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A design proposal for a Terracotta Crafts Centre at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh



Design Report commissioned by District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Chittoor, A.P. June 2005

Kiran KeswaniBangalore, INDIA



Part I

Developing a Terracotta Crafts ClusterIntroduction The Creative Process Existing work environment KVIC Technology transfer centre Artisans Training Other Pottery units Gantavur village statistical information

Part II

Architectural DesignSite study Analysis of the location Recommendations from the Potters Architecture in the region Craft centers in India Concept design


Part IDeveloping the Terracotta Crafts clusterIntroduction The Creative Process Existing work environment KVIC Technology transfer centre Artisans Training Other Pottery units Gantavur village statistical information

IntroductionThe District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) proposes to develop a Terracotta Crafts Centre at Gantavur village in Palamaner mandal, in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. This Crafts cluster will be located on the Bangalore-Chennai highway NH-4 on a 3.5 acre plot. Over the last 15 years, potters have moved to this area and today there are about 20 small open-air outlets alongside the highway, where 40 artisans display their work. The DRDA realised the need to develop an area where the potter community would live and work and also exhibit and market their crafts. The Mandal Revenue office (MRO) has granted a piece of land to the DRDA to house the potter community. It is proposed that a Terracotta crafts cluster be created which will benefit these 40 artisan families. The origin of this enterprise along the national highway lies in the coming of K.Allappa from his village in Madanapalle to look for a more lucrative marketing outlet. He found that he could start selling along the highway and learnt through relatives living in the area that the mud was suitable for pottery work. At present, there exists already a KVIC Technology Transfer centre at this site. This centre was set up a year and a half ago. One year ago, the machines were installed which include a Pugmill, a Ballmill, a Gas kiln and a Spray painting machine.


The Creative Process

K.Allappa at work


a deepam stand


magic lamp


the bells for a chime

Nanjappa making the chimes


a candle stand


Existing work environment

The Potters use two kinds of mud mixed together to make their products. Black mud is brought from Malerucheruvu, which is on the way to Poonur Road and is about 4 km away from the existing KVIC centre. It is purchased at Rs.300 /truckload. The Red mud is brought from Madanapalle Cheruvu or Agaralakunta cheruvu, which is 1 km away. It is picked up at Rs.150 / truckload. The above photographs show potters at work just outside their homes which are a few hundred yards away from the KVIC centre. These houses are part of a colony which has formed with potters gradually moving into this region.

KVIC Technology Transfer Centre

The present KVIC centre consists of an AC sheet roof over brick walls. It has a few windows to let in the natural light and ventilation, and a cement floor. There is a rolling shutter along the long side of the wall which is kept open during the day. The potters say they will prefer a workshed model based on this existing KVIC centre building.

Artisans Training

The potters create and modify the craft products as they perceive a demand for a particular kind of object. Today, many of the products are painted after they have been made on the wheel, because customers seem to show a preference for painted objects rather than the natural terracotta ones. However, it is only a particular middle-income group customer base that prefers this aesthetic. It does not appeal to the highend customer who prefers to buy the natural look terracotta object. The artisans may therefore need training for products that will also sell in the high-end market in chennai and bangalore and that can also be exported.


Past Training Programs

1. K.Allappa trained under Ramaiah when the DRDA center at Gantevaripalle offered an 8 month training program in terracotta craft-making. 2. From 24 Feb to 10 March 2005, a workshop was organised by the National Institute of Fashion technology (NIFT), Hyderabad. It was sponsored by the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts. There were 13 members of the potters community who participated and the stipend offered was Rs.150/day

Future Training Possibilities Kumbham, Kerala

Aruvacode is a small village near Nilambur in North Kerala which has been famous for its potters. With the influx of cheap industrial substitutes, these villagers had all but lost their traditional skills, when a small movement led by designer K.B. Jinan, rekindled their hope. Together, they explored the possibilities of terra-cotta suited for the modern context and Kumbham was born. Today Kumbham is hailed as a rare instance of a traditional artisan community rehabilitating itself through the very craft they have been alienated from. (ref : www.kumbham.org)

Sri Lakshmi Prassanna Pot-making industry Mallolagadda, Angallur Madanapalli Taluk Chittoor Dt., A.P.


