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POTLUCK x Gopi Shah Ceramics

Craft Contemporary's annual clay fundraiser is going online this year! POTLUCK is an online fundraiser and two-week ceramic celebration from October 19 to October 31, 2020 which includes virtual clay workshops, online artist conversations, studio tours, and other online programming featuring artists that have been part of Craft Contemporary’s clay and ceramic exhibitions, educational programming, and marketplaces. 

I'll be participating via Instagram Live for a studio visit and clay workshop, and I'll have a piece in the auction to bid on. 

Clay Insta-thon with Andres Payan Estrada
Saturday, October 31 | 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM | Instagram Live
Join Andres Payan Estrada for a whirlwind Instagram live marathon with studio visits, clay making activities, Laguna Clay Co., giveaways, and cocktail workshops! Follow along the day, as we meet artists around the US on the final day of the POTLUCK auction. Don't forget to check on your bids!

One Stripe Chai x Gopi Shah Ceramics

I collaborated with One Stripe Chai to create these limited edition chai cups.  I made some modern kulhads, or Indian clay cups, that were traditionally used to drink chai. These cups were unglazed and made of local clay, which after using, you could throw on the ground and they would biodegrade. Unfortunately, plastic cups have slowly been replacing these clay cups due to cost and convenience. These modern kulhads are glazed and have been fired - so you can enjoy them repeatedly with some chai from One Stripe Chai!

Good Indian Girl x Gopi Shah Ceramics

Check out my feature on Good Indian Girl - a culture blog providing informative how-to videos and blogs on all things Indian, in addition to a database of vendors. Thanks to Sima Thakkar for this interview! 

What’s your name? Gopi Shah

Where do you live? Long Beach, California

What your favorite hangout in Long Beach (pre-COVID)? I love going to the dog park, our local brewery, Ten Mile, and the taco truck to get the best al pastor in the city.

What type of work do you do? I currently work as a full-time potter. I have a studio space walking distance from my house where I have my wheel and kiln. I sell to boutique shops across the US and in Australia and also have an online store where people can purchase one of a kind, handmade products for their home.

I do this because I enjoy making something that people cherish and that brings a community together. I started my business 5 years ago because I love making pottery. It has now grown into an avenue for meeting new people and building a community. I love creating new products that are functional, beautiful, and timeless.

What are some Indian traditions you still follow? There are a few traditions I cherish including drinking chai and eating bhajia on a rainy day, blessing a new home with a coconut, taking off my shoes in a home, celebrating Diwali, and believing in the idea of reincarnation. I honestly don’t follow that many because I didn’t like so much of the culture growing up. It’s been interesting to see what traditions I enjoy as an adult and what I’d like to carry forward with my partner.

Bollywood or Hollywood, and why? Neither? I don’t usually like to spend my time watching movies. I’d rather be outside hiking, biking, or swimming.

Favorite movie? Haha, funny follow up question. Some movies I like are Pan’s Labyrinth and Amelie.

What’s your favorite thing about Indian culture? The food, of course. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was fortunate to be around so many cultures that I was able to kind of pick and choose things I liked from each. There are many stereotypes about Indian culture I choose not to agree with. It was especially difficult having immigrant parents who had to straddle both Indian and American cultures. This, and being friends with people from all different backgrounds, allowed me to create my own culture, which I love.

What’s one piece of advice your parents have given you that should probably be or are abiding by? My parents have scared me enough to be fiscally responsible and save for retirement. I’ve been very risk-averse with my business, which has allowed me to grow at a sustainable pace. I’m very thankful to not have to live paycheck to paycheck, and it’s due in part to my parents teaching me how to save and be financially responsible.

Good Indian Girl? No way! Hah, in a traditional sense, I’m not a Good Indian Girl—I don’t follow much of the culture, I’m not married and don’t have children even though I’m in my 30s, and I make pottery for a living when I could have been a doctor or an engineer. However, I think I’m a pretty cool Indian woman that despite cultural norms, I have succeeded in starting a business, I have a loving relationship with a strong foundation of respect and honesty—and I’m happy.

Please support Gopi’s work and give her a follow on Instagram @gopishahceramics.