Watching Santa Kumar Prajapati behind a potter’s wheel, effortlessly moulding a lump of clay into a perfect bowl, one can immediately tell the skill runs deep in his blood.
Santa, owner of Thimi Ceramics, began learning pottery at the age of eight. Today, the 50-year-old is proud that not only has he continued his family’s ancestral vocation, he has taken it further by introducing the art of ceramic glazing to a wider community.
In 2000, after visiting the US and discovering various pottery techniques, Santa returned fuelled with a passion to take traditional Nepalese ceramics to new heights. He secured a grant that allowed him to design and build his own high-temperature kilns and start practising ceramic glazing. Within four years, he had mastered the technique of producing stoneware, which requires high-temperature firing at 1,250 degrees Celsius. This high-quality durable ceramic was soon adopted by reputable hotels and restaurants across Nepal.
“Pottery and working with clay is what my family has done for centuries. It’s our identity”
Fast forward over 15 years and Thimi Ceramics now produces tableware and home décor pieces for clients from China to Canada. However, the affable potter remains down-to-earth and says he is happy to train anyone who is keen to learn, to ensure this art lives on.
1. 4 days
The time it takes for baked ceramics to cool before they can be taken out of the kiln
2. 15 countries
The number of places that Thimi Ceramics exports their ceramics to
The amount of locally sourced clay the brand uses every day
4. 40,000 pieces
The largest order they’ve received to date, from an Italian client which took 8 months to fulfil
The number of bowls Prajapti can make in one working day
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This article was originally published in the April 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine