In Karnataka, a southern state of India, young artisans are crafting the future of environmental and social tableware. Using earth clay and natural minerals, local artisans are shaping earth into stoneware to last for hundreds of years to come. They seek to change the unequal work field by providing work opportunities to local artisans while using materials from the earth in the utmost respectable way for the environment.
In India, it is often the marginalized people who are engaged in craftsmanship. Too often they earn barely enough to get by. Getting white-collar jobs through academic schooling is a focus for most, and by many, seen as the only way of getting out of the low-income groups, earning both respect and a stable livelihood. The ceramic unit seeks to change this by creating high-quality stoneware products for the modern market, using traditional artisan knowledge, and employing local artisans. This way artisans can achieve a fair salary and gain the respect their craftsmanship deserves.
The unit also seeks to provide training and labor opportunities to youth who wish to work as artisans. By creating beautiful modern ceramic products young people who are not inclined towards the academic routh but have a strong interest and ability within craftsmanship can achieve a decent salary and respect for their skill while keeping the artisan traditions alive.
Natural and earth-friendly clay and glazes | Highly durable | Restaurant food-safe (high-temperature burning) | Non-toxic (no lead, caladium, or other heavy metals) | Aesthetic natural look | Handmade in India by young artisans
Earth soil turned into clay and natural mineral glazes are the two main components in stoneware ceramic products. These are sourced from within India itself. The young artisans are highly focused on using only natural, safe, and earth-friendly raw materials. Only non-toxic clay and glazes are used. Free from lead, tin, borax, and cadmium. And to be completely sure, all products intended to be in contact with food are professionally tested by our testing partners.
The clay and glazes are mixed in-house by the artisans at the facility set up with attention to workers' safety and low energy use
First, the pots are shaped by hand and wheeled into the desired shape, be it a bowl, plate etc. Next, the product is heated to a high temperature in the electric kiln. A modern electric kiln is used to preserve the heat better (reducing energy) and reduce breakage. First, the ceramics are burnt at 900 degrees Celsius, after which it's glazed, and ultimately burnt to 1240 degrees. This creates what is called stoneware - ceramics that are waterproof, food-safe and that can last for centuries.
Krishan is 23 years old (2021) and lives in the local area close to ceramic production. He underwent a training program supported by the ceramic master and was later employed. Now he works full time and has been there for 2.5 years. His favourite task is wheel throwing and he is constantly learning new skills.
The products are made using earth soil and natural materials, which require little energy to extract and has minimal impact on the environment. Thanks to the use of a modern electric kiln relatively less energy are used, and breakage is minimized creating a more energy-effective ceramic firing process. Regardless, creating stoneware does require substantial use of energy, but in return, the stoneware can last for centuries and is free from toxins affecting the environment or our health. Since stoneware is earth soil and minerals turned into stone it can safely be crumpled back into sand and be recycled.
UN Sustainable Development Goal
By using natural materials to create stoneware and the production process requiring extremely less amounts of energy, this project contributes to Goal 12; "ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns"
The work done here by these two young artisans emphasizes employing and empowering local artisans by focusing on creating job opportunities. The youth are especially empowered by the provision of a different work field than that of a theoretical scholar's path, contributing to creating a more equal work field for all, irrespective of the career path.
UN Sustainable Development Goal
By contributing to providing livelihoods to local artisans and increasing their job prospects, this project contributes to target 8.5; "achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value"
By helping create a wider window of job opportunities for youth, also outside of the theoretical schooling path, this project contributes to target 8.6; "substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training"
Livelihoods impacted: 7 young artisans