In many creation myths from around the world, man was formed from clay. In the skilled hands of potters like Andy Benny, who operates Radika's Pottery Shop at Edinburgh Village in Chaguanas, Makh Ticklal, from Makh’s Pottery Shop, in Edinburgh, Chaguanas and Shiva Ragoonanan, from Ragoonan Pottery Shop, in Chase Village, Carapichaima, clay almost comes to life taking form and shape on the potter's wheel.
Ticklal, 33, is third generation while Ragoonan and Benny are fourth-generation kohars (Indian word for potter) in an unbroken line from the customs and traditions of their families from India.
Ticklal and Benny are first cousins, their deceased father, Jutram, and mother, Radika, respectively were siblings.
Chase Village in Chaguanas has been the traditional home and synonymous with pottery.
The entrance to Ticklal's pottery shop is lined with his handiwork, from clay pots, urns, jars and bowls, plants, incense holders, water fountains of every size and hundreds of deyas drying in the sun.
Speaking to Guardian Media while he worked at turning out kalsas on his potter's wheel, Ticklal said "I'm one of the few kohar remaining, our work is known around the world. Young people though, don't like this kind of hard work, I try my best to keep up the tradition on behalf of my mother and father, Prema and Jutram Ticklal, who passed, that’s their picture behind me on the wall.
"I remember helping out my mother and father from the very young age of six making deyas during Divali time and it was my father who taught me the techniques of the traditional kohar from India.
"My wife, Stacy, does the artwork, painting and decorating the finished pieces. I want to pass on the tradition to my son and daughter, but their education comes first."
Tourist destination, a favourite for school tours
He said Divali was the busiest season for him when his pottery shop churns out thousands of deyas.
Ticklal said besides the parai and deyas, he can make 100 kalsas a day.
He said while many people used the clay implements for prayers and tradition, he has adapted to the needs of some of his customers who want the modern wax deya for its convenience.
Ticklal said he makes and provides the traditional deya, wick, and oil, as well as the wax deya. He makes over 50 varieties of deyas.
He said his pottery shop was a tourist destination and a favourite for school tours also, the last school to visit was the California Esperanza Presbyterian Primary School.
Ticklal said there were challenges in sourcing wood to fire his kilns and the raw material clay.
He said if the sawmill had a slow period, his business was affected and he suggested that the Government provide potters with a parcel of land where they can mine the clay.
Shiva makes flower pots, goblets, urns, water jars, kalsas
It is easy to find Shiva Ragoonanan’s pottery shop on the Southern Main Road in Chase Village, Carapichaima, with the two chulha drying in the sun in front of his shop, besides the myriad clay pots, pitchers, and urns.
With the consummate ease borne out of 30 years of mastering his craft and art, the 42-year-old kohar creates in a few minutes a bowl, deya, candle holder and jar from the same clay.
Ragoonanan’s wife, Rehana, assists him with the decoration, the tradition was passed down by his mother, Patsy and father, Ramkissoon Ragoonanan, grandmother Hobraji and grandfather Ragoonanan Goolcharan and an unnamed great-grandfather.
He said he did not consider pottery hard, he enjoyed his job.
When Guardian Media visited his pottery shop he was making loban which Hindus use to smoke out their house and he can turn out 100 a day.
Ragoonanan said he also made flower pots, goblets, urns, water jars, and kalsas.
Andy willing to teach others outside the family of traditional kohars
Andy Benny, from Radika's Pottery Shop at Edinburgh Village in Chaguanas, said he was willing to teach anyone outside the family of traditional kohars.
He said as long as they had the skill and were willing to learn, it was a different time and the world would be poorer culturally if the art of pottery making was not passed on.