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India handmade ceramic crafts emphasized

India artisans showcase their expertise in small decorative pieces and gift items.

India's ceramic and porcelain crafts industry is leveraging local artisans' strength in handwork and custom design to boost the line. Suppliers are confident this core advantage will sustain the sector amid the rise of machine-made models, including table- and kitchenware, and large items from China. They are directing R&D efforts toward intricate handicrafts and quality designs.

Round vase
This round vase from Shristi bears a narrow mouth.

The limited output of craftsmen, each finishing only up to 100 pieces in a day, adds to the perceived product value. Unlike a number of international manufacturers with sizable factories, several India companies' artists stay in their own ateliers.

Kuprkabi Ceramic Design Studio, for instance, subcontracts pottery to 110 skilled women who work from home. The maker specializes in OEM ceramic and terra cotta models such as gift items, home decor, tabletop accessories, mugs and lamps. It adopts new themes each season based on the latest trends.

The supplier will export to Europe and the US soon, having received inquiries from these markets and Russia, proprietor Vanmala Jain said.

Shristi Pottery likewise accepts buyers' specifications for glazed and lead-free planters, pots, sculpture, oil diffusers, lamps and ashtrays in geometrical designs and leaf motifs. The company ships to Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South America. The manufacturer intends to perform engobes and printing in coming months.

A number of suppliers apply surface treatment manually as well. One example is Chhatwal Ceramic Industry, which offers handpainted mugs, pots, beads and kitchenware. The maker exports oil lamps, and incense stick and candle holders to Sri Lanka. It plans to extend market reach to other locations.

In addition to artisanship, manufacturers are enhancing visual appeal through the use of various materials in ornamentation. They find clay's decorative possibilities limiting at times, and its durability not satisfactory for certain applications.

In this regard, more makers are utilizing metal wires, leather and wood to create intricate designs. Themes are typically representative of the country, highlighting nature and ancient architecture.

Terra cotta flowerpot holders, wall murals, jewelry and small decorative pieces with metal and plastic adornments are the best-sellers.

The use of other materials is not purely for aesthetic purposes. Some models have layers made of ceramic and either steel or plastic for increased durability and functionality.

In aromatherapy and cooking pots, for instance, metal is employed to enable thermal transfer in the core, while ceramic covers the whole product to distribute heat evenly.

India thrives in handcrafted options, and is in fact the third-largest hub for ceramic and porcelain crafts, said Madhulika Dangwal, CEO of Shristi. The top two are Thailand and China. The latter location leads in machine-made versions.

India's domestic market, which performed well in 2010, allows more room for price adjustments. This is because of a national preference for custom designs, as it is one of the places where pottery was first practiced.

Ceramic & porcelain crafts selection
Product gallery

Ceramic & porcelain crafts selection

India suppliers offer small gift items, kitchenware, decorative pieces, murals, mugs, pots, table lamps, garden ornaments, planters, flower vases, and candle, incense stick and pot holders.

Most models are manually made, with functional porcelain, bone china, and stone- and earthenware ceramic crafts the best-sellers. Small bone china articles such as decorative items and laboratory tools have been receiving increased attention in recent months.

Low-end pieces consist of gifts and unusual items. Examples are beads, ashtrays, candle and incense stick holders, oil diffusers, refrigerator magnets, miniature bells and tabletop accessories. Prices are from $0.50 to $9.

Midrange versions go for $10 to $20. These are mostly flowerpot racks, window boxes, plant stands and vases. The category also covers typical kitchenware such as mugs, bowls, pots, tabletop accessories, storage containers and plates.

Large decorative pieces, including designer earthenware vessels, for indoor and garden use belong to the upscale segment. The selection consists of sizable floor ornaments such as wide jars, tall vases and fancy pots. The products are quoted between $21 and $50.

Rates for ceramic, porcelain and stoneware items increased by 25 to 35 percent last year. Suppliers take movements in oil and labor costs into consideration when calculating price forecasts. Chhatwal, in particular, hopes figures will remain stable throughout 2011, although an upward adjustment of 5 to 10 percent may be experienced.

Related articles:
Ceramic crafts: Markup in ceramicware prices looms despite risk to growth
Ceramic crafts: Mixed processes expand line
Ceramic crafts: Aesthetics, alternative markets boost exports

Ceramic oil lamp
Product gallery

Chhatwal Ceramic Industry

Model: Temple Trees Oil Lamp
MOQ: 500 pieces
Delivery: 20 days
Price: $0.80
Description: Ceramic oil lamp; handapplied accents; 4in

Ceramic incense stick holder

Chhatwal Ceramic Industry

Model: Incense Stick Holder
MOQ: 500 pieces
Delivery: 20 days
Price: $0.80
Description: Ceramic incense stick holder; handapplied accents; 4in

Flower Holder

Chhatwal Ceramic Industry

Model: Flower Holder
MOQ: 500 pieces
Delivery: 20 days
Price: $0.80
Description: Flower design; handmade; 4in

Miniature Fridge Magnet

Kuprkabi Ceramic Design Studio

Model: Miniature Fridge Magnet
MOQ: 50 pieces
Delivery: 25 days
Price: $3
Description: Handmade refrigerator magnet; slipper design; 2in each; in pairs

Incense Stick Holder

Kuprkabi Ceramic Design Studio

Model: Incense Stick Holder
MOQ: 50 days
Delivery: 25 days
Price: $3
Description: Stoneware handicraft; leaf-shaped incense stick holder

Round ceramic vase

Shristi Pottery

Model: Pot
Description: Round ceramic vase; wide body with narrow mouth

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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