The journey continues as Shweta Mansingka fascination with bare clay evolves with experimentation with alternative firing techniques – Naked Raku and Saggar. She finds in clay a silent strength, a malleable medium which had strength in its form to wordlessly express her thoughts and expressions. The very nature of clay fascinates and inspires her to produce intricate, detailed works which draw on nature.
Artworks are about beauty, and subjectivity—and clay as a medium wordlessly express Shweta Mansingka’s intangible thoughts or intensely felt emotions. Using this medium and Saggar firing technique she expresses reverence for life-force and perpetuates a creation with resilience to survive victorious over the harshest circumstance – ‘Saggar Fired Fruit’ her latest collection — fruits handcrafted fired in a Raku kiln.
The mystique of saggar firing is captivating. The process is complex from beginning to end, from wedging the clay to firing the work. The end results of a saggar firing are borne of the coalescence of earth, fire, water, air and space. This unique quality reflects in ‘Saggar Fired Fruit’ which address timeless elements the co-existence of beauty with ugliness, and grace — a symphony of natural beauty gently exploring the multifaceted layers of life and living. Like Gods universe, no two pieces are identical as they have been handmade. The color and the spots come with the smoke & the fire, so no two fruits look the same – making each fruit one of its kind, unique pieces to be displayed. The giant fruits in all their ripeness are symbolic of abundance.
The creative and unusual art of saggar firing holds the greatest fascination for her as art-work are a combination of craggy, textured surfaces with very smooth ones. Through this process she feels her ideas about clay work art and life are brought to the fore. The innumerable possibilities for delving with clay were introduced to her by Shri Ram Kumar Manna in Calcutta – under whom she trained in 1989 and it is under his guidance that she had my first solo exhibition of terracotta sculpture at the Birla Academy of Fine Arts in 1995. But it was under the guidance of Shri Devi Prashad that she started working with stoneware on the wheel, learnt about kilns and glazing which enabled her to finally set up my own studio in 1999.