Pankaj, our artist, who has spent almost 15 years of his life, modelling the magnificent artefacts of terracotta, shared his splendid life journey with us.
Pankaj was 14 years old when his father passed away, Pankaj took over the command of his family’s pottery business. Being born in a potter’s house, he naturally got adapted to the skills of pottery.
Even spending such a long time in this field he still feels that he is still not able to reach up to the level of perfection in his skills. This sincere dedication of him can be noticed in the quality of his products. Pankaj’s work is appraised by customers ranging from Ahmedabad, Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam. He is utterly skilled in imbibing the specific design demands of his customers in his terracotta products.
As he has spent quite a long time in terracotta’s business world and has encountered many changes in functionalities of this business. The major changes he recognized were after joining Mittihub. He joyously expressed his thoughts with us that after becoming a part of the team here, he is able to delve into the new trends prevailing in terracotta’s industry. More importantly the exploitative traps that were laid by the middlemen are erased now. Even the free of cost facilities provided by the government were not accessible for them as their access lay in the hold of middlemen’s authority. But now the scene has changed, they are aware of all the deeds and misdeeds of these middlemen as well as they are able to directly connect with their customers thus leading to an increase in their income level. After a point of time our conservation reached a point where Pankaj’s voice became a little dull as this is the point where he shared his worries related to the increasingly reducing numbers of new learners in the field of pottery.
According to him Nowadays, youngsters are perceiving the precious art of pottery as a untidy job. Their sight is so fogged that they are not even noticing the high profit margins this art business pose in it. At the end he concluded with an optimistic affirmation that “once a person gets perfectly skilled in pottery...then nobody can stop him in acquiring sustainable livelihood”.
MOTILAL JI, ( Master Artisan )
Motilal ji, potter at Mittihub (Rajasthan) recounted his life tale of 40 years in pottery work. He began his journey as a potter 40 years ago, when he was just 14 years old. The exquisite art of pottery was passed on to him from his chacha (uncle). He spent several years of his life crafting intricate pieces of terracotta artefacts at Kotla ,Delhi. Subsequently he moved back to his ancestral land Rajasthan.
There he started to shape out black pottery wares. Later observing the change in customer’s needs ,his hands assimilated the modern style of cookwares ;produced microwave and induction compatible Bhagona, kadai ,pans and tawas.
When asked whether he felt any changes in the situation of potters lives and pottery, with a frowned look he stated,”Not much has been changed...we are still endeavouring to acquire the just recognition of our skills and work!”
The pettiness in Motilal ji ‘s eyes depicted that no authorities reached them out to help in any way. No social authority came up to help them in scaling up their production and in betterment of their skill and abilities.
Their struggle is still intense in each and every way whether it is to
Their struggle is still intense in each and every way whether it is to procure ample amounts of income or a respectful place in the market. The glazing ‘helping schemes’ are all according to them are “bekar”. These schemes stage huge amounts of hope but at the end turn out into nothing.
Motilal ji and his community appreciated startups like Mittihub and especially the young promoters who are reaching out to them in scaling up production and increasing income of potters community. The way their skills are being appreciated nowadays under the eco oriented initiatives they were not like this before.
In the commerce world of pottery, potters are barely left with any space for their own artistic freedom. Their creativity is hindered by many middle men and buyers. But new Eco initiatives are helping them to release their artistic will and to channelize it through experimenting different arts, designs and methods.
Somewhat new initiatives and young enthusiastic promoters are raising a ray of hope in them. The increment in order’s numbers and variety of demands is really encouraging them. The way in which social media platforms are being utilised by the creators to promote their artistic skills as well as their businesses, are also working as helping hand for them.
Motilal ji and the potters community are deeply pleased from the work the young crafters are doing. And this is very much visible from the smile on his face at the end of interview.