Treasure trove of art

It’s that time of year when potters’ families earn the most from their craft. Purchases become more meaningful when the entire process is witnessed, as can be done at Potters Colony in Uttam Nagar

Treasure trough of art

The families earn a livelihood by crafting and selling clay products and continue their ancestors' legacy. (All photos: Faisal Malik)

Kumhar Gram is also known as Potters Colony. Hidden in the byways of West Delhi’s Uttam Nagar, it is home to around 700 potter families who migrated from Rajasthan to Delhi in quest of better prospects and to improve their quality of life.

The families earn a livelihood by crafting and selling clay products and continue their ancestors’ legacy. The mud is mostly imported from Haryana. With little formal training, these families have handed down the craft from generation to generation.

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The art-cum-business is the only means of livelihood for the entire family. While one member beats and sieves the stones from the mud, the other kneads it with water to make clay. Once the process is completed, they turn lumps of clay into beautiful earthenware. The pots are then dried and baked in kilns. And while they’re still a little wet, the artistic member of the family paints complex designs on them.

Everywhere one looks, there are potters at work with their wheel and clay – creating elaborate pottery. Their earthen jars for water storage are hugely popular since they’re an inexpensive and efficient way to keep water cool even in the sweltering Delhi heat.

While some churn out pots in an assembly line fashion. some specialized potters make glazed pottery. Some specialized potters make glazed pottery. Even wall hangings are now made from clay. Some potters create life-size statues of various gods.

The best part? All this creativity can reach your home at affordable prices.

Where once this art was confined to a community in a specific geographical ares, it is now accessible to all of us. And they do not shy away from sharing their knowledge with others.

Treasure trough of art
The families earn a livelihood by crafting and selling clay products and continue their ancestors’ legacy. (All photos: Ahona Sengupta)

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