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A modern touch to pottery

Nisarga H Malligere June 07, 2016, 0:04 IST
INNOVATIVE Anasuya Bai with clay products in Ramanagar
Can the combination of creativity, dedication and commitment save the traditional occupation of pottery making from extinction? The professional potters of Ramanagar, who are striving to revive the occupation, affirm the view without any hesitation. Ramanagar district was once known for pottery making. A few decades ago, over 3,000 artisans across the district were into pottery making, producing one or the other artefact using clay collected from waterbodies.

Though the younger generation is not keen to take up the art, a group of professional potters is keeping the tradition alive by giving a modern touch to good old earthen pots. The potters in the lanes of Ramanagar town make exquisite clay articles with innovative designs. Items like water bottles, magic lamps and vastu bells have become popular among urban people.

“It becomes difficult to make a living if we stick to set patterns. There is a huge competition in the market with similar items available at cheap rates. No body is bothered about the quality of the material used but go by its beauty. Hence, we are making clay articles with modern designs,” says Basavaraju, a traditional potter.

He is an expert in making designer pots and lamps. Anasuya Bai, a senior potter from the region, also makes attractive items using potter’s wheel. Having an experience of over 40 years in the tradition, she has successfully experimented with various designs.

As today’s generation would rarely get chances to witness pottery making, Anasuya gives demonstration in pottery making at Janapada Loka in Ramanagar. Her innovative experiments reached another level when she designed ‘clay water bottles’ and introduced it to the market recently. This handicraft with utility value became an instant hit among consumers, particularly travellers on Bengaluru-Mysuru highway. The idea was to provide a facility for common people to keep water cool, she says.

The veteran artisan has set up a stall near Janapada Loka in Ramanagar. Along with Basavaraju and Anasuya Bai, about 50 artisans from different parts of the district are giving modern touches to the traditional art here. They all feel that commitment and dedication to pottery can take the traditional occupation to a new level.

The clay items made in Ramanagar include tulasi katte, tumblers, artistic lamps, baskets, decorative pots, animal models and water containers. The potters also make clay plates that could be used to keep water for birds. Some other popular items made by these artisans are small pots for hotels to sell buttermilk and juice, bangles, finger rings and pendants. They also make various decorative items for resorts and restaurants.

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