The world of blue pottery isn't just about the colour of the ware, it is about the history associated with this type of pottery. Every item, in blue pottery, is coloured with a dazzling blue dye that gives it a unique look associated with the world of blue pottery. While the technique of making and painting these wares with blue dye may have undergone a transition over time, there is still a lot of history associated with the techniques and methods used in today's blue pottery making.
The History of Blue Pottery
Even though you will mostly find blue pottery in parts of India, the origins of this form lie in the Turkish and Persian empires. As the Islamic kingdoms spread their wings over to the Eastern side of Asia, they brought with them the first known examples of this art-form. As they hit the upper regions of Mongolia, artisans picked up this fascinating style of pottery and imbibed it into their culture.
Soon, there were examples of blue pottery turning up in China, where the Chinese added this Persian decorative style to their traditional pottery techniques and created something eternally beautiful. During the 14th century, the art form came down to India where it was originally used to make decorative tiles for mosques and tombs. Palaces adorned these tiles and soon, pottery would take over the tile-making culture simply because tiles were going out of style.
As the art of pottery glazing became a quintessential part of the northern Indian state of Kashmir, things slowly trickled down until they reached and settled at Jaipur, the city that, today, is considered as the home of blue pottery. Since the 19th century, these pottery pieces have been a part of Jaipur and their fine craftsmanship and blue colour have caught the eye of pottery enthusiasts around the world.
Blue Pottery Technique
The concepts behind blue pottery are exactly the same as those behind any other format of pottery. The difference lies in the glazing technique that comes right at the end. In blue pottery, once you take the final item and leave it out to dry, the painting process is where it all changes.
The blue pottery wares are made out of paste that has been in use since the days of the ancient Egyptians. It is glazed on and fired at a low head to make it safe. Blue pottery does not need any clay and, instead, uses dough to make the pottery ware. The dough is mixed up with other elements, like Quartz stone powder, powdered glass, gum, borax and fuller's earth.
To get the right kind of consistency, water needs to be added to it while soda bicarbonate has also been seen as something that adds a new texture to this wonderful style of pottery.
Features of Blue Pottery
The most common thing that you will always find in blue pottery is the colour - which is always a distinct kind of blue that you don't see anywhere and with this kind of consistency. The fact that dough is used instead of clay ensures that the wares are not as opaque when completely dry. The semi-transparent look allows a bit of light to flow through, making these wares even better than what you normally get from regular pottery techniques.
Then there's the bit about the motifs that adorn these beautiful creations. Traditionally, animals and birds were the most commonly found motifs for blue pottery although if you are practicing on your own, its really up to you as to what you would want to see on your creations.
You can make anything you want, from ashtrays and vases to bowls or vases, but the main thing you need to remember is that for something to be termed as blue pottery, it needs to have a colour pattern that mostly comprises of cobalt oxide, for the blue, and the green coming from copper oxide, alongside white. You will find yellow or brown in some of the patterns but finding something like that is extremely rare and very occasional.
Today, blue pottery is something that most people do as a hobby although in the city of Jaipur, in India, there is still a lot of attention paid to keep things original. The city has adopted blue pottery as its own child and continues to further the traditions, textures and designs of old. If you are interested in blue pottery, then you need to find time for a trip down to "the pink city", for a peek into the world of blue pottery.