Ceramics Today
Home | Articles | Featured Artists | Contact | Search
Artists of the Week  

Gurucharan and Mansimran Singh
Pioneer Indian studio potters

Vase by Gurcharan SinghGurcharan Singh (1898-1995) graduated from the Prince of Wales College in Jammu (now Pakistan) with a Bachelor's degree in geology and chemistry in 1918. After accepting a job at a brick factory run by his father’s friend Ram Singh Kabuli, he became an apprentice with Abdullah Musalmaan, a descendant of a famous line of Pathan potters who came to India in the thirteenth century. In 1919 Singh went to Japan to study industrial ceramics. There, he met Yanagi Soetsu, Bernard Leach, Tomimoto Kenkichi and Shoji Hamada.

On his return to India, he established a workshop at his old pottery, which became known for its Persian copper-blue tiles. In 1927 he founded the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS). He was head of the Government Pottery Institute at Ambala in Jammu from the late 1930s until 1952. Singh then returned to his old pottery works, renaming it the Delhi Blue Art Pottery (now the Delhi Blue Pottery Trust). Delhi Blue tiles were used in many public buildings in India. In 1974 Gurucharan Singh was awarded the Sahitya Kala Parishad's best artist award and in 1991 he received the Padmashree from the President of India for his contribution to the field of ceramics. He is also known as the author of Pottery in India, published in 1979.

Pottery by Gurcharan SinghGurcharan Singh

Mansimran SinghMansimran Singh studied pottery with his father Gurcharan at the Delhi Blue Art Pottery from 1956-1959. He also studied with Bernard Leach and Geoffrey Whiting. In 1960 he joined his father at his pottery. In 1976 Mansimran Singh assisted in establishing the Lalit Kala Akademi's (National Academy of Art) pottery studios in Delhi. Later he held workshops for the academy in Lucknow.

In 1984 he and his wife Mary, also a potter, moved to Andretta, Himachal Pradesh, where they make functional, glazed earthenware and conduct three-month long training courses.

Stoneware vessel by  Mansimran SinghStoneware vessel by  Mansimran Singh

More Artists of the Week
More Articles

© Ceramics Today