A dying art of Pottery Making
Surjaman Thapa, TrongsaOct 12 2013
Earthen pots have been made since 2004-a practice encouraged and supported by the Tarayana Foundation.
Five workers make pots in the traditional manner using only hands, and also using of electric machines.
The potters first collect soil, sieve it, and then the soil is soaked for months in water until it turns into a fine mud pulp. The pulp is then used to make the pot. The pots are dried using the traditional oven heated to 1000 degrees centigrade. Fire fed by cow dung and wood is also used for drying pots.
“The traditional method of making pots is preferred as it’s our culture. There isn’t much of a difference when compared to the electrical method, although with the latter, more pots can be made in a shorter period and desired shapes are usually achieved,” said the Pottery Centre’s In-Charge, Dawa Tshering.
Cooking pots, flower pots, and various other earthen utensils are made here. The pot-makers are members of the Moenpa community from Jangbi village under Langthil gewog.
“I enjoy making these pots, and feel really fortunate to be given the opportunity by Tarayana. I am not educated, so this is really an opportunity” said one of the potters, Ugyen Dema.
Another potter, Tashi Lhamo, said the Tarayana Foundation has trained them in making pots. “We have been told that our pots are like the ones that our ancestors used to make. Our community is very proud of us”.
The earthen pots are sent to Thimphu during exhibitions and also sold in Trongsa during mass gatherings. There are plans to export the pots to Japan in the near future.
A certain percentage of the money made from sales goes back to the Moenpa community for its development.