Pottery is perhaps the oldest craft in the world. Primarily utilitarian, clay utensils have often ranked as some of the most beautiful objects of art.
Traditional folk pottery has always been a part of Indian life and ceremonies. From pre-historic times, there has been an abundance of beautifully fashioned utilitarian pottery Different varieties of pottery like red, black, buff and grayware were often painted with black and white pigments or decorated with geometrical incisions. Domestic pottery comes in a bewildering profusion of attractive shapes and sizes.
The process of pottery - modelling and shaping of clay, drying it and firing it, is one of the most ancient crafts surviving today. Clay can be categorized as primary clays, which includes China clay, Bentonite and secondary clays, which include common clays, red clays, ball clays and fire clays. The potter throws the painstakingly kneaded clay into the centre of the wheel, rounding it off, then spins the wheel around with a stick. As the whirling gathers momentum, he begins to shape the clay into the required form. When finished he severs the shaped bit from the rest of the clay skillfully, with a string. The firing is done in an improvised kiln, the quality and beauty not being affected however. Intricate glaze is made from a mixed composition, fired to form a vitreous material with glazed surface, then coloured by different mineral substances. Pottery is generally classified as earthenware, stoneware and porcelain, in relation to the clay used and the firing temperatures.