Mr. Rajesh Srivastav, Ceramic Artist, Delhi Blue Pottery Trust interviewed by Gargi Chanda (2016)

About the intern - Gargi Chanda is an ardent design enthusiast and researcher. She is currently pursuing Masters of Design from National Institute of Fashion Technology. Working with different materials and new forms of art interests her. Folk and urban art inspires her. She is a firm supporter of handmade products. 

SPIN IT WITH STUDIO POTTERS

Indian pottery from centuries has occupied the humblest position among craftsmen, deep rooted in traditions and heritage of India. The master traditional potters have practiced the art of pottery from generations in their family. Without an extensive understanding about firing or techniques, they have mastered the craft in their own style. But now the wheel has turned, a new breed of non-traditional urban studio potters have emerged creating Unique “Art pottery” in their modern pottery Studio space. The pioneer potter Sardar Gurucharan Singh set up the Delhi Blue Potteries in 1952. He was responsible for the revival of the old Mughal/Persian glaze technology of the Delhi blue and was perhaps the first studio potter in the country. Today, The Blue Pottery trust focuses on Stoneware as their main forte and disfavor practicing blue pottery since it is porous in nature and involves toxic colours as said by Mr. Rajesh, a ceramic artist in the studio. What has led to the growth of Studio potters in India? As the spending power of the Indian middle class increases the demand for one of a kind Studio pots is on the rise, hence studio potters are finding buyers for their art. Even the emergence of new technology in kilns and electronic wheel steered a rise. Studio potters are creating all manner of attractive pottery pieces, every ware being unique to their style. They are not mass produced products and just one of a kind art article. ‘What lacks in traditional potters is the creative quotient, they follow the age old traditional form of pottery and don't explore it in the form of art. Whereas Studio pottery gives space to the creative flow of ideas. Hence each product created by Studio potters is unique, and does not pose as a repetitive art.’ quoted during an interview with Mr. Rajesh Srivastav, a ceramic artist and instructor at Blue Pottery Trust. In Studio pottery, the functional traditional form breaks off to a free form of abstract art which is wild in imagination but bound by function.

INTERVIEW WITH Mr. RAJESH SRIVASTAV, CERAMIC ARTIST AND INSTRUCTOR AT DELHI BLUE POTTERY TRUST

1. How many years have you been associated with Blue pottery trust?
Ans. For 10 years now, I am a graduate in fine arts with specialization in ceramic from BHU.

2. What is your view on Delhi Blue Pottery Trust?
Ans. This is the only and pioneer trust in Studio pottery. Almost all the potters across India is associated with Delhi Blue Pottery. Being the largest trust in India exclusively for pottery, it has the most modernized equipment and firing techniques in the studio.

3. Did Delhi Blue Pottery Trust start with its initial exploration in Blue pottery technique?
Ans. At the time when the studio was found, there was a rave about Blue pottery and hence the studio was named after it. But it had very little association to blue pottery.

4. Is blue pottery technique still taught in the studio?
Ans. Blue pottery is a dying technique in pottery now, a very few people in Jaipur is associated with this form of pottery. The problems associated with blue pottery is in its firing, it requires careful temperature control and now with the exact materials not being available the pottery tends to have alot of pores. Hence it is not taught in the studio.

5. What kind of technique and type of pottery is taught in Delhi Blue Pottery?
Ans. We teach Stoneware Art Pottery. Type and techniques are in glazed pottery.

6. What is the difference you find between the traditional potters and Studio potters?
Ans. What lacks in traditional potters is the creative quotient, they follow the age old traditional form of pottery and dont explore it in the form of art. Whereas Studio pottery gives space to the creative flow of ideas. Hence each piece created by Studio potters is unique, and does not pose as a repetitive art.

7. What is your experience with the students coming here to learn pottery?
Ans. Most of the students come here as a hobby enthusiast. We get a variety of students, right from professionals like doctors, engineers to students and housewives. Some students here come on doctor recommendations. They believe pottery is a type of therapy which enhances concentration and patience.

8. Do you posses the same required patience in teaching this form of art?
Ans. I don’t know if I have that patience in me (with a laughter in his tone). My students tell me I am very patient while teaching and intricately help them with all their queries but according to me i am impatient. Maybe over the years experience has instilled the required patience factor in me.

9. What is the course structure in Delhi Blue Pottery?
Ans. It is a 6 months course for Rs.12,000 (two days a week, three hour long class). The first six months we teach the basics and depending on how the student is picking up the art they continue with the course accordingly.

Lastly, Mr Rajesh concludes by saying ‘Studio pottery is an art in itself, in other words it is called Art pottery. Every creation is unique and tells a story about the artists identity. It is full of the artists creative imagination.’

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