SETU-The Bridge to Artisans works with numerous traditional craft artisans who are into bell making and they are the sole source of livelihood for their generation in Kutch, Gujarat. They have been practicing this craft from ages and make beautiful bells that form an important role in SETU’s product line.
The traditional art of bell making involves curing of metallic bells under high temperature, for which they use small homemade ovens/chulahs, which generate lot of smoke and heat. It is a complex and difficult process of preparing the bells.
SETU had earlier conducted various experiments with local artisans and scientists from IIT Delhi in association with other NGO partner Khamir, developed suitable Kilns, to protect artisans’ from the fumes which is generated during the firing of bells.
SETU had successfully developed technically devised kilns and had installed a number of furnaces for the artisans for observation in the first phase. The kilns have been a huge success and are taken very positively by the artisans. Motivated with the positive feedback on kilns and on artisan demand, SETU is sponsoring 15 more furnaces for them as phase II of the project. The installation has already begun and will be completed by the end of this year. In phase III of project, 15 more kilns will be installed by the year 2016.
SETU explained that the Kilns are made up of fire bricks with chimney to expel heat. It is to be noted that bells are baked at temperatures higher to the extent of 1200 degrees. The furnaces also have a mechanically remote operated door. With the benefit of Kilns the productivity of artisans has increased as compare to the earlier results of 5-6 bells, now they can produce 15-20 bells a day. Kilns also keep the house clean from fumes and fuel consumption has reduced 20-25 percent.
In addition to sponsoring of the Kilns, SETU is planning to sponsor roofs (tin sheds) for the artisans working in open air. Also, we are providing metal cutting tools to the artisans over the traditional manual drudgery used for cutting metal sheets.