It all started with the arrival of the Pathans to India. Though traditional village pottery in the form of utility ware would have existed before that, it was through the Afghan rulers like the Lodis that Delhi got its signature 'Delhi Blue' pottery.In Pottery and the Legacy of Sardar Gurcharan Singh, a book that traces the history of pottery in India, Anuradha Ravindranath writes, "The blue colour came originally from Egypt where it consisted of a mixture of Nile sand, copper and borax. When the Persians conquered Egypt, they liked the copper blue and used it with their own Persian blue… From Persia it came to Afghanistan." From where it travelled to India. The name 'Delhi Blue' was given by the British when they saw the use of the blue tiles on the city's tombs.
Delhi Blue Art Pottery Trust
Delhi Blue Art pottery was set up by Sardar Gurcharan Singh in 1952 to promote studio pottery. The Trust was founded in 1991 and is one of the few places that has an institutionalised course dedicated to pottery. It offers six month courses, where classes are held everyday between 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. Weekend classes and seasonal training is also offered. Classes are held at Delhi Blue Apartment, Safdarjung. The Trust also runs the Ceramic Centre at the Sanskriti Kendra, Anandagram, on the Gurgaon-Mehrauli Road.
Bhattacharya learnt pottery at the Delhi Blue Art Pottery Trust, before honing her skills at Pondicherry, and during fellowship programmes abroad. She takes in students at her studio in Delhi's Model Town. Classes are held four times a week. Having moved away from functional pottery, Bhattacharya specialises in Raku.
Another Delhi Blue Art Pottery Trust and Pondicherry alumna, Parasher teaches students at her Noida studio. Classes are held thrice a week. While she herself specialises in stoneware, she teaches all forms of pottery making to her students.
A sculptor from the Delhi College of Art, Sen teaches students pottery and clay and ceramic sculpture-making at her studio in Chittaranjan Park's B-Block. Classes are held twice a week.
(Most art colleges offers pottery as part of their syllabus and some organisation offer periodic short-term workshops. There are other individual artists too who teach.)
Where to buy pottery
* Central Cottage Industries, Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan, Janpath
* FABINDIA, Connaught Place, Select City Mall, Greater Kailash I
* GOOD EARTH, Khan Market, Select City Mall, Santushti Shopping Complex (Chanakyapuri)
* DILLI HAAT, INA, Aurobindo Marg, Pitam Pura and Janakpuri