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The progressing art of pottery making

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The magical potter’s wheel rotated on its axis and the potter kept on adding clay to get the desired shape, while moulding it constantly using both his hands. This is how the pottery industry incepted in the 3000 BC, which was totally mechanical. It required a lot of patience and tolerance, an indigenous art by skillful hands that needed the potter to balance all the forces of physics acting on the clay.

potteryMythBuster Anushree

Not only handmade and wheel made forms of pottery existed in the past but other techniques like granulate pressing (granulated pressing of clay), Injection moulding (binders, lubricants and plasticisers are used), roller head machine(rotary shaping tool used), pressure casting (polymeric materials are used), slip casting (excess slip is taken out of the mould).

The invention of black figure and red figure techniques by the Greek developers in the 6th – 5th century BC was another landmark in pottery making. And then the era of decorating potteries with mythological figures came. Other than beautifying the house , pots had many practical purposes – for storing oil, wine, perfume, or for drinking water or soup. But the permeability of these pots was a major problem for storing liquids. So, the clever craftsmen came out with the idea of fusing it with glaze that formed a protective shield. This was followed by the technique of using tin as glaze that was dominantly used in Islamic pottery.

Between classic pottery developed in Japan, also because the primary use of porcelain pottery was in traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Another noticeable contribution of Japan in the development of ceramic pottery was with overglaze painting. High class milky white porcelain decorated with motifs of plants and birds was appreciated all over the world. This was the time when Japanese pottery was exported to Europe as well.

Under the influence of Renaissance the Italian potters thought over and conceptualized themes, this embellished way of storytelling came to be known as istoriato. It then traveled to France followed by Netherland. The blue and white potteries made at Delft in Netherland, became to be known as Delftware. There started the journey of delftware in becoming one of the most famous types of pottery.

The remains of earthenwares collected from the sites of illiterate civilizations help to decipher the facts pertaining to that culture. The oldest remains are found in  Odai Yamamoto, in Japan. Analysts consider several features to estimate the culture and time of any earthen/clay ware – shape, surface, colors, drawing pattern and type of decoration. These are also evidences of the development of the artistic culture of any society.

There are several environmental issues related to the industry of pottery making as well. At times, the workers can get exposed to hazardous materials like carbon monoxide and heavy metals, and can develop diseases. Although well planned workshops and good ventilation can help to reduce the risks.

Now, pottery products have become an absolute necessity of daily life. In India, Uttar Pradesh is doing exceptionally well in pottery production. Possession of classy pottery is considered graceful and royal.

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