By Martha Louis – EMTV News, Madang
Twenty years ago, Bilbil village in Madang District went into pottery production as a way of engaging in small to medium enterprise to earn revenue. The group mostly consisting of women have used their skills to turn the practice into a commercial trade. The clay pots are mostly sold to international tourists. During the mini-cultural show last Friday (June 8) in Madang, the Bilbil Women’s Pottery Production Association displayed their pots to the APEC Senior Finance officials.
In Papua New Guinea, most people acquire the practice of making clay pots through the information passed down from generations. For Bilbil village, an island located offshore of Madang town, clay pots are a very significant part of their life. It was used for trade during the days of barter system.
There are six stages involved in making clay pots depending on the size of the pot. They make their pots using traditional methods.
The first part involves mixing clay with sand and mixing with water again. Then they shape the mouth of the pot and leave it for a few days to dry before hollowing out the inside of the pot and then it is left to dry before the smoothing stage. The pots are heated up over a fire and left for two days before being heated up again and ready for use. The clay pots come in different sizes with prizes ranging from as low as K15 to K80.
The local people of Bilbil village depend mostly on the sale of their clay pots to make ends meet. The business is thriving in the tourism sector especially for Madang and for Bilbil it is something they are passionate about to expand into to reach the wider market outside of PNG. The Bilbil people also made an informal presentation to the chairperson of the APEC Senior Finance Officials Meeting held last Friday.