Art is a potent form of communication, often bridging cultures with its captivating ability to connect people. Today, we introduce you to an intriguing entrepreneur from Delhi, Kritika Soni. Her artistic journey began at Srishti School of Art & Design, Bangalore, and continued with a Master’s degree from the University of Arts London.
Kritika is the Founder of Kara Sabi, a ceramic studio and brand. Through ‘Kara Sabi,’ she conveys the wisdom gained from her years of learning and creating, seeking beauty in imperfections through handcrafted ceramics.
In our discussion with this talented 28-year-old, we delve into her journey and her venture, “Kara Sabi.” This project draws inspiration from Japanese traditional aesthetics, particularly the philosophy of ‘Wabi Sabi,’ which reveres all things old, worn, weathered, imperfect, and impermanent.
Hi Kritika, please introduce yourself.
Hi, I am Kritika Soni, 28 years of age, and founder of “Kara Sabi” I am a textile designer by degree and a ceramic artist by profession. I was born and raised in Delhi and after graduating in Textiles from Srishti School of Art & Design Bangalore in 2011, I came back to Delhi and worked in the industry for a year and a half to gain some work experience. Later I went to London to pursue an MA in Textile Design from Chelsea College of Arts, University of Arts London.
What does the name “Kara Sabi” mean? Tell us more about it.
The name “Kara Sabi” is derived from the Japanese language. “Kara” means “From”, and “Sabi” as for ‘Wabi Sabi’ which is the Japanese art of impermanence. ‘Kara Sabi’ was launched in September 2016 and it is an expression of finding beauty in the imperfection through handcrafted ceramics, taking inspiration from the Japanese philosophy of ‘Wabi Sabi’ that honors all things old, worn, weathered, imperfect, and impermanent.
“The intent is to find beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay. Each piece is individually handcrafted to be cherished for its inconsistencies and flaws and thus asks the user to find beauty in their imperfections.”
Beautiful concept. But how did you go about starting it all? Where did you first get the inspiration?
While studying in London and working on my project on Slow Design and Sustainability, I found myself exploring clay as a medium for the first time. After completing my Master’s, I returned to India and worked for a while in the textile industry but strongly felt I wanted to get back to ceramics. I started with weekend pottery classes and finally decided to move my focus to ceramics full-time in 2016. That’s when I started “Kara Sabi” as a small initiative to make handcrafted clay art – that is functional as well as decorative stoneware items.
What is so special about your handcrafted clay artworks – and “Kara Sabi”?
We live in a world that can often seem obsessed with perfection, the perfect, job, car, home, children etc and surely by embracing imperfection we can be happier, I believe. This doesn’t mean buying products that are sub-par or faulty, it’s completely the opposite.
“Handcrafted products are often more sustainable, luxurious and unique than manufactured goods. This is because more time, energy and passion go into the final design and the materials are often richer and more durable. Through Kara Sabi, I attempt to present the beauty of handmade in its rustic form”
How have your roots and upbringing influenced your work?
I have been brought up in a world, where Simplicity and Minimalism were two constants. No wonder, I took to the Wabi Sabi philosophy so easily. There was an instant click with it because subconsciously I was already aware of it.
“Both my parents are nature lovers and that has been inculcated in me by default- to admire the nature, not just for its beauty but also the changes that come along with it with time. You have to accept it fully, not just the good part of it. And that is where ‘Wabi Sabi’ made sense to me, to not see characteristic changes that come with time as flaws but find beauty in them, for it has more character now.”
So tell us more about the stuff that you make under “Kara Sabi”
Currently, I’m exploring the sculptural space because I really enjoy that and that is where I want to get into eventually. It’s a lot more trickier, in terms of language, scale and form and hence appeals more to me.
“I make functional art as well as decorative pieces. This includes tableware (platters, plates, bowls) to vases to sculptural forms. The aesthetic is characterised by a minimal and rustic colour palette as well as celebrating asymmetry, joints, cracks and creases. I intentionally like to leave the edges uneven/unfinished. I like my pieces to retain to handmade quality so they stand apart from the ones made by machine. Each piece is individually handcrafted and no two pieces are same.”
How do you retail, and how much do you sell them for?
You can purchase my products on the store website Kara Sabi. I also sell my work in other online stores like natty. in and gaatha.com. My product ranges from INR 500 for small utility products to INR 8000 for art pieces.
I am also open to working on commission work, collaborating with interior stylists, for example, to do up walls or corners for homes, hotels etc. I’d be happy to make tableware for restaurants, cafes etc. I am also open to collaborating with artists of the same or other mediums to create a body of work, each bringing his own skill set to the table.
Go follow @karasabi_ on Instagram, and show some love!
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