The basic tools used in Blue Pottery are outlined below:
The electrical grinding machine is used to grind the pieces of raw material (Saaji, Katria Gond, Multani Mitti and glass) into fine powder.
A small grinding stone is used to grind Multani Mitti, Saaji, Katira Gond and glass. These stones are found on river bed and are available in local market.
Jaali (Iron Sieve):
Iron sieve is used to sieve/filter all the grinded raw materials for filtering out unwanted and big particles.
Molds of desired shape and size are made out of Plaster Of Paris in which the articles are casted. These molds are long lasting if kept carefully.
Tarazu (Weighing Tool):
The dough is prepared by mixing Quartz Powder, Multani Mitti, Katria Gond, Saaji and glass in definite proportion. To weigh them the traditional weighing tool is used.
Made out of fired clay, a flattening tool is used to flatten the dough which is then either cut into tiles or put in the molds to take the desired shape.
It is a flat stone block on which the products are initially rubbed to smoothen the surface and remove unwanted material/coarseness.
Regmaal (Sand Paper):
Sand papers of different grains are used to make the surface of the product smooth. Generally the artisans use 60, 100 and 180 number of sand paper (more the number finer the grain) to rub the surface at different stages.
Patti (Iron Blade/ Knife):
The blades are used to remove the unwanted material from a product after casting and in order to give a uniform thickness to the product. The blades are also used to cut the dough. It is bent from front so that the scooping process becomes easy.
Saancha (Iron Cutter):
For basic shape of tiles, photo frames etc. which have definite size and are flat in nature artisans use saancha to cut them. This makes the work easy, less time consuming and accurate.
A small broom locally called as Koochi is made out of husk. It is used to brush off the dust generated while smoothing the surface with sand paper.
Chaak (Potter's Wheel):
The artisans in recent years have started using electrical wheels instead of the traditional hand driven one. The potter's wheel is generally used to make small piece, necks of the vases or base or a product.
Different numbers of brushes are used to paint beautiful motifs on the surface of a Blue Pottery product. Earlier the artisans used to make their own brushes using the hair from the squirrel's tail. These brushes were long lasting but now with the ban on these material artisans buy brushes from market.
Bhatti (Heating Kiln):
The final products are fired in a traditional closed kiln made out of clay and brick. These are generally circular in shape to trap the heat and can accommodate an average of 50-60 products kept on a patiya (cement plates) and separated by a nali (terracotta stands). They are closed from above and wood is put from below.
Patiya (Cement Plates):
Casted cement plates of certain shapes are used during firing to stack the final products on top of each other. This separation helps in flow of heat and avoids sticking of products. The shape of these plates is broad from behind and tapers in front. This shape fits well in a circular kiln and thus accommodates more products.
Nali (Terracotta Stands):
To create gaps between two patiya's three nali's are used. The stacking is done by keeping the products on one patiya then placing the nali's on three corners with the help of terracotta dough (which prevent unevenness) and then another patiya is kept on top of it.
• Raw Material:
The raw material required in the making of Blue Pottery products are procured from the local market and are described as follows:
Ground Quartz Stone:
Quartz is procured from nearby places like Ajmer, Beawar, Udaipur and Neem ka Thana. Powered quartz is snow white in color and is the main raw material for which it is bought in bulk. The cost varies from Rs.2200 – Rs.2500/Ton (As of in the year 2011-12).
Scrap or broken pieces of glass is used in the process. Earlier these glasses used to be bought from the local kabaadi shop free of cost, but now artisans buy it at the rate of Rs.8 - Rs.10/Kg. The glass once bought from the market goes through washing and then it is grounded into pieces. This is basically done by the women of the house during their free hours. These small pieces are then grinded into fine powder using a grinding machine. Glass is basically a mixture of Boric Oxide and silica which reduces the temperature and also helps in baking the quartz.
Katira Gond (Edible Gum):
Katira Gond acts as an adhesive and is readily available in the market. It costs Rs.100 ‐ Rs.120/Kg. The Gond is obtained in big pieces which then hand-grinded using a grinding stone on a stone base. This process is practiced by the women in the house. The grounded Gond is then turned into fine powder in the grinding machine and finally sieved in an iron Jaali (sieve).
Multani Mitti (Fullers Earth):
Multani Mitti or Fullers Earth is very fine in nature and is available in form of solid lumps. It cost Rs.18 – Rs.20/ Kg and can be easily found in a grocer’s shop.
Saaji (Soda Bicarbonate/Bentonite):
Saaji is an edible salt generally used in making papads. It is available in the form of small pieces and costs Rs.50 – Rs.60/Kg. It is also grounded and made into fine powder.
Maida is used for coating the products and is also sometimes used as a substitute in place of Multani Mitti. It also acts as an adhesive. This can be procured from grocer’s shop for Rs.16 – Rs.18/Kg
Two types of colors are used in Blue Pottery
- Oxide colors
- Ferro colors
The main colors used in Blue Pottery are
1. Dark Blue – from Cobalt Oxide
2. Light Blue – from copper oxide
3. Green – from Chrome Oxide
4. Bright Yellow– From Cadmium Oxide
5. Brown – obtained from Ferro colors
Raakh (Burnt Wood Dust):
Raakh is used to give shape to the product when it is in a mold. It is non-sticky and can be easily brushed off once dried.
For firing purposes locally available and seasoned Khezadi wood is used.
Other ingredients used are:
Charcoal, Water, Borex powder, Zinc Oxide, Potassium nitrate, and Boric acid.