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Blue Pottery

The Craft

Originating from Persia, Blue Pottery is the only pottery in the world that doesn't use clay. It appears semi-translucent or opaque and is used to make a variety of traditional and contemporary objects ranging from a variety of surahius (pots) to tiles, lamp shades, and other home accessories. Traditionally, designs were always blue or greenish blue on a white base depicting floral, animal, or arabeque designs. Today, yellow, dark blue, and brown have been added to the palette.

Who practices this craft?

Rajasthan: Jaipur; Delhi; Punjab: Amritsar; Uttar Pradesh: Khurja, Chunar, Rampur; Tamil Nadu: Karigari. The craft is mainly practiced by Khaarwaal, Kumbars, Bahairva, and Nat castes.

What materials and tools are used in this craft?

Tools: Chakki (Grinding Machine), Moulds, Flattening Tool, Sand Paper, Iron Knife, Base Stone, Broom, Potters Wheel, Brushes, Heating Kiln;

Materials: Ground Quartz Stone, Glass, Katira Gond, Maida (Edible Flour), Multaani Mitti (Fuller's Earth), Saaji, Flour, Colors (Oxide or Ferro), Suhaaga (Borex), Zinc Oxide, Potassium Nitrate and Boric Acid, Water.

What is the Craft process?

Preparation of Dough
The dough is prepared by mixing 6 ingredients: quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Katira Gond powder, Multaani Mitti, and Saaji, and water. The dough must then rest for 8-10 hours.

A small amount of dough is rolled and cut into equal parts. A portion is put into the mould and shaken slightly. A mixture of bajri (stones) and raakh (burnt wood dust) is put in the mould and lightly pressed. The mould is turned upside down and removed and the dough is left to dry in this shape for 1-2 days. The raakh and bajri mix is removed with the help of a locally made husk broom.

Preparing the Surface
The form is rubbed on the base stone to even out the edges. If the craft person is making a vessel, then a base is made on a potter's wheel and added to the form. It is left to dry for another 1-2 days. Next, the form is rubbed with a mixture of dough and water 2-3 times. After it dries it is rubbed with sandpaper. The form is then dipped into a mixture of quartz powder, powdered glass, maida, and water and left to dry.

Designing the Surface
A solution of cobalt oxide and edible gum is used to make the design while the form sits on the potter’s wheel. Turning the wheel while applying the brush tip allows for smooth rings to be painted. Other designs are made using various brushes and brush strokes. Once the design is complete, various metal oxides are applied to create color. The form is again left to dry. A mixture of glaze is prepared with powdered glass, suhaaga (borex), zinc oxide, potassium nitrate, and boric acid and heated in the kiln until it melts. Upon cooling the mixture is ground into a powder and mixed with water and maida. The solution is coated onto the form.

Finally, the forms are fired in the kiln for 4-5 hours, making sure not to touch other objects in the kiln or they will turn black. All except 80 percent of the quartz melts away. The form is cooled for three days. It takes 10-12 days for one piece of pottery to be completed.

Producer Groups practicing Blue Pottery
Sakshi Foundation

Product categories made with Blue Pottery
Decore, Lighting, Table, Garden, Storage, Desk Accessories

Blue Pottery Extended Documentation

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