A graduate in Commerce with a post-graduate degree in Advertising and Marketing, this 41 something has over 10 years of working experience in advertising and eLearning companies. However, her love for weaving clay with bare hands made her start a pottery studio leaving behind her 9 to 9 job. She happily teaches her students now many techniques of pottery to her satisfaction and spreading all the cheer around with her work and workshops.
Meet our Winning Stree Pooja Verma, who runs her own studio called Claying Thoughts in Noida and also is a maker and supplier of the Eco-Friendly Ganapati. She is blessed to clay her thoughts into any size, shape or form and the clay too happily molds when in her hands.
Her plans are big when it comes to her claying studio as she progresses to launch a whole new range of eco-friendly collection for Diwali by next year. We at WinningStree got a chance to interview her and this is what Pooja had to say.
1. Who are you and how are you into what you do?
Hi..my name is Pooja and I am a studio potter. I run a clay studio in Noida called Claying Thoughts where I teach handbuilding form of pottery making and clay modeling to children and adults.
2. What is Handbuilding Pottery?
Handbuilding pottery is an ancient form of pottery used by our ancestors to make utensils during the ancient times when even the wheel was not invented. Over the centuries, a lot has been experimented and innovated in this field bringing up further beautiful contemporary art pieces using hand techniques. Three most basic handbuilding techniques of making a pot are Slab, Coil, and Pinch technique. Apart from pots, handbuilding pottery also helps you create vases, tiles, wall art, nameplates, tea light holders, tribal mask, lamp, and much more!! You can mold clay into innumerable styles and forms! All you need is right clay handling technique and process to make mesmerizing art pieces.
3. How did you get into Claying and Pottery? Tell us more about your Journey?
It all started with a desire to do something creative, constructive and something for myself during a short sabbatical from my 9 to 9 e Learning job. So, I decided to take up a creative hobby and pottery was there in my priority list. I took up a beginner’s course from a ceramic artist Mrs. Meena Vohra wherein I learned the basics of both wheel and handbuilding pottery.
Out of the two forms, I found handbuilding pottery quite interesting as it gave me the liberty to create pottery anytime anywhere without the use of a potter’s wheel and other specialized tools.
After joining back my job, I continued practicing pottery at home on weekends or late nights during the weekdays, such was my addiction. I created a small work-space in my study and continued practicing pottery to not forget the skills that I had been taught.
During initial months of self-learning, I faced a lot of challenges, struggled with clay, failed in my experiments, learned from my mistakes, discovered tricks of handling clay and gradually widened my knowledge. I dedicated two years of my life to practicing this art alongside my full-time job.
I did not realize when my hobby turned into a passion. And one day I decided to quit my job to take up pottery full time. And this gave birth to Claying Thoughts Pottery Studio.
4. How did you arrive at the name Claying Thoughts?
“Claying Thoughts” was the name of my blog that I had started in 2010 to document and share my journey with clay, my learnings, experiments, and my creations. Later, when I started the studio, I couldn’t find a better name than Claying Thoughts for my venture. 🙂
5. How did you start up Claying Thoughts Pottery Classes?
My purpose of starting handbuilding pottery classes was to educate children and adults about this form of art that would help them create beautiful pottery pieces on their own without any assistance. What students appreciate the most about this art form is that they can pursue it at the confines of their sweet homes since it requires very simple tools and a small workspace. Another very interesting thing that students love about this art is that it gives them a chance to unveil their hidden talent. We tend to have this mindset that only creative people can make pottery but hey, the good news is that anyone can make it!! All you need is love for clay in your heart and a little patience. One secret about pottery is that it teaches us to become our patient best!!
It’s been over 5 years now that I run regular pottery classes for young children and adults. I also organize pottery workshops for schools, NGOs, corporate employees, and institutes. Have certainly come a long way in this journey!
6. That winning Stree moment
When I gave a live demo to more than 200 students in a School auditorium with projector screens around and the kids were screaming with excitement and clapping as if I was a magician and showing them wonders made of clay. That was the most heartwarming moment for me.
7. Three words you say to yourself when in front of the mirror
Thank You, Pooja!!
8. Winning message to other women
It’s very important to take that first step when you get the calling from within. Most of us think of obstacles and the ifs and buts. When you take your first step ..the road ahead will pave your way. Just keep taking steps (maybe baby steps).
9. Difficulties you faced when fulfilling your dreams/aspirations
Initially, it was difficult for me to make people understand that pottery can be made with hands as well without using any machine or tools. Most of them thought that pottery can only be made on the wheel and rest everything is ceramic powder decoration. But with time, people started understanding the term and showed interest in this ancient form of pottery making.
10. If not Claying and Pottery, what would you have chosen as an alternative career option?
After working with the corporate sector (advertising and eLearning) for over 12 years, I quit my job and took up pottery. Initially, it was a hobby and later it turned out to be a full-time career for me.
I like training and educating children, so if not, pottery then would have certainly worked with Some NGO in educating children.
11. What makes you extraordinary
I believe that if your heart is filled with gratitude then only it will overflow for others. And self-gratitude is the first step in making me extraordinary! I strongly recommend being good to people and respecting them around you but at the same time I love and respect myself and my work too!!
12. Your Favorite quote that you believe in…
Slow and steady wins the race…
Switching her career to do fulltime claying wasn’t easy but her strong determination and willingness to learn ended her up where she is standing today. A successful hand building pottery and clay modeling artist cum teacher who has a passion to educate children & adults and a zeal to promote handbuilding pottery as an Eco-Art skillset amongst all age groups.
She can be reached at:
All the best Pooja with Claying Thoughts!!