While in Jaipur, we visited a local pottery factory that has been in operation for four generations. The color is unique to this area. You can see some of the designs and colors on the plates below.
India is striving to preserve the work of local artisans including pottery, block printing, miniature painting, and hand made silk or camel hair rugs. Jaipur blue pottery, made out of Egyptian paste, is glazed and low-fired. Instead of clay, the pottery is prepared by mixing quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth), borax, gum and water. Another source cites Katira Gond powder (a gum), and saaji (soda bicarbonate) as ingredients.
There are different ideas about its origin, but the blue glaze technique was possibly introduced in the 14th century. It was used to decorate mosques, tombs, and palaces. It is thought to have come to Jaipur in the 17th century where it transformed from being used in architecture to being used by potters. Some older pieces of works could be seen in Rambagh Palace in the fountains. In the 1950s, blue pottery disappeared in Jaipur. Thankfully patrons such as Kamladevi Chattopadhaya and Rajmata Gayatri Devi helped revive the craft.
Blue Pottery in Jaipur from Patti Donnelly on Vimeo.
In the following pictures, you can see the process of shaping the clay and throwing it on the wheel.
After watching the demonstration, we got a chance to paint our own. When there are enough pieces, the outdoor kiln is filled and the masterpieces are fired. My mug sits on my desk at school full of styluses for iPad illustrations.