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Minakshi Rathore

Daughter of the ‘Father of Blue Pottery’ (Kripal Singh Shekhawat, The Shilp Guru and Padma Shri winner)

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 “Out of us four sisters, my father picked me as his apprentice. My upbringing, hence, was quite different than that of my sisters. My father started training me in the art when I was as young as 4 years of age. He would make me grind the colors that he would use in his painting and blue pottery. Whenever I felt inclined to play with other kids he’d stop me straightaway and make me sit beside him to observe and learn the art. When I grew older, he would take me and my sisters to the Shilp Kala Mandir where we observed the artisans involved in the intricate works of the art. I distinctly remember the time when my father went abroad for three and half years and my mother and I had to look after the work. It was during that time, when I, as a student of tenth grade, became really close to the art of Blue Pottery. After that I chose to pursue my graduation in Political Science and History from Kanodiya College (the only other college in Jaipur that time besides Maharani’s). It was after attending the classes for two days that my father casually asked me what subjects I had picked for my graduation, till then we didn’t have any conversation in that regards. So, I told him the particulars and managed to get him irked. He asked me what I think I’m going to do with the arts. I told him that I’ll remain involved in the art at home and graduate in those sciences that I have chosen. Then he reminded me that after him it would become my responsibility to carry the legacy, to nurture the art, he brought back from near extinction. Indeed, it was really difficult for him to revive the art with all the traditional artists long gone. 

When he came to Jaipur from Delhi,   had some insight about the secret art of blue pottery, she was from the family of Bhola Kumar the last person who was engaged in the art form about a century ago. So, it was with great difficulty he brought life back to the fragile art of Blue Pottery and it was apparent why he wouldn’t want to let it die again. Anyways, on his insistence, I agreed to swap the subjects. My father talked it out with the director of the college, and this is how I graduated with Fine Arts. Though, I don’t really understand its application except that it filled the final piece of the dome that covered my life with arts’ beauty and intricacies. All that I wanted to learn or was required to, was solely taught by my father, in college it was all about the British art like portraits and stuff. So I became more involved in the art of Blue pottery and its charm has finally got hold of me. Though, alike my father, I too like other styles of painting but nothing got closer to my heart than Blue Pottery. The complex and delicate process, the bright blue hues, and sheer regal vibe of the art, all keeps me captivated with it. In the year 2008, when my father’s health started to fail him, I took the reins of the studio in my hands and since then I, along with my two sisters, am managing the Kripal Kumbh Blue Pottery studio.”

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