Tottering pottery industry makes turn around | Daily News

Tottering pottery industry makes turn around

Besides the sale on special occasions such Pohela Boishakh, clay pottery items are witnessing sales round the year

Pottery industry, believed to be long dead, seems to have made a turnaround these days, with the artisans trying their hands in new designs and shapes and with some of them having been able to make a good living out of their trade. 

Besides the sale on special occasions such Pohela Boishakh, clay pottery items are witnessing sales round the year, people buying them to decorate houses, offices, posh hotels, embassy premises and so on. 

Sumona Chowdhury, who was found purchasing some clay potteries from a footpath shop in the Newmarket area, said she chose different shapes and designs to decorate her drawing room with them.

“I came to buy mask, plate and ornaments made of clay. I like to decorate my home with pottery and terracotta. So I am looking for unique designs,” she said.

Pottery Artist, Khokon Karigor of Savar in Dhaka, having done his Master’s in political science in 2000, has been in the trade since 1999.  

He makes wall-mates, wall-plantation items, wall-tubs, table-tubs, table lamps, wall lamps, table and terracotta, selling them at prices ranging from Tk600 to more than Tk3,000.

“I started making clay accessories with artistic twists and turns with the help of wood to attract customers. And my sales have increased by at least 10%,” Khokon said. 

Shandip Pal, who lives in Kartikpur, Shariayatpur, started making potteries with his elder brother in 1979 when he was in class three. His elder brother Sumir Pal started the business in 1978.

Nowadays he makes pottery items of different designs like flower vase with scenes of the nature, pen pots in bird shape, lamps and others. “Clay pottery goods have huge demand abroad than in the local market. But since this industry weakened over the years, I brought in some artistic changes in the products last year, which pushed up the demand for the products in the local market,” he claimed.

Another elderly artisan, Bissesor Pal, who has a factory at Palpara in Potuakhali, started business four years before independence. But he started making clay products commercially in 1995.

To sustain his business, he had one of his sons study MBA while another son studied fine arts. 

His son Shisir Pal said: “We two brothers help our father make new designs and have contact with buyers. Now we have 800 items and can export more than before,” he added.

Though a few of the artisans have been able to change their fate by bringing about artistic changes in the products, most of them are still struggling to survive for lack of adequate funds and logistic supports. 

Some of the artisans still use traditional wheel to make potteries while some still cannot afford using dice. 

Ramesh Chandra Pal, at Savar Kutirshilpo, said: “I make masks, small dolls, portraits along with flower vase and tubs. But we can sell these products only during Boishakh.”

“Though I can make different clay potteries, there is no patronage from the government. No bank gives us loan as they think we will not be able to repay the bank loan. NGO loans have huge interest. If the government does not come forward, the pottery industry will go extinct,” he said.

Rangadip Pal regretted that though he got state certificate after participating in an exhibition organised by the National Museum, it helped him little to change his fate. “If we can contact foreign buyers, it will then be possible to earn foreign currencies by exporting our products. We badly need support from the government or any other organization,” he stated. (Dhaka Tribune)

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