May 24, Lhuentse: The making of traditional pottery is almost an extinct practice in the country. But in Gangjur, it still thrives serving as an alternative source of income for three people working at the Traditional Pottery Centre of Gangjur.
One of them is a 60 years old Karchung. He along with two others, a 62 year old Tshewang Choden and a 50 years old Zangmo are keeping the age old tradition still alive.
The two women are the ones who have mastered the art of pot making with the help of a thatched wooden board. While Karchung helps them with the collection of clay, kneading and beating it into soft dough that takes more hard work and time. Once the pots are designed they are left to dry for a week. They are then put in a fire to make them firm and durable.
In a day, they make around 50 pots of various designs based on which the price ranges from Nu. 200 to Nu. 800/- each. The earthen pots such as ‘Pheng’ are mostly used for cooking while ‘Wokpheng’ is used for brewing local liquor.
According to Karchung, they do pottery when they have no work in the field. He added that there is no dearth of raw materials as is the case in other traditional arts and crafts. The red and white soils used for pottery is easily available next to the centre.
Till date, they have not faced any marketing issues for their pots. They are easily sold to the locals and to visitors from outside Gangjur. They also supplied to Thimphu and other places when orders were placed. ‘People visiting them have always appreciated their hard work which is motivating for them’, shared Karchung. He earns an income of around Nu. 1,00,000/- annually, good enough to buy households items and pay for education for the kids.
The centre was constructed with funds from Tarayana Foundation some five years ago.
Meanwhile, the crop season is in full swing at the moment. Karchung and his team are free from pottery works. They are all engaged in the field ploughing and transplanting the paddy which is their main crop.
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