Working for technological empowerment and sustainable livelihoods at the grass root levels.
 
Selected Replicable Technology Models for Rural Application
Red Clay Pottery

Problem/Need

Among the 10 major artisanal groups in India, potters comprise the fourth largest but second poorest group with an estimated 10 lakh people directly or indirectly involved in this vocation. Despite the existence of a stable and consistent demand for a narrow range of pottery-ware, these traditional potters are in a deep crisis due to severe competition from industrial products like plastic and aluminium goods. They are unable to met this challenge since there has been a drastic depletion of raw materials, as suitable clay becomes more and more scarce, while there is no innovation or upgradation of their skills and technologies. Attempts to alleviate their lot through providing technological inputs remained largely unsuccessful since merely mechanizing some processes may lead to increased productivity but the shrinking market remains a fatal bottleneck.

 

Range of Products

Approach/Strategy

In order to resolve this problem a countrywide study of production practices of potters and in-depth R&D work was conducted with the help of CGCRI and several VOs. This led to the evolution of a technology package, which successfully resolved the problems of poor quality and depleting white clay resources by developing a protocol of admixtures for red-clay and appropriately scaled machinery for clay processing. As a result, the potter can now utilize the commonly found red-clay for making excellent quality glazed-ware obviating the dependence on costly white clay. Moreover, with the introduction of this new technology, the product range of the potter expands, and thus the dying trade can be rejuvenated. The salient features of this technology package are:

  • Suitable treatment, processing and admixture techniques for upgradation of the quality if common or red-clay.

  • Matching non-toxic glazes.

  • Appropriately scaled machinery for use by potter groups.

  • New type kilns for fuel efficiency and reduction of breakage.

  • Innovative product range including tableware, decorative items and construction material.

  • Low cost bone-ash preparation for bone china.

  • A system-design incorporating clusters of potters, using the technology package, and producing the innovative product range with suitable marketing strategy.

  • Data base on diverse clay types, quality upgradation protocols, technical and economic features of clay-based artisanal production and social dimensions of artisanal pottery.


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