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The story of Jaipur Blue pottery and a giveaway !

According to the local legend , Maharaja Sawai Ram II was watching his kite-master compete with other challengers when the thread of the imperial kite was cut by that of two brothers Churamani and Kaluram , who were potters and had coated their kite string with the blue-green glass like dust of their pottery. The Maharaja was impressed and gave them posts in the School of Art and settled them in the Goonga Mehra ki Gali in Gangori Bazaar ; it was thus that the blue pottery came to Jaipur.

Pottery is my first craft love . I picked it up as a hobby many years ago in the Delhi Blue Pottery trust and got addicted to it . It was a beautiful way to disconnect from the corporate and city madness . It took me weeks to get my first Diya right on the potter’s wheel. It took years for me to be able to make a really big pot on the wheel. Like any other craft it teaches you patience and you realize it will take you several years till you really think of mastering the craft.

If you are a pottery or a craft enthusiast don’t leave Jaipur or Rajasthan without soaking in the colors of beautiful blue pottery and bringing some pieces with you for your home.

 

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The low temperature glaze pottery of Jaipur is accorded the name “blue pottery” due to its predominantly blue patterns . Wheel turning and moulding techniques are used in combination – the necks and bases and wheel turned , the body is shaped in a Plaster of Paris mould and the separate elements are joined.

IMG_3521The surface is then engobed, a process involving the application of a clean white coat on the sanded and dried object so as to make the surface smooth , white and blot free.

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The patterns largely florals rendered in the Persian style are painted on in metal oxide pigments ( mineral pigments) and the whole object is given a glass glaze . During the firing the pigments develop the characteristic brilliant shades of Turquoise blue , pale green , yellow and red brown and the milky glaze turns transparent .

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Since the presence of water can cause the object to collapse during firing , blue pottery is dried at various stages during its production . The pottery is finished with a transparent glass glaze.

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Generally , women perform the task of grinding the pigments while men undertake the throwing and moulding of the pottery forms, the painting and the firing .

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While in Jaipur I met the illustrious Leela Bordia the founder and now heading Neerja International and Neerja Pottery . An extremely talented lady who motivated me at several levels . In 1980, she established Neerja International with four craftspeople, two men and two women. In 1981, she became founding secretary of the Jaipur Rotary Club. Leela Bordia completed another ceramics and pottery course, this time in Mexico. Back in Jaipur, the business continued to grow. In 1991, Leela Bordia won an award from the national organization Women Entrepreneurs and Executives (India). A Swiss exhibition of handicrafts from around the world visited Neerja International.

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Leela Bordia continued to see her company succeed internationally and the standard of living of its workers improve. Work Practices Neerja International’s workers work in their home villages, in ways similar to those of their parents and grandparents. Their work is carried out on a contract basis. They deliver the finished products to central office. Craftspeople pay for the material they need through Neerja’s low-interest loans, paid off with their earnings from producing the Blue Pottery. Neerja International supports it’s workers in other ways as well. It provides assistance in organizing the life insurance, financial help for weddings (which can be a huge financial burden in traditional Indian culture) and support for widows and families. It also provides medical services to all workers.

Neerja Pottery  would like to gift  three blog readers who participate in the giveaway .  Lucky winners will get Rs 1000 voucher each to buy the products of their choice on the website http://www.neerja.com

Here is how you can participate :

  1. Like Peacocks in the Rain Facebook page here 
  2. Mention in the comments below what you like about Peacocks in the Rain blog

Giveaway closes on February 11th and winners will be chosen by a lucky draw.

Show us your love for Indian artisans and crafts and spread the love and take your time so soak in the beauty of blue pottery below :)

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Pictures : Taken by me at Neerja Blue Pottery R&D workshop in Jaipur

Text : Jaipur Blue Pottery intro and process from Handmade in India by Ranjan & Ranjan. Neerja Blue Pottery intro from their website and personal interview.

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25 thoughts on “The story of Jaipur Blue pottery and a giveaway !

  1. Loved the whole blog. Especially, the idea of promoting Indian design and ethnicity. This way, people from other countries can know the diversity we have.

  2. A very good blog to encourage our rich indian craft heritage. This awareness helps the simple artisans to do fair trade for the amount of creativity and hard work they put in.

  3. First of all I liked your blogs name – Peacocks in the rain . The thing I liked most in your blog is , it is inspired by all beautiful things in India. Specially Art and Craft :)

  4. The best part of this blog which i truly admire is –

    – Promoting Indian Rich Heritage
    – Blog with which i can connect myself.
    – Helping us to revive our taste with a ethnic blend and stay hooked in a modern style while being rooted deeply to our *Desi*pan :)

  5. I like the blog because it focusses on and appreciates the forgotten Indian crafts.. I myself love ethnic things – from paintings to sarees to jhumakas..

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Hello Dear, I love the beautiful and simple way of representing our rich culture. To add on, it touches my heart when I see the contribution made by all of you in uplifting the life of our artisans and their families. Its encouraging, commendable, brings a smile on my face, and let’s hope many more feel same and leave an impact. In short, I feel relaxed and happy whenever I come here. Thank you. Best wishes always, Shuchi Dhingra

  7. First of all I congratulate Ila for starting a blog.
    This is a good initiative to promote Indian art, artisans and designers. Making of handmade products requires great skill, precision, patience and devotion to work. Indian craftsmen are diminishing day by day. Platforms like these can help promote our culture and art, alongside giving the support and help to these artisans.

  8. I am from Rajasthan, but this blog has opened my eyes to my own heritage. The blog is a very good initiative to develop a knowledge bank of our culture and history. The photos add a unique flavor to the blog.

  9. Love everything this blog aims to show….right from home tours to crafts…We all do hv special corner for home decoration and I feel like this space will fulfill all the right needs u wanna to make with ur home decors….thnks team for this beautiful space and wishng more n more success for coming days…

  10. Let me just start by saying Hi! Dear blogger! Its a great blog and I absolutely love Jaipur blue pottery! In fact, I pride myself on having a few pieces in my home too. Being a home decor enthusiast, I find myself more often than not looking for pieces that accentuate non-glamorous corners and add a certain character to my home. And every single time, I keep turning my attention to the painstakingly handcrafted decor pieces by our Indian craftsmen and women. Jaipur particularly enchants me with its myriad forts, rich, cultural history, traditional homes swathed in hues of blue and white, bandhej, and of course the blue pottery. So, yeah! loved your post and keep them coming! Would love to read more about Bagru, Dabu, and other traditional art and craft forms in your blog. Cheers! Neha.

    1. Hi Neha ,

      You won the giveaway and I have written you a couple of emails but haven’t heard back. Please connect back with me as soon you can.

      Cheers,
      Ila

  11. 1. Liked on FB
    2. The thing which has actually attracted me in your blog is the Indian Touch. Could relate myself to the culture, fabrics, design , art , jewellery…everything which an Indian women is in constant search ! Feel proud to be subscribing your blog for the bful India it portrays…displaying the rich heritage, artisans mastery in diff. way on the global social platform.Kudos and well done !

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