Getting creative with clay

Getting creative with clay

Traditional Craft

We have enough evidence on this, not only in India, but also in different parts of the world as beautiful earthenware have been found during excavations. These rare pieces of art have been restored and displayed in some of the best museums of the world.

In the Indian subcontinent, vessels, toys, coins, terracotta jewellery and the idols of deities of the Indus Valley civilisation remind us of our glorious past.

Though there are many techniques to prepare clay items, the potter’s wheel is the most commonly used technique all over the world. With bare hands, potters create a variety of art forms in clay.

The articles and toys made of clay find different manifestations in different regions of India on account of local cultural influences and the availability of a certain type of clay. In some regions, the process involves the making of clay items which are later baked in fire, whereas in other regions, they are dried in the sun and painted, and not baked in fire.

Generally, mother’s clay is used for making kitchenware, both big and small, containers to store grain, water, buttermilk and curd, and utensils for cooking and eating. Idols of gods and goddesses, varieties of folk toys and different types of earthen lamps are also made.

While Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh is famous for its wheeled toys, Mathura and Agra are known for their light-weight, paper mache or clay toys that are very colourful and artistic; Lucknow for its clay toys that reflect the highest order of excellence in the field of clay toys, Gorakhpur for its clay elephants and the idols of Goddess Durga mounted on a tiger, Azamgarh for its black pottery that is renowned the world over, Golpara, Assam, for its images of mother and child, Bankura in West Bengal for its Bankura Horse, and Krishnanagar for clay models.

Though millions of potters in rural and tribal areas still use the potter’s wheel and make clay items in the age-old style, modern designers  use modern methods of moulding, baking and colouring to create abstract and decorative designs in clay.

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