In India, back in the day, clay pitchers were found in every kitchen for varied purposes—right from storing water to cooking. Clay is natural, purifying, soothing and cleansing, and our ancestors knew that its place in health and beauty routines was well-deserved.
While this tradition eventually faded because of the inconvenient designs and lack of functionality, in the last five years, many Indian designers have stepped up to reverse the scenario and create user-friendly clay water bottles, cups and more.
Wallistry, a brand based in Tamil Nadu, is among that lot.
Founded by architects Anjanakshi Bhaskeren and Soundaryan Umapathy in March 2017, the brand aims to break the monotonous designs found in clay.
“We’ve always known clay in the form of cooking pots and diyas. When we started Wallistry, we wanted to create something that was sustainable and utilitarian. That’s when we thought of clay water bottles,” explains Anjanakshi Bhaskeren.
“The porous nature of clay also gives us cool water and provides the healing feature of the earth. Its ability to cool water according to the climate is a quality you cannot find in any other material. It also fit our designs and its raw texture gave it the natural look we were looking for,” says Soundaryan.
The first step for them was to reach out to local artisans and make them understand what we had in mind. They visited places like VV Puram and Puthukotai in the interiors of Tamil Nadu to find artisans that were skilled in the art of moulding clay.
“We didn’t want to impose our designs on any of the artisans, so we made sure to ask their suggestions on the designs as well. There are two ways to do clay pottery, Handthrown and Slipcasting, and after many discussions, we opted for the former,” mentions Anjanakshi.
While slipcasting only requires a mould, hand-thrown pottery needs the energy and craftsmanship of the artisans.
“We’ve opted to go with hand-thrown pottery because it brings more value to the product and provides local artisans with a platform to revive their skills,” she adds.
Through the brand, they also aim to give the customers an all-round interaction with the products, which is why they’ve included its entire story in the packaging.
“For us, it’s not just about sales, we also want to encourage our customers to take on a sustainable journey through our products,” she mentions.
“People have slowly started understanding the need to switch to a sustainable lifestyle, they’ve understood its value as well as the health benefits and with products like clay bottles you can make it part of your everyday life,” she adds.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)