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Artisan Stories: Fair Trade Potters, India

Fair Trade Potters, India


Our Dipped Terracotta ceramics are made by a fair trade pottery in India that has been running since 1985. It now employs 40 people. The project aims to break down social stigma by employing able-bodied and disabled artisans to work side-by-side. The methods used at the pottery have remained the same for hundreds of years.

Tamil Nadu, meaning 'Land of the Tamils', lies at the southernmost tip of the Indian penninsula. It is known for its rich tradition of literature, art, music and dance, and has one of the highest literacy rates in India. Tamil Nadu is mostly dependent on monsoon rains for water and is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail.

Clay


Clay is a very fine-grained rock that occurs naturally in the earth. Depending on the metal oxides, minerals and organic matter in the soil where it's dug, clay can be various colours from white and dull grey to brown and deep orange-red. All Decorator's Notebook pottery is oven, dishwasher and microwave safe.

How is it made?


Our Dipped Terracotta mugs and cups are made from local clay that is blended by hand. The clay is kneaded to remove air bubbles then thrown on a potters wheel, a skill that takes many years to perfect. Murugan is the artisan in charge of glazing all the pottery before it is loaded into a traditional wood-fired kiln. Pieces are fired for eight hours then cooled for two days

How your purchase improves lives


As well as providing fair trade employment, the pottery also aims to reduce social barriers. Women are employed on an equal basis to men and the pottery also employs disabled artisans to work alongside able-bodied employees. The aim is that, by tackling discrimination in the workplace, employees will have confidence to challenge inequality in the wider community.

"My favourite thing is using the wheel, but I think every potter would say the same. I enjoy making mugs most, I find them easy to make" Jaya

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Image credits: Nkuku