Maham’s ongoing Craft Revival project in Sri Lanka provides local potters with access to a modern ceramics factory, allowing them to develop artisanal products fit for European export.
Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, Maham discovered that local potters faced a number of issues: in the local market they were being undercut by mass-produced ceramics and plastics, while opportunities for international export were limited by their equipment. The focus fell on developing craft ceramics for the international market; those that would be appreciated for the handmade character of the work.
The facilities of the factory allows the potters to achieve this aim. Here, they can glaze, package and ship their goods, while the facilities also allow them to fire the ceramics to a higher temperature. Besides that, the creation methods — e.g. throwing on the wheel, beating — remain the same.
The project has lead to many improvements for the potters and their families. The introduction of fair pay has ensured they get paid 30% more for their work, improving their standard of living as a result. One potter has been able to buy a sewing machine to take on extra work at night. Further positive impacts include the empowerment of female potters and improvement of health and safety standards.
So far orders have been taken from Jamie Oliver at Home, David Mellor, Habitat, Cinnamon Club, making a positive difference to the lives of nine potters and their families.