Crafting contemporary art and tradition from Odisha’s rich heritage

Crafting contemporary art and tradition from Odisha’s rich heritage

We delve into the creative journey of BEADS, a studio based in Odisha, India, renowned for its bespoke handcrafted ceramic tableware and experimental crafts.

We delve into the creative journey of BEADS, a studio based in Odisha, India, renowned for its bespoke handcrafted ceramic tableware and experimental crafts. Sandeep Hota, Co-founder and Managing Director, Bhubaneswar Experimental Art and Design Studio (BEADS) celebrates the cultural richness of Odisha while venturing into innovative realms of design and craftsmanship.

Interview excerpt:

1. Why did BEADS start with ceramics, even though Odisha isn't historically known for this art form?

Odisha has a rich tradition of terracotta craftsmanship, laying a strong foundation for working with clay. Transitioning into stoneware ceramics was a natural progression, as demand for modern tableware and home decor grows in India. Our resident ceramists, Saroj and Sarada, trained extensively to master stoneware techniques, drawing inspiration from Odia culture to create contemporary artifacts.

2. How is BEADS incorporating design thinking to create modern, contemporary art and craft through ceramic stoneware?

Design thinking is integral to our creative process, from customer engagement to prototyping and final production. We collaborate closely with designers and craftsmen to ensure our products reflect aesthetic appeal and functional excellence. Through meticulous research and testing, we strive to offer sustainable and culturally resonant pieces that enrich the lives of our customers.

3. How did the idea for curating the Parijata Design Collection originate?

The Parijata Design Collection emerged from our commitment to showcasing Odisha's diverse cultural narratives through crafts. Through an iterative process of ideation and prototyping, we curated a collection spanning tableware, jewellery, home decor, and artworks, inspired by Odisha's biodiversity and climate challenges. We anticipate this collection to evolve and inspire future creations rooted in our cultural heritage.

4. What inspired you to create ceramic jewellery?

Observing the market dynamics of fast fashion jewellery and recognising a niche for ceramic options, we embarked on crafting jewellery that merges traditional craftsmanship with contemporary appeal. Drawing inspiration from local flora and utilizing dhokra traditions for embellishments, our ceramic pendants offer a unique fusion of artistry and cultural significance.

5. You have two art residency programs, One Wall and an annual BEADS residency program. When is the next residency coming up? Who can apply?

The next residency will be announced in the coming months, inviting artists, designers, and collectives from India and abroad to immerse themselves in Odisha's craft traditions. Our residency programs aim to foster creative exchange and exploration, contributing to the vibrant cultural landscape of Odisha and beyond.

6. What was the intention behind the One Wall Residency program?

The One Wall Residency program seeks to elevate public art discourse in Bhubaneswar, offering a platform for artists to engage with local crafts and narratives. By transforming a single wall space into a canvas for artistic expression, we aim to challenge conventional notions of urban aesthetics and promote community engagement in creative endeavours.

7. What is the one craft that BEADS is exploring and experimenting with right now?

Currently, we are delving into the intricate art of sabai grass weaving, exploring its potential to create sustainable and visually captivating products. As we continue to push the boundaries of craftsmanship, sabai grass-inspired pieces are poised to be our next exciting venture, celebrating the fusion of tradition and innovation.

In conclusion, BEADS epitomizes the spirit of innovation and tradition, weaving together the threads of Odisha's cultural heritage to create contemporary masterpieces that resonate globally.

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