A look at the ancient and mystic art of Terracotta, that is still an active source of inspiration, creativity and income amongst Indian artisans.
Terracotta is an Italian word for “baked earth”. It is fired clay. It has been a part of human civilization since 200 BC. Various excavations around the world have revealed its presence. Like other earthenware, terracotta can be unglazed or glazed ceramic.
Terracotta art in India is considered mystical as it incorporates the five vital elements of air, fire, earth, water, and ether. The art of terracotta is popular and a source of livelihood for people in many parts of India.
The making of terracotta is a fascinating process done by our skilled potters with a lot of patience and dedication. It is a traditional skill and legacy art that’s passed down through the generations.It lets the potter convey his imagination into beautiful art pieces.
The potters use clay, hands, and a potter’s wheel to create the desired ideas, shapes, and sizes. Once created, the pieces are dried. Thereafter, these pieces are placed in a pit and fired. This makes it hard, strong and gives it the reddish colour.
A fired terracotta pot is porous. The pot is glazed to make it watertight. Glazing is what makes a terracotta container suitable to carry liquid substances, for cooking, and for storage.
Apart from vessels, terracotta can be used to make a wide range of products, such as the roof tiles and home décors like lamps, table-tops, flower pots, garden installations, and much more.
Terracotta non-glazed pots are best used as a flower pot because they are porous. The moisture in a non-glazed terracotta pot keeps the roots cool. This is similar to when planted in the ground.
Women have started to notice this form of art, hence increasing the demand for terracotta jewellery. Hand-painted terracotta jewellery in shades, shapes, and motifs is another popular application. You can find jhumkas, earrings, pendants, bangles, neck pieces, and more in terracotta.These beautiful pieces go well with semi-formal, Indian, ethnic wear.
Terracotta products are breakable. They need to be handled with care. That said, terracotta products can survive under almost any climatic conditions. Use a moist cloth to clean the products that are not glazed, but only when absolutely necessary. After cleaning the product, store it in a dry place.
Even broken terracotta has its uses. For instance, if your pot is cracked or in pieces, you can paint them and use as colourful garden decor. This is just one example. You are only limited by your imagination.
Terracotta brings us closer to earth and nature. It imbibes the properties of the elements. Owning a piece of terracotta is like owning a piece of history. Get in touch with your elemental side. Get into the art of terracotta.
Visit the Pottery Category on Engrave to own a beautiful terracotta art piece.