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Hello,

I am Shuba Iyer, ceramic artist and educator based in Naperville, IL.

I’m quite new to the art scene and before making the transition to become a full time artist in 2020, I had a long and varied career in the IT Industry.

 

I was always drawn to art from a young age but was never able to pursue it in any meaningful way so when I gave pause to my career to be a mother, I enrolled in a pottery class at a local community college. What began as a hobby quickly evolved into an all-consuming passion. It would be no exaggeration to say that I experienced withdrawal symptoms when I couldn't get my hands on clay for a few days. 

 

Through all the stress and the rigors of being a homemaker and a caretaker, pottery has been my anchor and a huge emotional support. I have experienced this feeling time and again when I work with clay; everything and everyone around me cease to exist. During those moments I am in a meditative state where nothing else matters and I experience a strange feeling of calm.

 

Kneaded Earth was born from my need to create this space where people can forget their life problems for a few hours and just be in the moment. Time and again, I have experienced that the participants are blissfully engrossed in their work, just present in the moment with no sense of time passing.

My journey with clay has been life-changing. It has taught me to be a keen observer, to be in the moment, to be patient, and to persevere. I am drawn to making pottery even though it is humbling, demanding, process-oriented, and offers delayed gratification. I love the versatility of the medium and enjoy the challenges it throws at every stage. 

Like any artist, I want art to be more pervasive and ubiquitous. Art hanging on walls will tend to be ignored after a few appreciative glances, but items of everyday use will be seen and touched by many and will turn every room and space into a canvas. As an artist, I strive to use these canvases to create carefully designed pots that serve their purpose while also being artistic and unique.

Given my desire to blend art and functionality, I begin working by analyzing the possible use cases for a piece. This guides the design, dimensions, material, and the process itself. From an artistic standpoint, I am inspired by ancient architecture, unique patterns in fabrics, and textures found in nature. I try to take these ideas and blend it into my work. For the most part, I work with clay, but I may sometimes combine multiple mediums to achieve color, contrast, texture, depth, and balance in my work.

Through my work, I have met some incredible people, made many new friends, met other passionate artists and have had interesting opportunities to collaborate and learn in the process.

One such opportunity came through a friend who was in the process of writing a cookbook. She asked if I could make pots for her book to showcase her creations. The challenge was to make pots that didn't look like store bought and at the same time would compliment and not compete with the food. It took close to 9 months of back and forth and pushing myself to the limits to come up with pots that I am quite proud of. I am eternally grateful to my friend, Anusha, for having faith and trust in my abilities and for pushing me to become a better potter.

The cookbook 'Vegan Treasures of India' was recently published and can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles in the US. You can see some of those pots featured here on the 'Pots in Action' page.

Additionally, I've had the privilege of being showcased in the Artist Lookbook of a prominent Naperville-based lifestyle magazine, Main & Luxe. 

These experiences have significantly enriched my pottery journey, deepening my appreciation for the incredible medium that is clay. I look forward to new challenges and collaborations in the years to come, as I continue to blend art and functionality to create unique, purposeful pieces that resonate with people and bring art into their everyday lives.

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