With the intention to save the dying pottery industry and to take the traditional earthen vessels to the modern kitchens, M Logesh, a resident of Melmonavoor here, is planning to provide training in pottery to people from outside his community and has approached the State government for help.
Aiming to bring about that change, Logesh has applied to the Vellore district administration seeking five acres of land to set up a pottery training centre. While the officials initially brushed off his request saying providing land was not possible, a middle-level official told him that sending candidates to learn the course will not be a problem. It was then left to Logesh to convince the officials why he needed that much land.
“As one from the potter community, I know how hard it is for potters to make ends meet as their wares are in demand only during Deepavali and Ganesh Chaturthi,” said Logesh adding that it is one reason why the trade is slowly dying. “I have understood that even traditional things find buyers when placed in upmarket stores. Hence, my task is to ensure that earthen vessels find a place in such outlets,” he said.
Presently employed in a private company, he is learning the trade tricks from his elder brother. On why he needed so much land, he said, “One person requires at least two cents of land to prepare the soil and to bake and dry the mud vessels. Also if the government is willing to send 25 persons to learn the trade, it means setting up of 12 to 13 potter’s wheel, for which also space is required.”
Asked about the cost, he said “a potter’s wheel costs up to Rs 20,000. For the time being, I can borrow some wheels from my relatives who have spare ones.”
On how he planned to popularise the trade, Logesh said: “The Guinness Book of Records state that the biggest earthen pot in the world is 10 feet tall and is located in Poland. I will make one that is 12 feet in height, thereby setting a new record and simultaneously calling attention to this trade.”
Asked how long it would take to develop the expertise among his ‘future students’, he said: “One will have to spend at least one month each on mastering every item like diyas, tumblers, earthen vessels, water pots, teapots etc apart from statues like that of Lord Ganesha. In all, it could take up to three years to master all aspects of the skill.”