A citizen-sponsored project involving 3 enterprising ladies.
One of our remotely located volunteers was approached by one lady who made clay crafts. The samples she had brought along were small clay beaded chains, souvenirs, idols and festival masks. The items were made using natural red clay, diluted with sand, and filled into store-bought, mass produced molds. Some of the items were painted using an oil-based paint. She explained that her products were mostly sold for under Rs 200 a piece during festival time in Jaffna.
At Isle of ARTisans we began making plans to supply her with better tools and materials, access to a kiln, and handmade molds with new designs. Unknown to us, on receiving casual feedback on the products and the quality of the clay and paints, she had gone back to create a completely new product. She resurfaced with a hand-crafted natural clay brooch, using undiluted natural clay and a kiln. She had kept the new design un-painted and after just a few days sitting at our store, we had retailers interested in placing orders with her.
Aside from sourcing the materials needed, and finding a functioning kiln at a government run facility, she returned after forming a group of 3 artisans including herself and Jayanthi*. Jayanthi is a pottery teacher employed by the Department of Industries. Being bi-lingual and contactable via mobile applications, making working remotely accessible to the group, she quickly became our contact point, translator, and coordinator for products and designs.
The group is eager to be creating a range of new products with a wider market appeal, and their initial focus has been to continue designing a range of modern natural-clay jewellery with the potential of expanding on to larger items as part of a bigger project. Isle of ARTisans will create a collection of clay items with a distinct style with each of the students in the group to ensure each has an independent creative identity, and source of income. The clay used in all products is of a higher integrity, and we will be diversifying the materials once designs and production have been stream lined. Additionally, Isle of ARTisans will connect the group with buyers who will place regular orders for their products, and facilitate the selling of their products at stores and artisan markets in Sri Lanka. The initial collection of clay jewellery featured in our store has been popular, and we are therefore optimistic about the success of the group, and product designs.
This group is sponsored by a private Sri Lankan citizen.
Contact us to sponsor an artisan and support the work we do.
*names changed to protect privacy