Utopia Dystopia Goa Week II

Vibrant background colors appear at Utopia Dystopia
Vibrant background colors

Last week we conceptualized the tree, we brainstormed, we drew our ideas on paper and we thought through how we want our areas to look on the Utopia Dystopia tree. This week we had to dirty our hands literally. We had to give shape to our ideas. I would remember this week as patience building time. Working with new mediums required a lot of patience – as you have to allow time for things to take shape, have to work patiently on the details and then hope & pray that your hard work does not go waste.

Potteries at Banana Pottery Studio
Potteries at Banana Pottery Studio

First three days we worked in the ceramics studio. Our group was divided into two and I worked in Thomas’s workshop – which is a located in a quaint village in North Goa in an old Portuguese era house. Pottery is spread like poetry all over his studio cum home – right from his gates to his garden to balcao and of course the room & backyard have potteries in various stages of making. The kiln in backyard looks like the dream hut that converts the hand crafted clay into hardened terracotta or stoneware.

Clay pieces getting moulded at Utopia Dystopia
Clay pieces getting moulded

We learnt how to kneed the clay, how to roll it into usable chunks, how to engrave it using various tools and most importantly how to join the two parts so that they do not come apart after going into the kiln. We learnt how to make clay leaves by using actual leaves and their impressions on clay. We got to see Thomas creating various creatures in a matter of minutes while we looked at his hands in amazement. We learnt how to give finishing to the moulded clay when it is a bit hardened and is technically called leather hard. It was immense learning.

Up for Upcycling at Utopia Dystopia
Up for Upcycling at Utopia Dystopia

Last three days we were back at site to work with junk to create stuff for the Dystopia side of the tree and the backdrop with colorful clouds. The red background walls now have stripes of bright colors that would be painted to emulate stack of clouds. The space was full of waste from our homes – computers and their accessories, entangles wires, used toothbrushes to broken accessories like shoes and hair clips. Three days some of us worked on dismantling stuff while others assembled some of the parts to create some beautiful pieces. At the end of the week I had a stiff hand after cutting and braiding lots of wires. The work was tiring and the welcome part of the day used to be Chai and Samosa served to us – no we did not break for tea, but rather like hand workers had tea while working.

Thermos flask and sole of footwear transformed for Utopia Dystopia
Thermos flask and sole of footwear transformed for Utopia Dystopia

My favorite creation of second half of the week is a fish created by putting the bottle caps on top of a base of a footwear.

This week we also celebrated our mentor Orijit’s b’day.

Looking forward to putting all this on the tree next and see how the vision metamorphs into reality.