Pattamundai: When summer arrives, the first thing people without refrigerators remember is clay pots and vessels. Pottery is an art that has been thriving for centuries and many artisans make a living out of it. Even in the modern world of plastic, steel, and aluminum, some potters have not given up this art form despite a substantial decrease in earnings. Yes, many of them have been forced to take up different types of work to earn money.
Earlier Sundays and Tuesdays, potters were seen displaying their products on the roadsides of Pattamundai Haat here. However, that number has sizeably reduced. Sources said that though many residents of Matia, Gangarampur, Adhakhanda, Oupada, and Totasahi localities are still engaged with this ancestral profession, the lack of support from the government is forcing them to switch to other jobs.
However, many belonging to the community said that since they have not learned anything else, building clay items is their only way to earn a living. Nityananda Behera of Adhakhanda village pointed out that people these days use aluminum, plastic, and steel utensils.
As a result demand for clay items has decreased. So unless the government steps in, the potters face a bleak future. Artisan Tulu Behera, on the other hand, suggested that if they get training in the use of terracotta, it will be helpful to them. “Price of terracotta products vary from Rs 10 to Rs 200. If we are trained on how to use the material, we can make RS 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per week. It will help us to maintain our family,” Tulu stated. Other artisans said that carrying clay objects to the market is also a hassle. “During transportation inevitably some of the objects will break. So we suffer losses during transportation also,” stated an artisan.
Overall the clay artisans are in dire straits because for many reasons, informed the potters. First, the cost of clay has increased.
Secondly, the price of wood, needed for baking the clay, has also gone up. So families of all the potters are facing great financial hardships. They said that unless the government intervenes, the art of pottery will die a painful and quick death.
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