Clay pots help preserve an age-old tradition in this Albay town

By Nikka Garriga

TIWI, ALBAY – The art of pottery is a long-standing tradition in the quaint town of Tiwi, and is a skill considered to have been passed on from time immemorial.

This is due primarily to its abundant supply of clay and feldspar materials sourced from different barrios and sitios, such as in Bolo and Putsan.

Over the years, modern pottery and ceramic-making techniques have been introduced in Tiwi, which consequently caused a decline in the traditional method of doing the craft.

Robert and Lui Cataneo first discovered about these earthen treasures during one of their visits to the village of Putsan.

“We learned that potters from Putsan make the lamps molded from red clay and that they sell it in the town market to earn their keep,” Robert explains.

The couple eventually decided to include the red clay lamps to their business called All in Red Clay Factory, which focuses on products featuring the Filipinos’ unique craftsmanship.

Established in 2006, the company initially sold women’s fashion items, from accessories and ready-to-wear apparel.

“We included the red clay lamps into our merchandise in 2007. A year later, we decided to market them exclusively after the collection churned out more revenue for the company following the series of bazaars we joined during the holidays,” Robert adds.

They then worked with the Putsan potters to develop All in Red Clay’s first aroma electric oil burner, which was received well in the market for its affordability and eco-friendly use.

These traditional aromatherapy lamps are also used in major hotels in the country including the Mandarin Oriental, Manila Hotel and Sofitel among others.

All in Red Clay currently has around 11 seasoned local potters while new pot makers are being trained in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“While we strive to give you the highest quality of natural aromatherapy burners, we have also taken up the mission to build a strong community of potters and keep the age-old tradition of pottery alive,” Robert says.

A portion of the sales of every R&C lamps also go to the 214 school children of Putsan Elementary School.

Every product sold means new school supplies, uniforms and slippers to these students whose parents rely mostly on clay and pottery-making.

“We believe that they are the most appropriate beneficiaries as their parents themselves work hard on every piece of our authentic red clay lamps,” Robert explains.

Get more information on All in Red Clay (R&C)

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