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Biennale Workshop Teaches Ways to Mould Clays into Coins, Cylinder Forms

In Kochi
February 26, 2019

The medium is clay, but the art being taught is precision moulding — not sculptures. An interactive workshop alongside the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is drawing keen interest from visitors, also because the three-day event allows one to walk in any time and join the master.

Veteran artist Reghunadhan K is giving training on certain basic moulding techniques using clay. The latter part of the February 23-25 event graduated to lessons on relatively more challenging moulding techniques in cylindrical forms. “It needs great precision. Nonetheless, the activity is full of fun,” says the 61-year-old, who first guided participants to create clay coins at the art room of Fort Kochi’s Cabral Yard, a key venue of the 108-day biennale.

Overall, the idea is to familiarise the participants with the language of clay as an art material and the various techniques of its use. “Clay coins are the simplest moulds to make, as they are round,” says the Kochi -based master, whose weekend session was on ways to make them. “The outcome was really satisfactory.”

The mould-making and casting workshop of is designed for people who love to work with clay, experience it better and expand their knowledge as well as skills related to ceramic art. “Here at the biennale, I chose not to make you work on clay models. I want people to experience something new,” shares the Thiruvananthapuram-born artist, who is one of the founding members of Indian Radical Painters and Sculptors Association.

Reghunadhan was a participating artist at the inaugural biennale in 2012 and has been conducting a series of workshop with the Kochi Biennale Foundation.

So, why coins now? “Well, coins feature symbols. They are essentially iconography, which once represented beliefs. They give view to significant events of history that are very fascinating,” notes the artist, who is a graduate from MS University at Baroda. Reghunadhan’s works are known for their deeply link with local myths and metaphors. Juxtaposing humour with fables is a highlight of his art universe.

The art room workshop has been finding participants from far and one. Among them is John K, a fine arts student from the university in Gujarat from where Reghunadhan got his training. The youngster has flown to Kochi to attend the event. “Sculpting has always been my passion,” he says. “I didn’t want miss a chance to learn under a senior sculptor.”

Mathew M, a Kochi-based architect, notes that patience and dedication are essential to mould and cast designs with clay. “This provides an excellent opportunity.”

Fine arts students from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kalady are also attending the workshop. One of them, Anagha S, says the sessions have been “very informative and productive”.