Art & Craft of Passion with Clay
Malaysia, Selangor Seramik Kraftangan
Learn and Study Pottery
How to throw a hump on a pottery wheel?
Cindy Koh of Clay Expression, Malaysia, demonstrates; How to produce multiple small clay plates by throwing off the hump on a pottery wheel? Throwing off the hump improves the speed of production.
How to trim a small plate on the pottery wheel?
Cindy Koh of Clay Expression, Malaysia, demonstrates on the pottery wheel; How to center, using the tap centering technique and trimming a small plate without having to anchor the plate down?
Cindy is a pottery teacher in Malaysia, she conducts clay classes and ceramic workshops
Making a plate without centering
Cindy Koh of Clay Expression demonstrates; How to make a plate on the potter's wheel without centering the clay?
The magic touch of the potter.
Like an expert magician, P. Arumugam deftly moulded and shaped the Clay dough with his hands and within seconds a perfectly symmetrical medium sized pot begins to take shape.
Using only a traditional spinning potters wheel, his pot formed beautifully in perfect shape and size. One wonders just how he did it, and getting the size right, too.
Arumugam hard at work at the potter’s wheel
That comes with years and years of practice,” said P. Kamalanathan, a close friend of Arumugam. Arumugam has been a potter for more than 30 years. He is the third generation of a potter family from Kuala Selangor.
So it is no surprise that Kamalanathan, who is organising the National Ponggal Festival at KL Tower today, sought Arumugam’s help as he wants only the best ponggal pots for the function.
Arumugam’s grandfather Vengadasalam started a small-time pottery business in the early 1920s operating from their humble abode in Kuala Selangor. His son Perumal took over the family business in the 1950s
Since as a child,
had always helped out in the family
business and when the time came, he took over
the reins from his father. He bought a one-acre
plot of land in Kuala Selangor, where he built
his factory, and started to diversify.
“We’ve been in the pottery
for almost a hundred years now and throughout
that time I noticed that the traditional way of
doing things has always produced better
results,” the 40-year-old potter said.
According to Arumugam,
for mass production, the traditional methods are
not feasible. Hence, he has installed modern
moulding machines to enable him to produce 250
pots a day. At
present, his factory Aru
Enterprise is using modern means to cater to the
demand for pots for today’s Ponggal festival.
Ponggal, celebrated by
all over the world, is a reminder to mankind to
give thanks to Mother Nature who has provided
mankind with grain, rice, and other bounties.
the festival is the ritual of boiling milk rice
called Chakkarai ponggal. New clay pots are used
to boil the ponggal.
“The new pots signify a new year. For Hindus, the Tamil New Year, which falls on April 14, is usually taken as the start of the new year. But for Tamils, whether Hindus, Christians and even Muslims, the Ponggal day is celebrated as the New Year,” Kamalanathan said.
and M. Ravi
Kamalanathan, the ponggal was even been listed
as an event for the Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
Arumugam is also exporting the pots to Singapore and Brunei. His pots retails from RM3.30 to RM20 each, depending on size and designs. “We started work in November last year, producing 250 pots a day. I have seven workers working 14 hours a day to meet the demand,” he said.
Spilling over with blessings for the family PONGGAL, which literally means to “boil over”, is a 5,000-year-old harvest festival celebrated by Tamil farmers in India. The festival is celebrated for three days beginning Jan 13 to Jan 16
A. Anand, Arumugam’s
also lends his hand to the pottery business
second day is the Veetu
the main celebration when the Tamils give thanks
to Mother Nature. Then
there is the Maatu Ponggal,
the cow worship, when farmers give thanks to
cattle, as they help plough the land and provide
milk for the family.
Finally, the Kanni
is a celebration for young unmarried girls.
prepare for the festival,
a through spring cleaning would be carried out
in every household and fresh mango leaves are
hung at the doorway and sugar cane used to
decorate the house.
of the key rituals
is the cooking of the milk in a pot. New
earthenware pots would be used to boil the sweet
rice or chakkarai ponggal, which is made from
rice, jaggery, raisins, sugar, milk and ghee.
One is encouraged to watch the pot boil over spilling the rice and when this happens, the cries of Ponggal oh Ponggal will be followed with shouts of excitement and laughter signifying that one’s home is blessed and that the family can look forward to prosperity.
Acknowledgment of information source: The Star M E T R O Tuesday January 15, 2008. Title: The magic touch of the potter. By BAVANI M