Surwahi Social Kanha – Coliving in wilderness

Pottery making in surwahi

Creating a vessel from clay is an ancient art. It is a tradition that has been practiced since the ancient ages. Since the beginning, potters have dug raw earth and used it to create priceless pots and vessels that have withstood the test of time.

Pottery is made by molding clay into objects of the desired shape and heating them to high temperatures (600-1600 °C) in a bonfire or pit, which increases the strength and rigidity of the object. Each step in the overall process of pottery-making is an art in itself. The glazing process and firing techniques affect the finished piece as much as the throwing process. Pottery is purely utilitarian, but it can also be regarded as ceramic art. The place where such wares are made by a potter is also called a pottery.

Pottery making as a hobby/ an un-staged experiential activity

Sometimes it acts as a hobby for all ages, demographics, and trip purposes this is because it’s fun or a game for many tourists playing with muds. In comparison to the artificial clay dough which all urban toddlers have been growing up with, this clay dough is real. That is why the products they made are quite unique and natural. Thus, pottery making is a rooted, earthen, and engaging activity. And getting soaked in that clay adds to immunity for us as well. The activity creates worthy moments and memories to be cherished forever, and these memories tourists framed in photographs because it’s not always easy to find a spot or place where all these will be available. It is conducted at ease with guest convenience right at the Grand Mahua compound.

It connects with the community

Traditional local potters from the nearby village of Boda which is 8 km from Surwahi comes in to conduct the sessions. They are mavens I would say. By looking at their work people gets surprised how within a very short time they made it efficiently and effectively. They are much faster than a machine, the accuracy is tremendous. I would say this talent they earned during their birth, they simply ambidextrous. This village is a potters’ village where the entire community has been doing pottery for ages. That is why people believe that this skill they earned from god.

Creative corridor to conserve local art and skill

Some of the youngsters from the village are losing interest in this age-old skill. However, this way of tourism and hospitality can help in attracting and bringing outside guests to the local/ rural areas providing them with an opportunity to monetize and thus inspires them to continue with their art. This is advantageous for the entire potters’ community.

  • Constituents of pottery:
    • Sourcing and preparing the Clay
    • Centering the clay in the pottery wheel
    • Making Pots
    • Collecting firewood to bake the pots
    • Drying & Baking Pots (Red and Black)
    • Design skills – Giving various shapes to clay on the potters’ wheel, Finishing the clay vessels with art and design.
    • Making Gond art on Clay work

It’s a lot more science than just pure art – Potters Wheel & Science of Potters wheel (Angular Momentum, Centre of Mass, Rotational Dynamics, Flywheel fundamentals, Friction, etc.)

A utility or souvenir of a generation’s work

Pottery items generated to act as memorabilia to take away even if half-baked or sun-dried. The process is quite unique and fascinating, especially for the tourist. For some it became a photography spot, few were even spending most of their time in pottery making. Also, SSK utilizes them as of now for their own use being on a small scale. In the future, the plan is to conduct exhibitions for the pottery work, scale it up by conducting potter’s home tours to Boda and nearby areas. Also, there are plans to have a local haat set up within the premises of SSK.

Experience with SSK

Playing with mud is a game for many people but people who reside in Surwahi and nearby villages are the best players in this game and in pottery making. Pottery making is an art and to be good in it we need to train ourselves, we need to learn and the people residing in these village knows it very well. They play with mud with their bare hands, and automatically a beautiful formation takes place. People who reside in urban areas might not be familiar with pottery making and most of them using pots for decoration. The process of making a pot is quite different and very attractive, I would suggest seeing pottery making live at least once in a lifetime.

Villagers are very good at pottery making as for some of them it is the way of their survival. Now they are making it on the scale and their scales get increased with time, they can work like a machine which implies that they are enjoying it and they are naturally ambidextrous. For some families, it is a family tradition. They even supply it to the nearest town in large numbers. The best part is that most of the children except a few love potteries making while carrying on their studies. Sometimes we observe the children when they come back home after school, they do it voluntarily as if it is their hobby. Tourists really enjoy a lot by watching pottery-making. Most of the hotels and homestays nearby Surwahi are using their beautiful creations to decorate and as well to use them for different purposes.

            Tourists really enjoy it a lot because for some of them it’s a totally new experience. For some, it’s entertainment and for some, it is learning. The best part is that the tourists love to communicate with the pottery maker and they are also very humble towards the guests. There are a lot of other things present as well which fascinates the tourists. For the villagers, cultivation of crops, pottery making, etc. are an integral part of their life and they believe that it’s their duty to conserve the surrounding forest and its flora and fauna. Villagers are very much humble towards the tourists. The kind of hospitality they show towards guests I would say is unconditional hospitality. They believe in the mantra of “Atithi Devo Bhava”. They also believe that God resides in all living species. So, they worship all living creatures present around Surwahi.