"Maati kudam kare ni yaar, waah waah maati de gulsaar
maati koda maati joda, maati maati das vaar
maati maati nu dorave, maati maati da chankar."
-Baba Bulle Shah
Maati, a project of Gramastha, based from the town of Bhavnagar, is a range of handcrafted terracotta materials. The range has been built on the principles of going back to the indigenous ways of living while creating livelihood opportunities to the artisans of Bhavnagar.
For this project, Gramastha collaborated with Antarang-Is a brain child of Bhagyashree. Antarang works on reviving the traditional Kutch pottery and painting. It emphasizes on developing the utility product range and creating awareness of the benefits of terracotta products. While at it, Antarang empowers the potter’s families who have and who are on verge of shifting their jobs because of less demand of their craft.
Kutch painting is usually done by the women of the Potter's family of Kutch and Sindh region. It is also known as the process of 'Chitrakari'. Presently Kutchi Painting is highly practiced in Khavda and Lodai region of Kutch. For Utility products, paintings are done with natural colours and then baked. And For decorative products paintings are done after baking.
The baking style of Kutch potters is also quite unique. The tools used for painting are simple bamboo sticks. It is modified in different ways to use it for painting different elements. In ancient times, the kutch paintings were only done by organic and natural colours but with the passage of time the synthetic colour has taken the place. Gramastha is aiming to bring solutions for the potters livelihood by creating a demand of organically dyed natural products among the Indian consumers.
Project Maati is based on the thought of the utopian world where every product visible to the human eye exists in its purest form without any sort of adulteration. That applies to a core urban environment as well, where a person can still feel connected to nature with the things around him and take pride in supporting an ecosystem that’s meant to thrive. And what’s purer than clay, a material with which every object, plants, animals and of course, us, came into beings.
The journey towards setting up and maintaining a sustainable enterprise, and an ecosystem that benefits society and the environment while trying to uplift the value of Indian handicrafts, has not been a simple process. But, regardless of that, Project Maati has carved a niche for itself. Maati adheres to the value of being responsible in manufacturing, and channels the renewable resources provided by the environment, while giving women potters of the region sustenance and confidence to take pride in their work.