Pottery has no takers

Pottery has no takers

Pots have demand

Making way: A street in Kumbarapet near Kolar city. DH photo

The profession, ancient and once in great demand, has no takers in the district nowadays. There are very few villages near the city where one can still find some potters.

Kumbarapet, which sheltered generations of potters, has just about 20 families whose younger generations are into other professions. The senior members family continue to get clay vessels from outside and sell them in the village. Clay lamps, pots, plates, stoves, mini tanks, urns, troughs, cups are all sold by the senior members of the potter community, facing no trouble from any quarter.

Houses that had pottery as family profession have readymade clay articles stacked up outside. Making at home, however, is no longer seen. Potters have turned only marketeers of clay vessels, as if the magic in their fingers is lost.

Special occasions still require use of clay goods. Therefore, whenever there is a house-warming ceremony, wedding, naming ceremony, death or even festivals, people throng the potters’ street. “There is always demand for new stoves, plates, lamps, urns, etc,” says Lakshmaiah, resident of Kumbarapet.

Turning reminiscent, Lakshmaiah said his father would make the goods from clay, in the expansive backyard of the house. “Now, it is virtually impossible to get clay and timber. It is too expensive.”

He added that potters would work through night and day, when houses required tiles for the roofs. “Very often we could not fulfill the demands of customers.” The practice of tiling roofs gradually reduced and has now stopped, putting and end to demand for tiles altogether.

“With the entry of aluminium and steel vessels into the market, the demand for clay pots, plates and cups too fell. Now, the highest demand is for lamps of various designs during festivals, urns in summer and mini tanks wherever taps are fit,” Lakshmaiah said.

In accordance with the demands, the potters-turned-businessmen get lamps, pots and other items in new designs from Devanahalli, Gujarat, Salem and other places.

After pottery ceased to be a profession followed in urban areas, it continued only in villages near tanks. There are a few potters in Maderahalli, Kallandur, Narasapura, Tavarekere, Chinnandahalli and Holur, near Kolar city, as there is sufficient supply of both clay and timber to continue the work.

Lakshmaiah said although there are about 20 families still in the profession, they are all relatives. Of these families, the younger generations of at least 10 are work for BEML, government jobs, have dairies or general stores or work as mechanics. “Other than that their elders were potters, the youngsters know little about pottery. Their interest in the art is even lesser.”