This June, 2023, our founders Manish and Ruchi visited the artisan group that makes our popular terracotta pots and planters as part of our Garden & Patio Collection. They met with Mohan-Ji and his family. This generational artisanal pottery craft started with his father and was handed down to him. Their workshop is attached to their home and women are now also part of the artisanal process. This is becoming more acceptable as a norm in what is otherwise a patriarchal society. This workshop employs around 10 artisan makers.
The clay used to make these products is a mixture of special clay derived from river beds and a mud which makes for a completely sustainable product. The clay is ground down and made into a fine material that can be used to create smoother pottery pieces. Once molded, the pieces are laid to set and dry for about 7 days before being fired in a kiln. The kiln is also hand built by the artisans themselves. Any finishing touches such as paint are added by hand after this process. Our Fair Trade collection of one-of-a-kind garden products includes some intricate designs, motifs and shapes. Mohan Ji is a very skilled and enterprising artisan. The group have been able to create some intricate and unique shapes like the House, Sun, Turtle and Frog, for example, which are not common and typically hard to create using terracotta. We are grateful for their partnership.
Some of our newer terracotta garden pottery pieces are hand casted using a mold instead of a wheel and the women artisans are very involved in this process. It is something they can easily train in and apply their skills in without having to be trained in the pottery wheel. This allows them to be paid and contribute to their family’s financial security without having to rely solely on income from their male counterparts.
Agriculture and generational artisanal craft is very much tied to the culture and livelihoods of these communities, so purchases of their artisanal products support both these critical aspects of their lives. Through their hard work of making and selling great products, they have grown their socio-economic status. You can see below buffalo which provide milk and images of much needed reinforcements to their home, creating a safer and more stable shelter (previously made from bricks, now reinforced with concrete).
This family and the artisans they employ are truly grateful for the work they receive as a result of our business and this is only made possible by our loyal retail partnerships! They were so thankful that they presented Manish with a turban as a sign of deepest respect and gratitude. And, of course you will never leave a traditional Indian family household without being fed something delicious!