A Potter’s Tale- New photobook on master craftsman Ramu Velar celebrates his majestic designs

Published by Tara Books, the book is a part of their ‘Makers’ series and is the compendium of six years of dedicated work capturing his craft, innovative design skills and artistic legacy.

The independent publisher Tara Books had a chance encounter with Ramu Velar  while wandering through the museum. His muddied hands morphed clay into an array of shapes, and it was in this mesmerizing moment that they found the inspiration for a book.

The book’s pages have rippling photographs that showcase the master artisan at work; transforming lumps of clay into exquisite pieces of art.The evocative illustrations and detailed narrative allow readers to immerse themselves in Ramu’s world, where every creation is a reflection of his passion and skill.

In the confines of DakshinaChitra Heritage Museum, a cultural sanctuary thrives a master potter whose hands have shaped clay and heritage for decades. Exploring the story of Ramu Velar, a gifted artisan from a small village in Pudukottai and his journey, the pages enliven the timeless craftsmanship.

Ramu inherited the craft from his father who learned the craft from his own father. In his quest to master the craft, Ramu marched beyond his village and explored various regions in Tamil Nadu, molding and baking objects for patrons in different towns.

It was this journey that ultimately led him to DakshinaChitra, where he became the resident potter at the museum. Over the course of 23 years, he has not only shared his art with countless individuals but has also embraced modern techniques, designs, and technology to make pottery more utilitarian and customizable.

The book is a delight for all those who admire the beauty and traditional skills. The captivating images date back even to the 1970s, transport readers to a bygone era, perfectly complementing Ramu Velar’s narrative and offering a poignant glimpse into the historical context of his craft. Dr. Inglis’s photographs serve not only as a visual reference but also as a bridge connecting the past to the present, enriching the book’s narrative.

Images by Tara Books

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