Behold the artisans, their hands the conduits of exquisite artistry, as they embark on a dance with raw materials. With meticulous precision, they chisel, carve, and shape, coaxing life from lifelessness. Their hands, weathered yet graceful, bear witness to countless hours of practice, nurturing a mastery that transcends the ordinary.
In the realm of their workshops, time surrenders to their command. Their fingers, nimble and dexterous, embark on a symphony of movements, an intricate choreography where every touch, every stroke, bears purpose and intention. With each tap of a hammer, each delicate brushstroke, they breathe vitality into their creations, revealing the very essence of their artistry.
Cutwork, also known as cut-out work or eyelet embroidery, is a decorative technique used in textiles, fashion, and various crafts. It involves creating patterns or designs by cutting out portions of fabric and then reinforcing the edges with embroidery or other decorative stitches. The resulting effect is a delicate, lace-like appearance.
The origins of cutwork can be traced back to ancient times, with examples found in different cultures throughout history. It gained popularity during the Renaissance period in Europe and was commonly used in clothing, home decor, and religious textiles.
The process of creating cutwork typically involves the following steps:
Design and Marking: The desired pattern or design is drawn onto the fabric using a marking tool or pencil. Traditional cutwork designs often include intricate geometric shapes, flowers, leaves, or elaborate motifs.
Cutting: Once the design is marked, small holes or sections are carefully cut out from the fabric. These cuts can be simple shapes or more complex, depending on the desired design.
Reinforcing Stitches: After cutting, the raw edges of the fabric around the cutouts are secured using various embroidery stitches. These stitches can be functional, like the blanket stitch or buttonhole stitch, or decorative stitches such as the satin stitch or chain stitch. The reinforcing stitches not only prevent fraying but also add embellishment to the cutwork.
Filling Stitches (Optional): In some cutwork designs, the empty spaces created by the cutouts are filled with additional embroidery stitches. This can include delicate fillings like needle lace or other decorative stitches to enhance the overall appearance of the design.
Finishing Touches: Once the cutwork and embroidery are complete, the fabric can be further embellished with beads, sequins, or additional decorative elements to add texture and visual interest.
Blue pottery is a native craft of Persia that was popularized in India by the Mughals. The motifs of the craft are reflective of the Turk-Persian culture with indigenous touch
India has witnessed numerous artisans feeding their families by working in the handicraft industry. It takes a lot of dedication and expertise to create such artistic, premium pottery. Every blue pottery item reflects splendor and grandeur.
Complementing all kinds of home décor, this unique craft flaunts an expensive, shiny look with an everlasting luster. Blue pottery has successfully diversified into kitchenware, toiletry, vases, accessory holders and home décor products and now jeweler.
About the Karigars :
The traditional blue pottery of Jaipur has been witnessing a stiff competition from inexpensive ceramic products. Earlier, this craft was popular and many artisans living in the Jaipur villages used to earn their bread through this trade. However, today only few families continue this handcraft.
Steps to make Blue Pottery :
Preparing & Making the mould
The first step involves making the dough. The dough in made with raw materials like quartz powder, cullet, saji, katira gond, and multani mitti. These ingredients are mixed in a balanced ratio to form a non-sticky dough and then kept aside for a few hours. Moulds are then made from plaster of paris and given shape according to the needs. These moulds are then left to dry.
Casting the mould :
Next, the dough is uniformly flattened with the help of a flattening tool. The flattened dough is neatly placed on the mould and tucked in carefully to get the right shape. Thereafter, the mould with the dough stuffed in it is filled with burnt wood dust. It is then softly pressed to give it the shape of the mould and left to dry.
The rough edges of the product are brushed with stone to rid it of the sharp edges. The artefact is further rubbed with sandpaper to make the surface smoother. Next, it is coated with a mixture of dough and water to fill in its pores. Once dried, it is rubbed with sandpaper yet again. This step is repeated for another round of coating. Following this, the artefact is dipped in a blend of quartz powder, powdered glass, flour and water and left to dry.
The next step is to paint the product manually. First, the outlines are drawn with a customized artist brush. It is placed on the potter’s wheel to neatly draw the outlines with merely the tip of a brush. The intricacy of the design depends on the expertise of the artist. Once the outlining is finalized, the artist fills in the gaps with vibrant colours to complete the design.
The sheen of the artefact is due to a special glaze prepared using myriad raw materials such as powdered glass, borax, zinc oxide, boric acid, and potassium nitrate. These raw ingredients are heated at a soaring temperature. The mixture is then put to cold water which makes it split to splinters. The splinters are collected and finely grounded. The grounded frit is then turned into a mixture by adding water to form a glaze. The glazed artefact is placed inside a furnace for roasting in a fire of wood and charcoal. The artefact is dried in this fire for 4-5 hours and then left for cooling. Cooling can take up to 3 days of time. Once cooled, the artefact is prepared for being sold in the market.