My story, Nita Nathwani – Ceramics

I come from a family of five children and we were always doing something creative, making things and experimenting and I always thought I’d do something artistic one day. It was a sort of pipe dream, but I believe that inside we all know what is natural to us and you have to dip into this to find a vision of what you want to be. Like a river finds its best path you have to find your route and eventually you will get there. Keep the dream alive, try and do things with it and somehow, somewhere, something will come into place.

I suppose my own business and practice model has changed over the last six years; I have a business degree and I used to work as a business analyst in large companies. When I had children, they became the priority and although I wondered whether to return to business, I had the opportunity to work from home and decided on a change of direction – to do something more creative. I invested in some ceramics equipment and ran parties, workshops and did clay hand impressions. It was a way of being a mum at home while keeping in touch with other people and doing something I enjoyed while running my own business.

I wanted to know more about working with clay and so I took a City & Guilds qualification to learn more about craft techniques. After two years of working from home, I ran a small retail unit/ workshop for another two years at Fishmarket gallery in Northampton. I then moved into my current workshop premises at Portfolio Innovation Centre, based at the University of Northampton, where I’ve benefitted from mentoring and guidance as well as new opportunities. I did a Certificate in Arts Practice course last year – how to run the business side of arts practice. Here too, I benefitted from great guidance from tutors and mentor enabling me to question and reflect on my arts practice. We were a group of mixed ages with a range of experience. This was really exciting and had a huge effect on me; being in touch with other artists who were at various stages of their careers including some recent graduates.

Apart from clay I also work with other materials such as wire, paper and fabric. I enjoy experimentation and collaborating with others. I’m currently working with a painter, combining two dimensional and three dimensional work. Lots of different things act as influences and various experiences manifest themselves in my work. Sea life and water is a common theme, for instance diving and the feeling you have coming out of water. I like repeat patterns and floral themes also.

 

nita

   
 

When I set up my own business, I started very raw, but it was an adventure building it up. It takes time, you have to set yourself up properly and be professional about it. I would also advise anyone working with products and materials to have a really good think before they start about their stock purchases, work area layout and logistics and reviewing them regularly as they develop. It’s also good to get to know people in the arts scene and build networks especially at the beginning, so that people get to know what you are about and may decide to contact you in the future.

I have recently been accepted as an Associate of the Design Factory* (based in the East Midlands) where I’m working with the Project Officer on development plans. This has opened up a different level of exhibiting and sales opportunities. I’ve also entered the Artists in Learning Mentorship scheme with the County Council’s Arts Development team. This provides me with excellent courses and mentoring on working with young people, so I can work more professionally as an artist in schools and other community settings.

Visit Nita’s website: www.nitanathwani.com

Places mentioned in this article:
www.portfoliocentre.co.uk/
www.designfactory.org.uk/