The word terracotta comes from the Italian word “baked earth”. In Goa, there are various local artists which ply the trade of making terracotta artifacts. These artists take on various projects handed to them by various hotels across Goa.
One such artist is Verodina. Verodina is a terracotta professional who takes private orders and does commercial work for gardens and others. The price range depends on the size of the terracotta product. It starts at Rs.200 approximately and can go up to Rs. 1 lakh.
Just like other handicrafts, terracotta is hard work. Verodina has to process and knead the clay, shape it and let it dry. She then bakes it at 1000 degrees centigrade which can last from morning to evening. Her future plans involve working with stoneware and to play around with colours and glazes.
Verodina is a Fine Arts student and has practised terra cotta for the last 28 years. She started on her own with pots and moved on to large pieces. She says, “It’s more of an art for me than a craft. Art has feeling.”
Another such artist is Vijay Vengurlekar, who hails from Mangeushi, a village on the outskirts of Ponda taluka. Initially, Vijay started out as a shell-craft artist and used to make terracotta artifacts in lesser quantity as compared to the shell artifacts.
But when the Goa Government imposed restrictions on removal of shells, as removal of shells from beaches could damage ecosystems and endanger organisms that rely on shells for their survival, Vijay then shifted to making terracotta artifacts on a full-time basis. The material which is used in the making of terracotta artifacts involves a mixture of three varieties of mud. This raw material is brought either from Mandrem or Bicholim.
In this entire process right from moulding, sculpting to putting up the artifacts in the furnace, Vijay is accompanied by his wife Mrs. Vinanti Vengurlekar. Vijay has not only exhibited his work in Goa but also has participated in exhibitions in other states of India such as Maharashtra, Gujrat and others. For his immense contribution in this field, he has also been felicitated by the Goa Art and Culture Department.
Terracotta items are also available at Aparant Goan Handicrafts Emporium (opposite Institute Menezes Braganza Hall).
Sheryl Gonsalves & Austin Dias I NT GOGOANOW.COM
Pics Credit – Shivang Mishra I NT GOGOANOW.COM