Lockdown, rains, predictions of dull festive season have potters worried

Published - June 07, 2020 01:13 am IST - Bengaluru

Tough times ahead:  Workers at Pottery Town in the city earlier this week.

Tough times ahead: Workers at Pottery Town in the city earlier this week.

Potters in the city are at risk of losing their livelihood as not only were they unable to work during the lockdown during the otherwise busy summer season, but with the onset of the rains, they are looking at further losses due the unavailability of raw material.

“I was optimistic this summer as earthen and decorative clay products usually see a high demand in March, April and May due to weddings. But the lockdown was enforced, marriages and parties were cancelled and I suffered huge losses,” said M. Srinivas, who runs a pottery shop on Kummara Street in K.R. Puram.

Traditional potters in Bengaluru usually work for six to seven months in summer and ahead of Ganesha Chaturti and Diwali. Many feel it’s unlikely that business will pick up after the monsoon as people are not spending money with the number of COVID-19 cases showing no signs of decline. “We don’t think Ganesha Chaturti and Diwali will be bright and colourful,” said a potter.

Potters in the city source clay from various districts, including the neighbouring Kolar. Due to the complete lockdown from the last week of March to May, it was difficult for them to source clay and other raw material. “Our kilns are running out of wood for us to burn or glaze our products. Hence, the whole process has been hit and we are clueless on what to do,” said a claymaker on Old Madras Road.

Unable to sell their products, potters have stacked their wares in their homes and godowns.

S. Nanjundappa of ‘Kumbara Karakushala Kaigarika Sangha’ in New Pottery Town says their homes and godowns are filled with unsold products including earthen pots and other decorative items. “Until someone buys them, we won’t have enough space to start new work. Our earning season has also passed,” he said.

Potters like Nanjundappa feel that the government should actively encourage and promote handicrafts.

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