(Rishi valley school)

Vikram Parchauri conducted a training program in 1997 which was attended by some of the potters from Palmaner Potters wheel - Mr.Titus is their main artisan-in-charge and can be requested to conduct a training program.

Activities that will lend support to the Terracotta program 1. Study of the existing livelihood scenarios and resource use patterns in PalamanerThe output of this study would help in making appropriate interventions to strengthen the livelihoods and address the gaps in the value chains.

2. Awareness workshop for potters 3. Exposure visit for selected members of the SHGs to craft villages in Kerala/Goa 4. Interventions in livelihoodsDifferent professional organisations in credit, microfinance, marketing, design, etc. would coordinate their interventions based on the study results

5. Microenterprise management training including tourism-related training/capacity enhancement of the Potters 6. Artisan Credit cards 7. Loans/Bank linkages 8. Publicity kiosk locations to be planned and informative material to be prepared about the artisansDistribution nodes will be Tirupati, Chittoor,Vellore & Bangalore

9. Planning of Health Insurance or Lifetime insurance for all the potters Management of the Terracotta Crafts Centre DRDA is in the process of forming a society/apex body from amongst the artisan community. The land will be transferred to the artisans and the Centre will be managed by this apex body. There are at present, four Self-


help groups (SHGs) formed within the potters community. Each SHG comprises of 12 members, of which 2 members are leaders of the group.

Other Pottery unitsPotters wheel

This is an organisation that was started by the Hartzells in Madanapalle to bring about economic upliftment of a potters community. Joan and her husband were both doctors. Joan is a physiotherapist and her husband was an orthopaedic surgeon. They first came to India in 1973 and worked in Kerala. In the 80s, they were asked for help by the potters. This was a role they had never envisaged for themselves. However, when they received repeated requests, they decided to help the community. That was the beginning of Potters Wheel in Karnataka. They realised later that it was quite expensive to live and work where they were, close to Bangalore. So, they decided to move to Chittoor district and to Madanapalle which was known for its terrracotta work. What Joan finds fascinating is that all the different terracotta workers from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and of course, Andhra, all speak Telugu. This American couple are from Seattle, Washington and decided to seek a market there for the terracotta products that their community produced. Locally, within the Chittoor region, competition was high. However, the export market demanded a higher quality product. Gradually, the skill of the artisans improved. The chief artisan is Titus who has been with the organisation from the beginning and who has trained the others. There are a total of 13 potters who live here with their wives and children. The factory has a kiln that fires articles at a temperature of 850 degrees celcius. This ensures good quality of the products and breakage is reduced. However, when breakage does occur, the broken terracotta pieces are powdered and this powder is again mixed with the clay. One of the disadvantages at Palamaner are the frequent power cuts.Pottery unit adjacent to KVIC centre

There is a pottery unit right next to the KVIC centre which is managed by a lawyer who is planning to bring together a few potters under his unit and to collectively market their products.

Gantavur village - Statistical information a. Commencement year of Gram Panchayat b. No. of hamlets c. Extent of village/town d. Population (Men, women, SC,ST,BC,OC) e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l. m. n. o. p. q. r. Population density Total No. of house Potters houses No. of roads Drinking water supply units Agriculture land Annual income of Gram Panchayat Main occupation School Hospitals Youth organizations No. of banks Lakes and canals Temples


21.12.1943 14 466.44 Acres/Cents Total Men Women SC ST 44236 21844 22392 4138 756 2501 9274 39 78 16 3178.71 Acres/Cents 2004-2005 Rs.90.85.739/Cultivation 25 1 10 5 Koundinya river -1 6


Part IIArchitectural Design of the CenterSite study Analysis of the location Recommendations from the Potters Architecture of the region Craft centers in India Design Brief Con