Pottery Making: A Backbreaking Tale Of Two Widows - Eastern Mirror
Monday, April 22, 2024
Editor's Pick

Pottery making: A backbreaking tale of two widows

By Temshinaro Updated: Feb 14, 2024 11:56 pm
Pottery making
Kikaremla and Tianaro preparing their clay pots for the burning process.

DIMAPUR —Business enterprises run by Nagas have seen an upward trend of late with scores of success stories making it to the headlines, though failed ventures are also not uncommon.

Among them are 85-year-old Kikaremla and 51-year-old Tianaro who have been making red clay pots for over a decade, to support their families after their husbands passed away.

They are from Khar village in Mokokchung district, about 34 km from Mokokchung town and home to many small-scale pottery makers. Pottery making in the village is said to have been passed down through generations.

Though pottery making is usually classified as a low investment business, it is also one of the most backbreaking labours that require patience, dedication and devotion. And over the years, the duo has been supplying clay pots to several villages across Mokokchung district and neighbouring districts like Wokha.

Pottery Making
Burning process.

Narrating her struggles as a single parent to Eastern Mirror, Tianaro said that she was left with no choice but to find ways and means to look after her three school-going daughters after her husband passed away from cancer in 2013.

Today, two of her daughters are in college while the youngest one is in Class 12.

While fondly recollecting her childhood when her mother, who was also a potter, would teach her the trade, she also shared that their pottery business has slowly grown over the years through sheer hard work and perseverance.

On the process of making the pots, Tianaro said she would travel several kilometers to get the best variety of clay as not all clay are suitable for pottery.

After soaking the clay in the water, she would grind it manually till it turns ‘really’ soft. Her partner would then manually shape the clay lump into the desired size and shape with her hands, before the wet pots are dried above the fireplace for days.

Pottery Making
Kikaremla and Tianaro preparing their clay pots for the burning process.

Finally, the burning process, which lasts for hours, begins till the pot turns reddish in colour. The fuel used for the burning process is mostly dried bamboos.

Kikaremla, the reticent elder potter, has three children who are all married. She continues with the trade for self sustenance.

And despite her old age, she is said to be actively and equally involved in the joint venture- a perfect blend young and old.

Lauding Kikaremla’s aesthetic skills in shaping and moulding the pots, Tianaro shared how “beautiful a journey it is to be working with such an energetic woman”. “Age is just a number as with hardwork and will power, human beings can never fail,” she added.

She also confided that they have been ‘each-other’s comfort through thick and thin and have come this far after losing their husbands in the same year’.

The duo has their share of problems and struggles but never gave up on what they started together.

Tianaro went on to share that the profit margin is not high considering the amount of labour invested but they are contended that they are making a decent livelihood.

Pottery Making
Finished clay pots ready to be shipped to Wokha.

The prices of their clay pots range from INR 100-350 and they make around 100 pots in a month on average.

Sharing how her partner, despite old age, works really hard for self sustenance, Tianaro humbly said, “age is just a number as with hardwork and will power, human beings can never fail.” 

One major hurdle they face is marketing due to transportation issues, so they do not travel to other districts except neighbouring Wokha. However, they travel to villages in their home district, in a hired vehicle, to sell their produce.

They made and sold thousands of pots so far, and the journey continues.

By Temshinaro Updated: Feb 14, 2024 11:56:42 pm
Website Design and Website Development by TIS