This year was a landmark in my bringing home the idol, since I made it all by myself. I felt responsible doing my bit and though my son was a bit sceptical if I will be able to make it, for me it was a zidd and I decided big or small, however it turns out this is it, this time our Ganesha would be the one I will make.
As I promised a couple of my friends and as mentioned in the last post, I am listing out a couple of tips and procedure as to how I made it. Of course being a ceramic stoneware potter made it that much more easier for me. But don’t fret, it is not difficult at all and the rewards include a heart that sings, deep creative satisfaction and of course the feeling of being Parvati (mum to my baby Ganesha) that I cannot shake off. Makes the visarjan that much more difficult but well even in there is a huge lesson of loving and letting go. Isn’t that what life is all about anyways. Before I get into a philosophical tirade lets just do this:
Shadu Clay (I got from Pune, but it should be available in Mumbai too)
A knife not very sharp
A small tub to knead the clay (I got it in powder form)
Try to begin the process when you have a couple of hours in hand so that you complete the entire idol in 1 sitting. Cause if the clay is at different stages of drying, chances of developing a crack are higher.
Knead the clay with water. This is a toughie, will make some muscles for you. Knead it well and go on with it till you achieve a nice smooth ball, almost like roti dough. Start with smaller amounts of water and go on adding as you go.
Pull out enough quantity to roll it into a thick slab. Do the entire process on a piece of wooden board and it will not stick as the wood will absorb the wetness.
Roll out dough and start with shaping the bum and thighs first, keep your fingers moist (not wet) and then add lower legs shaping it the way you want to position them. I shaped one leg in crossed position and supported it with a ball of newspaper. Newspaper will not stick to the clay, you can use it to support the extremities.
When you are sticking 2 pieces of clay together you could scratch both the surface a bit with the blunt knife and while sticking add paste of clay (wetter clay like fevicol consistency) and ensure that you press them in place stiffly. Keep wiping off the extra wet clay with the help of a sponge. Once the shape is done, you can create the crown, the halo, his jewelery, his drapes, go wild with your imagination and adorn bappa with what you want.To remove small bumps and to finish it well take the sponge and squeeze all water out of it and give a good wipe to the idol.
Don’t dry the idol in direct fan or sun, let it dry naturally covered with a clean cloth or a newspaper, it took 3 days for mine to dry. And then I painted him with poster colours and voila, my baby was set to rock my mandir.
The best was when my son approved and fell in love with the idol, he was proud of his mommy and I was on the top of the world, really!
I wish you eco friendly Ganesha next year and the sheer joy that comes with it. Craft it, it’s a feeling like none other.