Twante pottery area, southern Myanmar

I visited Twante first in 2016, and again in 2018. This area was devastated ted by Cyclone Nargis and many kilns were destroyed and livelihoods in the pottery industry here vanished overnight. And of course, the cyclone impacted every aspect was of life.

Afterwards, the Myanmar Ceramic Society, under the leadership of Dr Myo Thant Tin, created a ceramics centre here to support the potters and help revive some of the ancient traditions in stoneware with celadon and other ash glazes. Some of the potters were commissioned to make water filters after Cyclone Nargis, using some new techniques and materials (more on this later).

Since then, the number of working potteries has declined, and only a few families continue to make their traditional range of pots, fired in large kilns and shifted to nearby Yangon. The market for some of their wares is declining as plastic bottles take over from the traditional ceramic water pot.

Dr Myo Thant Tin, with Ilona Van De Braak, have recently achieved a grant through the Australian Embassy in Myanmar to undertake a project designed to enable the potters to develop new products as well as sustaining their traditional ceramics – it is hoped that together these two elements can help build sustainable livelihoods in the pottery industry at Twante.