In conversation with - Megha Rawat
Thinking about an introduction for Megha, I'm trying to recall how I came across her work. Of course it was on Instagram but I can't remember how I came across her profile, nonetheless, I am so so glad that I did.
I call myself the crazy mug lady. I wanted to learn pottery just so I could make beautiful mugs for my coffee. But what's better is what Megha does. Her products are basic, colourful yet minimal and super light to hold. I've since bought 3 mugs from her and eyeing a few more to add to my collection.
Megha is a jovial person, just like her colourful work, she is kind and always replies with a lot of Joy. It is an absolute pleasure to share her story with you.
Q - Hi, please tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Megha, the artist behind the studio pottery label, The Mudslingers. Around 10 years ago I started dabbling in pottery and now we’re here!
I’m someone who gets bored easily. I switched many jobs before discovering pottery but thankfully this stuck! Being a potter is the one thing I always enjoy as the possibilities to create something out of clay are limitless.
I was born and raised in Delhi and I’m based in Noida now. I work in a bright, small space which is a garage turned studio in my home. This is where all the ceramics you see on my page are created. It’s been quite a journey but it feels nice to be where I am today. :)
Q - Was it your dream to become an artist/an entrepreneur? Please tell us about your milestone journey, the hurdles etc?
Having a strict parent while growing up meant that my siblings and I were not really given the liberty to make choices or think for ourselves as individuals...so I didn’t care to dream much but I do remember enjoying sketching, doodling behind my textbooks or any piece of paper I found lying around when it was actually time to study. So I knew I wanted to do something art related but I could never really dream of an artistic career.
As I grew older, I gained more confidence (all thanks to my elder sister Monica, without whom I would be living a completely different life today) and didn’t stick to one vocation. From wanting to become a professional dancer to working for an advertising firm, from just making lamps out of wood and acrylic and selling them to interior design, I tried quite a few things. After doing a two year diploma in Interior Design, I worked for two years in the field in Mumbai. Then one day, I received a phone call from my closest friend in Delhi, suggesting a change in career for both of us as we were not really content with our professional lives. So, we both decided to save money for a few months & then leave for Auroville in the hope that we’ll find some potters who’ll be willing to teach us – as there wasn’t really much information available about pottery classes online. When the time came to leave, my friend changed her mind & decided to stay! And it dawned on me that I was on my own! I hesitated a lot but eventually took the plunge to see what lies ahead. I’m so grateful to the decision I made or I’m sure I would’ve looked back and wondered what if…
So I packed my bags and went to Auroville, only to realise that none of the potters were interested in teaching or mentoring a student. But then after some persuasion, one of the senior potters told me about Andretta Pottery, situated in a small village in Himachal Pradesh. So I headed over to this postcard village called Andretta where my pottery journey started with the snow covered peaks of the gorgeous Dhauladhar mountain range as its backdrop.
This was just the beginning. There’s a long list of hurdles & difficulties that came along with stepping into this new world, as learning pottery did not come easy to me. During the 3 month pottery course, for the first 15 days of practicing 6 days a week - 8 hours a day, I could hardly even centre clay (the very first step that requires a lump of clay to be placed correctly in the centre of the wheel prior to everything else) while my fellow students were already onto the next stages of pulling cylinders & bowls. I started to believe that pottery wasn’t for me and literally wished every day for the rain to pour so hard that the sessions get cancelled. I somehow still pushed myself to not give up and give it more time & effort and figure out how to help myself. I remember tearing up in front of my teacher asking him if I wasn’t right for it. He told me everyone has their own pace. Some are fast at picking up in the beginning and some are really slow but it has no relation to who’ll excel as a potter. He gave me a few examples of his older students that helped me tremendously at that point. There’s a long list of hurdles & difficulties that came along with stepping into this new world but guess I should wrap it up for now. :-p
Q - Please tell us a little about The Mudslingers. How did you come up with the name?
My pottery journey started some 10 years ago but we came up with the name a few years later when I had some students in my studio. I used to give pottery classes back then. The name was my sister’s brainchild! She thought of a us when we were kids playing in the rain and splashing mud all around & just like that The Mudslingers was born. She’s also the content marketing brain behind the brand and basically the editor of everything in my life including The Mudslingers content. :D
The brand is all about functional pottery, focusing mainly on tableware with just a few designs that are decorative plus functional at the same time. It’s mainly because I personally prefer being able to hold a piece of art I like and use it in my daily life as compared to looking at it from a distance.
Q – How is “The Mudslingers” different from other brands available?
To be honest, I didn’t plan to make it any different but since even before diving into the learning process, I knew I wanted to achieve solid bright colours on simple shapes with minimalistic designs. I guess that’s one thing that I find different from most brands.
I always wondered why I never came across any bright coloured handmade pottery only to realize that it's just a personal choice. I’ve been attracted to colour all my life. Bright plain solids with no print or pattern but it was always hard to find….be it clothes, bags, sheets, you name it! So before I decided to learn pottery, I researched to make sure that it’s something I can achieve with this medium.
Q – How would you describe your journey with The Mudslingers so far?
It has been many emotions at different times. My journey has been difficult, nerve-racking & unbearable but also beautiful, joyous and exhilarating.
It seemed difficult for the longest time when I started….almost making me give up several times but later, it also opened the door to never-ending possibilities when I became more confident of my skills & started getting opportunities that enabled me to explore my potential. I can comfortably say that I’m happy to be where I am today. :)
Q – What were some of the good and not so good advice that you received when you got started?
The best advice I got was from a friend when I was still contemplating about leaving my stable job in Bombay to go learn pottery. He told me to take the plunge, else I’ll keep thinking about it for the rest of my life.
Not such good comments (rather than advice) were to snap out of it, consider pottery just as another casual hobby and consider getting a traditional, stable job.
Q - If someone inspired by your story wanted a piece of advice from you what would you tell them?
I’d say if you truly want something that’s humanly achievable but seems pretty impossible, just do some research & try to dive into it a bit. It won’t always come easy (as everything & everyone has its/their own pace) but you’ll be surprised to discover that absolutely nothing is impossible to achieve. It just needs time, patience & consistency to do it.
Q – What are your future plans for The Mudslingers?
I have small immediate goals that I work towards instead of having big future plans. I may come across as not an ambitious person for that reason. :-p
Though I recently achieved one of my long term goals of opening a little Mudslingers shop for anyone who’d like to come over to my studio to browse and shop for my pieces in person. Quite stoked about that one as I enjoy meeting people one on one more than selling online.
Q – Any further comments?
The main driving force for me from the beginning till date has been the sound of being called a Potter! :-p
From the very first day when the idea of considering Pottery as a profession hit me, all I could think of was….being called a “Potter” would be so damn cool! It literally was the sole driving force for me to make the shift to pottery & even kept me afloat when I desperately wanted to give up as the process didn’t come easy to me. True story! :D