Besides the usual tableware, Aurovillian Rakhee Kane makes sculptures and is inspired by her travel
Hailing from Baroda, Gujarat, Rakhee Kane didn’t want to be a run of the mill potter making cups and saucers. She wanted to create abstract sculptures. With a degree in fine arts from Baroda and a post graduate diploma from the National Institute of Design in ceramics, Kane says, “I’m a painter turned potter. It was quite challenging as I could only think two dimensionally, not three,” begins the 42-year-old. After a one-year course in 2005 with Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith of Golden Bridge Pottery, she learned about ceramics and got hooked.
The pillar game
Her art works are inspired by her travels. “I once saw a lotus seed pod in a lake and made a piece inspired by it” she shares. Having built her kiln five years ago in Pondicherry, she makes abstract objects, tableware, terracota toys, dolls, commemorative stones, tomb stones, pillars and sculptures. One of her biggest installations can be spotted on the third floor of Grand Hyatt, Chennai. “It was a big project with Meeker—an installation with 14 pillars, each 11 feet tall. It was physically challenging to fire them and install them,” she says. After completing four solo shows and several group shows, Kane talks about her working process. “I am not an intellectual person. Most sculptors take up social issues to make art. I’m very emotional and clay is a form for me to vent. Clay is very receptive,” she says.
Around the world
“Initially I wanted to become an architect, but I didn’t get through. So the next closest thing was industrial ceramics. Now my products feature in my husband, Dharmesh Jadeja’s (an Aurovillian known for his company, Build Aur) projects. He’s an architect,” she says. As for her upcoming projects, an Auroville festival is being planned in Chennai in March. “We will have exhibitions, art shows, seminars—everything one should know about Auroville. I will be taking part in the ceramic exhibition,” shares Kane, who follows the work of well-known sculptors Jane Perryman and Betty Woodman. Her next workshop is with American soda firing expert, Ruthanne Tuddball. Comparing her life in Baroda and Auroville, Kane says, “People live life full size there. Auroville is a bigger community, but is very different. If there is a wedding in Gujarat, my entire locality would be involved. Here, it’s very quiet,” she concludes.
Toys start from `50 and sculptures from Rs.0,000 to Rs.2 lakhs. At Aavartan Pottery Studio, Auroville. A sculpture takes six months to make. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
— Mrinalini Sundar