Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The art of making Pottery (Part II)

In our last post we discussed the basic form of pottery making & had a walk with Pooja Subramanian through the lanes of Kumbharwada.If you missed  this post, read it here.

This form of art, of molding clay into various shapes, includes various styles of pottery. Glazed and unglazed pottery, terracotta and Wikipedia even  includes Papier Mache  under the various styles of pottery making.Never knew that!

Let me give you a detailed description of Terracotta and Blue Pottery in this post.Both the styles are very close to my heart and the versatility of this art will sure leave you amazed!

Terracotta:

Terracotta is ideally a type of fired clay, typically of a brownish-red colour and unglazed, used as an ornamental building material and in modelling. The term Terra cotta is derived from Italian phrase which means baked Earth. It is the art of lending enchanting shapes to clay and then firing them at the right temperature to make them stiff and strong

Crafting an object from terracotta includes several stages such as clay purifying, idol or sculpture making, drying and baking. Some sharp edged tools such as knives and blades are used to create pattern and decorations. Moulds are often used in idol sculpting.

The first step involves procuring the purified clay devoid of any impurities. The processed clay after purifying is soaked in water for 15 to 30 days to enhance the suppleness and also to avoid cracks and damages during firing process. This gives the clay products a special characteristic and unique identity for its supple texture and rich natural red color.

Now according to the requirement of the finished products, the product is either handmade as in case of idols and jewelry or the potter’s wheel run by electricity is used to make pots, bowls, huge containers etc.

Drying is a very crucial step after which necessary embellishments and colours are added. In case of household utilities, these items have to be baked at high temperatures in the kiln to make them hard and resistant.

A very remarkable feature in Terracotta is that it uses all the five elements namely fire,water, earth, Air & ether. It is a process that requires precision, skill and the judgement to finish the products at the right temperature.


Drying is a very crucial step after which necessary embellishments and colours are added. In case of household utilities, these items have to be baked at high temperatures in the kiln to make them hard and resistant.

A very remarkable feature in Terracotta is that it uses all the five elements namely fire,water, earth, Air & ether. It is a process that requires precision, skill and the judgement to finish the products at the right temperature.


Bankura horses of Bishnupur, West Bengal are the finest example of Terracotta art.These are a part of a 300 yr. old tradition, specifically considered for village rituals; they have now gained popularity and access into the Indian living rooms. They are known for their symmetric shape and rounded curves given to their body.The Bankura horse has distinctive unique features set apart by the long ears, stout body, small tail, long neck and intricate decorations carved on them. It is believed that the four legs, the full neck in two parts and the face (seven pieces in all) are turned out separately on the wheel for the horse and later joined by hand.

Let me also take you through some fascinating Architectural wonders made of Terracotta  that are significant in history.






Pinterest Image

These astonishing images are from the temples and mosques in and around West Bengal.The temples were built during 16th and 19th Century.All along due to Islamic influence, geometric patterns and designs were created on the panels.With time Bengali artisans too contributed towards the ornamental designs derived from folk art.Thus a unique distinctive style emerged.
These designs speak of excellent craftsmanship and forces you to ponder that something as basic as mud or earth can be transformed into a masterpiece!

Blue Pottery:



 
Image: Pinterest

Although it originated in ancient Persia, the art of blue pottery was brought to the craftsmen of Jaipur in the early 18th century. Blue pottery derives its name from the distinct use of Persian blue colour. Indeed, the precise hand-painting under a transparent glazed surface, makes blue pottery stand out; but there is lot more to blue pottery than what meets the eye. It is the only form of pottery in the world which is made without the use of natural clay or mud. Instead, a special combination of powdered quartz, glass pieces and other minerals is used to make the clay-like mixture for making blue pottery. Our skilled crafts-men make molds out of Plaster-of-paris, and press this clay like mixture in the molds to get the basic shape of an item. This basic form is usually made in two or three parts depending on the complexity of the shape of the product. Once the parts are dried, they are joined together with the clay, and then rigorously rubbed with sand-paper to get a uniform smooth surface. But before the surface can be painted upon, it has to be further treated with a quartz based coating to get paper-like finish. Then the craftsmen draw and paint on the surface with free-hand patterns. The item is then coated with a transparent glaze and dried, to make it ready for firing in a hand-built furnace. Interestingly, Jaipur’s blue pottery is also the only form of low-temperature glazed pottery which is made with a single firing process.

(Inputs about Blue Pottery gathered from  Designer Roopal. Watch out this space for more details on  this wonderful enterprise from Jaipur.) 

2 comments:

शिनु said...

Terracotta has its own beauty....good post as always.

theashleys said...

Nice blog ...thanks for sharing the beautiful designs which really helps to decorate the home and give a traditional look to the home.

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