Terracotta has the literal meaning- ‘baked earth’. It has areddish-brown colour since it is created using natural clay. It may be glazed to add colour and for durability. Being sturdy and waterproof, several ancient sculptures made of terracotta are found intact.
Today terracotta is used to create figures of deities, for handicrafts and for terracotta jewellery .Terracotta creativity is in evidence in temples located in Hooghly, Birbhum, Murshidabadand Bishnupur.
Terracotta has been in use since the times of the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa civilizations(3000 to 1500 BC). Since ancient times, terracotta has been in use in designing sculptures, pottery and for home construction. It is a form of ceramic that is moulded in clay form and then baked. Apart from decorative items like pots and vases, it is also being used for creating bangles, smoking pipes and jewellery.
Pottery making began with handmade vessels connected together with a loose suspension of water and clay. The clay vessel was decorated after or before firing. Pottery was made by using a Potter’s wheel which features a lump of clay placed in the centre of a turntable (wheel head) that was rotated by the potter using his foot. This clay is pressed, shaped and moulded into a hollow shape. Thus, pottery making needs great skill.
Terracotta has different methods of decoration. For instance, patterns can be incised on its surface, or in-glazing, on-glazing, enamelling and banding can be done. Agateware can be used to create a mottled effect where bands of colours are blended together.
Glazes are coating on pottery meant for safety as well as beauty. Stone or brick kilns used the firing technique traditionally while electricity and gas have made the process cleaner and safer.
They have an earthy or rustic appeal. It is in fashion as accessories to traditional as well as modern and casual ethnic wear. Items include chokers, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants and bangles. They can take up rustic colours like red, green, pink, grey and indigo.
Today, terracotta jewellery assumes an exotic dressing style in the fashion of wearing traditional, ethnic tribal or nomadic outfits. Terracotta has always been used in tribal and rural communities for necklaces, pedants, earrings and bangles.
Terracotta ethnic jewellery can be moulded using hands. A variety of glazed and rough finishes can be provided. Jewellery can be carved, painted, embedded with beads and stones and embossed with decorative patterns.
The process starts with purifying clay and designing and shaping the wet slab. After it is totally dry, it is fired in a kiln at very high temperature to provide a stone consistency. After clay is fired, it takes on a natural brick colour or shades of pink, brown or white which depends on the clay’s quality. The clay may be fired in kiln with saw dust and assumes a natural black hue.After this, it is hand painted in a variety of colours and designs to match Indo-Western as well as ethnic outfits.
Terracotta jewellery are perfect gift items that suit all kinds of dress styles. Since they are non-reactive in nature, terracotta jewellery suits all types of skins, without causing allergies. One can shop for terracotta jewellery online for a wide selection.