Bell making is an ancient Indian craft with enchanting origins.
By Matr Boomie and Fair Go Trading
Our bells are made by a Muslim community in the north-west of India, where both men and women are involved in creating the bells from recycled "lifeless" metal using craftsmanship passed down through generations.
Bells are traditionally used by farmers to identify their livestock. Due to consecutive droughts over the years, cattle breeders could no longer afford to buy bells on a regular basis and the art of traditional bell making was on the verge of being forgotten.
Nowadays, with the help of Fair Trade organisations like Matr Boomie and Fair Go Trading, hundreds of men and women are revitalising this art form. They are earning sustainable livelihoods by selling the bells internationally.
Fair Trade artisans from the desertous Kutch region - a district in the Indian State of Gujarat, manually cut and hammer the metal to hand-shape the bells, then coat them in powdered brass and copper before firing in kilns. Each rustic bell is then tuned to reveal a rich, resonate unique sound like no other bell.
Most artisans work from their homes on local or homemade furnaces. Through a partnership with Fair Go Trading and Matr Boomie, disadvantaged artisans have increased economic stability and an increased social standing.
Fair Trade at work.