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10 Indian Ceramic Brands

by Rohini Wahi

During my holidays as a child, I would travel to a small village called Santiniketan on the outskirts of Calcutta, where my grandparents had an idyllic holiday home (bouganvillia, vegetable patches, paddy fields and meandering cows abounded). The town was established by iconic Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and built around his ideals of learning through nature. Santiniketan now thrives with a literary past, bohemian allure and lauded craft community.  

Each trip to Santiniketan, I eagerly looked forward to the Poush Mela, a huge fair which marked the harvest season by celebrating folk traditions, including the town’s many cottage industries specializing in folk craft. Businesses who could afford it would have covered stalls, but I was always drawn to the smallest rural crafters who exhibited their wares simply on the ground.

I recall a strong visual of the Mela from my childlike view — an expanse of blue sky, blanket after blanket of clay wares dotted with brick red terracotta figures, earthy glazed vessels, tiny tactile stoneware sculptures and the red earth underneath that they were made from. For me, there 
is something that is so inherently raw and linked to the land with Indian pottery, something in its weight, tactility and texture that compares to no other — perhaps we all feel that way when we possess something that is made from the same soil as us? Here I share 10 Indian Ceramic brandsRohini

10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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A tactile and weighty beer mug from Satyam Studio.
10 Indian Ceramics on Design Sponge
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The fluid, hand-painted strokes of Freedom Tree’s painterly Wonderland collection are inspired by blossoms and ferns. I love it when product designs target the needs of their specific customer base, and these vessels are equally pretty as they are functional. The long rectangle and oval plates are designed as Kebab platters, and other deep square ones in the collection are intended for nuts.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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The first stop on my next visit home to Calcutta is the new Sienna Store, a beautifully conceived platform for rural arts in India. I am simply desperate to visit because the shop specializes in unusual ceramics handmade in my very own childhood idyll of Santiniketan. Luminous hand-glazed items include products like Kantha-stitched bookmarks finished with oversized hand-glazed ceramic beads and this storage jar cleverly mixing wood, ceramics and adorned with a Dhokra bird. Layers of exquisite craft!
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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Pretty pale pink lotus-shaped incense burners at Sienna Store.
10 Indian Ceramics on Design Sponge
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Monkey Business is a Goan pottery brand which had been on my radar for years, and I was lucky to finally track it down on my honeymoon three years ago! A rickety ride through the verdant Goan countryside to the studio in a historic bungalow was one of the highlights of my trip. Specializing in ceramics inspired by the sea - an abundance of spiky sea urchin vessels and barnacle-like vases are glazed in delicious oceanic hues.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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This collection of beautiful wind chimes produced by Ochre in Gujarat is the result of a program in which women of the village are encouraged and trained in creating unique ceramics. The poetic wind chimes in swirls, dots and organic patterns are made using a decorative technique that involves the layering and stacking of differently colored clay bodies and then cutting or slicing through the clay to reveal delicate striated patterns.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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One product that I have always coveted but hesitated to buy because of the commitment to their sound are wind-chimes - but these covetable color combinations, simple pattern play and beautiful hand-shaped look of these wind-chimes by Ochre make me want to snap up one of each kind.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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Nkuku's beautiful Mali Ceramic Collection is handmade as part of a fair-trade project in southern India, which offers training and secure employment to artisans from disadvantaged backgrounds. I'm fascinated by how clay can look like another material, and these half-glazed terracotta vases have a striking industrial quality about them with the terracotta akin to oxidized metal.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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A ceramic art and pottery studio in Kerala, Clay Fingers produces contemporary ethnic pots, planters, hand painted decorative pottery and mural tiles. I have fallen so hard for their collection of tiles depicting botanical reliefs and folk art... I just can't imagine having anything so earthy and evocative as these tiles in terracotta in my home. How can something so raw and simple feel so luxurious?
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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A folk mural tile from Clay Fingers. I love the simplicity and the drama of the terracotta-highlighted border.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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Curators of Clay is a Pune-based potters' studio crafting tableware designed with Indian households in mind - all the plates have a rim because many Indians eat with their hands. There are also "kadais" (woks) and "katoris" (small bowls) which are usually available only in metal.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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The idyllic Curators of Clay outdoor workshop in Pune.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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These simple oil burners by Rayden Design Studio are like works of art - little terracotta saucers perch on top of solid wood cones. I love the idea of a row of these lined up on a table with white wildflowers nestled amongst them to create a simple and striking centerpiece.
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I love the simple mid-century forms of Jaipur-based Satyam Studio, infused with the speckled and earthy mix of Indian clay. These pieces are made using a baked clay method in Khujra, a one-of-a-kind place that is the home to hundreds of hand-skilled potters in India.
10 Indian Ceramic Brands on Design Sponge
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Delhi-based homeware brand Rain and Peacock has an eclectic curation of ceramics from kitsch to handmade - the store has a fun market-hall appeal. I love these vintage-style, sea-inspired stoneware serving plates.

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