Pottery has been a craft ever since our ancestral times. It is said that people in East Asia started making pottery as early as 14000 BC before they even started farming. From being a necessary craft within a household, pottery today has evolved into an art form – with many artists experimenting with various materials and techniques to keep this craft relevant even in modern times.
Today, we chat with a talented ceramic artist – Lipok Esther from Nagaland to talk about her venture ‘Fire and Earth Ceramics’ which has caught the attention of many not only in Nagaland but also beyond. She speaks passionately about her craft, emphasizing her dedication to preserving Naga heritage and customs. According to her, ceramics is relatively new in Nagaland, even though pottery has always been part of Naga culture. Throiugh her venture, she aims to introduce ceramics while honoring Naga art forms and her own passion for pottery.
Chats with ceramic artist Lipok Esther from Nagaland to learn more about her venture ‘Fire and Earth Ceramics’
Lipok’s creations | “Fire & Earth Ceramics” Nagaland
R&L: Hi Lipok! Tell our readers a little about yourself.
My name is Lipok Esther and I am from Dimapur, Nagaland. I have done my post-graduation in English Literature and started working at a call center right out of college in Delhi. I wanted to get out of Nagaland for a bit, so I worked my way through the corporate industry for 10 years. I was working with the Hong Kong Tourism Board as the PR Head of their India Team till 2016. I have taken up different jobs in my life and I am proud of the person that I have become because I fought and worked hard to be who I am today.
R&L: Quite an interesting journey! So tell us about your venture “Fire & Earth Ceramics.” What got you started in pottery?
“Fire & Earth Ceramics” is basically handmade pottery that requires clay to start with and fire for the finished product. Initially, this started out as a desire for me to do something therapeutic when I was working my 9-5 job but it had to be discarded because my travel schedule could not fit pottery in.
“After I came back home to Nagaland, I saw that there weren’t too many opportunities for me (personally). The private sector didn’t want to hire me because I was too experienced and the sudden shift in lifestyle was difficult to get used to. One day I would be traveling, busy, needed, and employed, and the next day I could feel my head getting stagnant and bored; not learning anything, nothing to look forward to, and no deadline.
That’s when I finally realized that I finally have all the time in the world to pursue the things that I desired, but haven’t been able to – and that’s how the pottery story started!”
Ceramics is somewhat new to Nagaland, although pottery has always existed in our (Naga) culture. With a desire to introduce ceramics – and combining that with my own passion for pottery, and ceramics and understanding more about my Naga art forms, “Fire and Earth Ceramics” came into being. I have always used creativity as an outlet – like a passion – ever since I was a child; and now that I found a medium, I can finally create art!
R&L: What are the kinds of products/artwork you make?
There is no end to the possibilities that ceramics have provided me with in terms of creative opportunities. The awesome thing about Fire and Earth Ceramics is that whilst I can make functional items for daily usage, it also allows me to create things that have never been done before and that to me is an absolute joy! I experiment with many forms – from household items like pots, plates, plates to decorative showpieces.
Magic Tea-Pot by Lipok Esther
Tall neck miniature pots by Lipok Esther.
Beautifully carved pair of vases by Lipok Esther.
Special jar made for gifting purposes by Lipok Esther.
R&L: Tell us where we can buy your products.
Currently, I only retail to ‘Fusion Dimapur’ which is below Hotel Acacia in Nagaland. I take orders and sell from my own studio as well. I have just recently opened an Etsy account and hopefully, we’ll go live with that very soon.
Black mugs that turn blue in the sun, handmade by Lipok.
Follow Lipok’s work on Instagram!
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