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women learning to make jewellery out of terracotta clay

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With dwindling sales of earthen pots, women hailing from families of potters in Perambalur are learning to make jewellery out of terracotta clay.

Women from Palayam village in Perambalur district came together for a week from August 1 to August 8 to learn to make earrings and necklaces of varied designs using terracotta clay. The clay, which can be sourced locally, could be an alternative source of income as the sale of earthen pots has been going down, they say. Refined terracotta clay is also available for sale at ₹ 100 a kg, with which at least 30 sets of earrings and necklaces can be made.

B. Santhanalakshmi, one of the 20 women who attended the classes said that the workshop would help raise their family income. “We usually take clay and make earthen lamps to sell along with the pots but these jewels sets, painted beautifully are interesting to make and will also bring profit,” she said.

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The initiative, organised by the Mahalir Thittam, seeks to mobilise these women into making jewels, modern earthenware and other decorative items made of terracotta, said S. Devanathan, Project Officer, Mahalir Thittam. “The plan is to help the women make these products, market them themselves and rake in the earnings. We plan to set up an online store and might also set up kiosks to sell these products once the sales pick up,” Mr. Devanathan said.

Hema Krishnamoorthy, an entrepreneur and skill trainer from Tiruchi, who conducted the workshop provided the women with necessary inputs. “The government has paved a path for these women. Now, all they have to do is practice, learn and promote it. Once the women start making and selling them, they can also begin setting up showcases and stalls,” Ms. Krishnamoorthy said.

Terracotta jewellery is a fashion statement now and can fetch good price, Ms. Krishnamoorthy said: “The advantage is that the artisan can fix the price of this one-of-a-kind jewellery and buyers who appreciate the art will surely buy it.”

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