season which will begin in September. “I am also working on making a list of local animal species like the Olive Ridley turtles and dolphins which I hope to make miniatures of. These may not be exact replicas of the animals but I want to capture their spirit,” she says. Joshi also wants to experiment more with human bodies as she is fascinated and loves to observe the many different physiques, colours and expressions.
The plan is to create more potters. “There are many people who are interested in pottery as an art form or even just as a hobby. Some do it for a few years and then stop, while some return to it after a few years. But I am hopeful about the growing potter’s community both in Goa and in other places like Bengaluru, Pondicherry and Mumbai,” she concludes.