Pottery is one of the oldest known crafts that has lived for thousands of years. Potters continue to work with clay, creating forms for different utility, purposes and performances. Diverse cultural parameters, geographical settings, behavioural patterns, methods and material usages characterise the craft. The craft and related skills being passed on from one generation of potters to the next, now appears to be weakening in many places and several traditional pottery clusters are waning with time. Availability of more durable industry grade products, cheap plastic substitutes, drudgery, prejudices of different kinds and most importantly low cost returns, have steered the young generation potters’ to search for alternative sources of livelihood. In our study, we test the plausibility of a scheme for value addition in earthenware by building upon the existing strengths of potters through a set of experiments. In India, we have observed in the past, how certain external interventions in the living craft sectors have been detrimental to their growth and inadvertently affected the traditional craftsmen. Local potters from Kanpur, a dormant pottery belt, forced to switch occupation have therefore been the test subjects of this engagement. We believe that skill enhancement, process refinement and quality improvement would lead to the betterment of potters and pottery. Through this interventional research, we share our experience and the process leading to explicit results of the experiment.
Professor, Department of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India Arman Ovla
Student, Ph.D, Indian Institute of Technology of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India Shatarupa Thakurta Roy
Associate Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Uttar Pradesh, India
POTTERS, POTTERY, CRAFTS, CRAFT CLUSTERS, DESIGN IMPROVEMENT, VALUE ADDITION, INTERVENTION