Pottery in India goes back 10,000 years and even today is found in every part of the country though the items differ in form, style and materials used. The ubiquitous potter continues to make items of daily use for rural India while to keep the urban Indian interested he makes decorative pieces, planters, lamps, idols for religious festivals and even jewellery. The pottery items have come a long way in terms of shape and surface decorations in order to keep pace with the changing tastes, sensibilities and technology.
Some of the pottery styles that Kala Tarang showcases in its exhibitions - regular pottery, terracotta and Blue Pottery.
From the Potter's Wheel
Pottery is almost synonymous with the potter's wheel which is used to make rounded objects which are hollow in the middle. Concave dishes and portions of central tubular torso, which are then put together to form a full figure, can also be made at the wheel. The soil differs with geography and so does the colour of the final object. The surface designs are also determined by the local culture and traditions. With greater inter-state movement of the various artisans we are seeing mixing of styles with the basic pottery from one state and surface designs from the other.
At Kala Tarang exhibitions: Decorative vases of various shapes and sizes
Another established form of pottery is the freehand moulding of clay to make sculptural forms or flat tiles. Here the potter is not constrained by the potter's wheel and can give form to his imagination without restrictions. The bulk of the terracotta work that happens today is the sculptures and idols that are used for the periodic religious festivals. However exquisite Terracotta figurines and murals are decorating more and more urban homes today and women are making fashion statements with terracotta jewellery.
At Kala Tarang exhibitions: Murals, Artefacts, Figurines & jewellery
Blue Pottery is not pottery in the traditional sense as its basic raw material is not clay. Instead, the artisans grind together quartz, green glass, a variety of salty powders, borax gum and multani mitti (Fuller's earth), sieve it through a wire mesh, mix it with water to make a dough-like paste and press the paste on to moulds. To give it smoothness, this shape maybe put on the potter's wheel.
Blue Pottery, though Turko - Persian in origin, is widely recognized as a traditional craft of Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan - India. Legend has it that Blue Pottery came to Jaipur in the early 19th century when one of its rulers, Sawai Ram Singh II (1835-1880) set up a school of Art and encouraged artists and craftsmen from all over the country to come and settle here.
The items are painted with metallic oxides then dipped into a glaze of glass, borax, and lead oxide and baked in fire. Baking melts the glass, but the quartz remains. The metallic oxides turn into bright colours after being baked in fire. E.g.: Cobalt oxide becomes a deep blue and Chromium oxide becomes green. In Blue Pottery, the craftsman is never sure if the finished product will have the exact shade that he had wanted. After a tedious and time-consuming process, the craftsman has the Blue Pottery item which, if not satisfactory, has to be disposed off, as it cannot be reworked.
Contrary to what the name suggests, Blue Pottery comes in a wide range of colours. Craftsmen, who have dedicated themselves to the craft, constantly experiment with it to create new colours and items that fit into the modern urban lifestyles all over the world. Today you will find wall hooks, dinner table items and decorative pieces of various kinds.
At Kala Tarang exhibitions: Wall Hooks, dinner table items, decorative vases, planters and more.