A pottery story: the work of Ira Chaudhuri
projectA pottery story: the work of Ira Chaudhuri
clientIra Chaudhuri


Ira Chaudhuri is a renowned studio potter, considered as one of the pioneers of ceramic arts in India. She has been practising studio pottery for 70 years, starting from her time as a student at Shantiniketan and through her years at the Faculty of Fine Arts at MS University, Baroda and eventually, in her current city, Delhi.

At the urging of patrons and fellow artists, it was decided that a book commemorating her works be brought out, which would be published by Tulika Books. Itu Chaudhuri took on the role of editor of the book and the book was designed at ICD.


Ira Chaudhuri’s journey, from an accidental potter, to becoming, in her own words ‘addicted’ to the art of studio pottery has continued for 70 years. 

A prolific creator, the artist has produced an extensive body of work spanning styles, forms and materials—both utilitarian and purely art pieces in stoneware, agateware, naked raku in a variety of glazes and scales. 

The design has to let the art take the centre stage, and remain in the background as a quiet guide for the viewer. 

Additionally, her personal journey is representative of the evolution of ceramic art, from its beginnings to its inclusion in the mainstream, which had to be treated with a basic level of rigour.


The cover has concentric circles of Iramese in earthy, clay like colours—the artist’s own sgraffito script, which draws inspiration from her interest in pre-columbian and oceanic art traditions. There is a movement in letterforms, as if being spun on a potter’s wheel. It draws heavily from Ira Chaudhuri’s style, in so much as anyone somewhat familiar with her work would instantly recognise it as her design. 

The book is designed to give the reader a mix of reading and viewing experience, rather than a reading one.

Her signature on the front page starts the story. Her essay, ‘Pottery and I’ is interspersed with close-up images of her work, giving the reader a taste for what follows. Snippets from ‘Pottery and I’ and other essays dot the book, enhancing the viewing experience for the reader.

‘Trump’ typeface lends a clean, yet crafted appearance to the whole text. 

A thorough biography and index of the works shown in the book, give the reader a sense of the expanse and impact of the artist’s work on ceramic arts in India.


The book was release by Dr. Raj Kubba at the India International Centre and followed by a talk on Indian ceramics by Kristine Michael, ceramic artist and curator, it was attended by major figures of Indian ceramic art.

A pottery story: the work of Ira Chaudhuri

projectA pottery story: the work of Ira Chaudhuri
clientIra Chaudhuri

Ira Chaudhuri is a studio potter with more than 70 years of continuous practice of ceramic art. She is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of ceramic art in India. This book is a commemoration of her work with images, essays & interviews by the artist, her contemporaries and critics. Published by Tulika Books, it also features an introduction by art connoisseur and major collector of Ira Chaudhuri’s work, Dr. Raj Kubba. The book is edited by Itu Chaudhuri and designed at ICD.

‘Iramese’ spun on a wheel on the cover

Iramese is what Ira Chaudhuri likes to call her own sgraffito script, which draws inspiration from her interest in pre-columbian and oceanic art traditions. The letterforms form an increasingly shrinking circle, capturing the movement of a clay wheel.

An earthy palette resembling wet clay—the artist’s material and medium

The colour and mood of the book is closely reminiscent of clay in its wet, pliant form, which is Ira Chaudhuri’s material and medium. 

Ira Chaudhuri and Indian ceramic art in parallel movement

Ira Chaudhuri’s career traces its roots to Shantiniketan where the seeds of Indian ceramic art were laid. From there, her time in Baroda and in Delhi progressed in parallel with the development and maturation of the ceramic and studio pottery movement in India. Hence, the design treats the subject with sensitivity and rigour.

A catalogue of Ira Chaudhuri’s evolution as an artist

The works laid out in the book have a sequential sense—the groups cover distinct phases and transitions in her styles over 7 decades. Each work has been catalogued in detail in an index at the end. 


partner-in-charge & creative director itu chaudhuri | design concept, development ashok dey | cover design ashok dey | printing & production guide ashok dey | proof-reading ayushmaan agarwalla | copy editing itu chaudhuri, ayushmaan agarwalla | webpage photography ashok dey, saumya dalal | project duration 4 months

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