After a long break of many years when Shailja decided to come back to pottery as a vehicle of self-expression, it all became clear, she felt centred and whole. Working with powerful materials like Earth, fire, Air, and Water, together with the rhythm of throwing on the wheel connects her to a particular state of mind. The magic of clay inspires her to accept the imperfections in nature and embrace irregularities as a way of life. Being mindful of the moment, and creating art, is what makes her complete.
Shailja draws upon the traditions of ceramics from ancient civilizations such as the Inca, Mimosa, Japanese, Neolithic period etc cultivating new inventive techniques in shaping, glazing, and firing. Inspired by traditional vessels she tries to express a connection between people and nature and link the ancestral material (clay) and technique to the present day. The result is a body of work imbued with the beauty of imperfection and the ephemeral.
While growing up in India she was surrounded by a lot of handmade pottery - Surahi’s, Matki’s, Martabans -these organic works transcend into her practice as shapes, forms, and textures. The matt surfaces, neutral subtle palette of her work transports her to the forgotten land where weathering of buildings and objects was always evident and accepted.
Shailja’ s present work is a marriage of her spiritual self and clay. Ritual pottery is work that is functional and designed for ritualistic practices in life. Her work is shifting to suit the aesthetics and functional needs of folks who are like her: sensory and in search of creative and daily inspiration. The Tree of life as depicted by Mexicans somehow finds its way into her pottery through the handles that she makes. The tree of life to her symbolises personal individuality and unique beauty.
The vessels are built with several elements and each construction looks for its own balance. Her work borders between function and sculpture and she enjoys the fact that there is both in her practice. It is contemporary with an ancient feel and when placed in the right environment it adds harmony to the space.
“It is not easy finding your true passion or meaning of your life. Neither is it exceedingly difficult!”
Have attended hands on workshop with famous sculptor James Oughtibridge & Rebecca Appleby
Paper clay workshop with Angela Mellor
Paper Clay workshop in Paris (France) with renowned artist Nathalie Domingo
Glaze development workshop with Mathew Blakely
Hand building workshop with Alberto Bustos
Scheduled to attend a workshop with Akira Satake in Barcelona in April 2022.
2018-2019 B Tech (Ceramics) Westminster Adult Education Service – Distinction
1990-1992 Worked as apprentice with legendary Potters Mr Gurcharan Singh & Mr Devi Prasad
1989-1990 Interior Design Course, South Delhi Polytechnic, New Delhi – 1st Class
1992-1994 Ran a successful Pottery business in India.
June 2018 held a successful Exhibition with Harrow Open Studios.
December 2019 Exhibition at Kensington, in collaboration with other fellow Potters.
January 2021 Artwork featuring in the ICAN (International Ceramic Artist Network) Wall Calendar.
June 2021 Exhibited in ARTEFACT THE CONTEMPORARY CRAFT FAIR at Chelsea Design centre, London.
June 2022 Flux Exhibition at Greenwich Design District
June-July 2022 The Other Art Fair, Kings Cross London
Maker with The Design Buzz – Interiors Website.