Bali Craft , Art, Silver Jewelry, Wholesale Gifts and Insider News from Bali

For all the information I can give you on Art, Bali Crafts, Wholesale Gifts and Life in Ubud, Bali this is the place.

Life is pretty hectic here so I can't promise daily updates but I do promise that when ever something of interest happens you will be the first to know.

Mar 24, 2009

A Bali Gift - Art Galleries and Crafts

Bali Craft. Gift Galleries Wholesale Silver jewelry, photo albums, virgin coconut oil, art and batik. Find out the secrets of Bali craft , and best Gift Supplier here!

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Mar 24, 2009

Source Wholesale Silver Carved Bone Jewelry

Wholesale purchasers can order Bali wholesale silver and carved bone jewelry and craft direct from our shop.

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Jul 02, 2008

Gardening Tips in Bali!

Only the freshest and tastiet of papayas will please me. I know - I am very fussy. I think it is because I was born in a tropical place and knew the taste of the best fruit since I was a child.

In Bali these days growers and middle men are using chemicals to get the produce to the market with a long shelf life.

But I am rebelling. I have picked out a nice sunny corner of the garden here in Andong to put in my own little papaya plantation.

After the selection of a site, we had to locate the tools. It turned out that we didn't have any!

The girls muttered amongst themselves about 'tagen' or cockfights. "What are you talking about?" I asked them.

It turns out that most of the hoe and shovel suppliers operate near the cockfight grounds. That is where the men are who mostly buy them and after a win they don't care what price they pay, I was told.

Of course there aren't supposed to be any cockfights at all. But where there is a way, there is a will - or is it the other way round?

Roll on the election for the new governer of Bali next week! Almost all the women I know are planning to vote for the man (Made Pastika) whose election promise is to outlaw cockfights in Bali.

Stay tuned for an update there!

Jun 17, 2008

Obama and his wife use Bali as their retreat too.

I was fascinated to read that Obama and his wife spent a year or two in Bali when he was writing his first book and apparently he worked on the second one as well here.

I try to imagine where they might have stayed taking into acount that it was a sojourn of a year or more.

Seminyak? Possible but I doubt it. After all this was many years ago in the early 90's and therefore long before Seminyak became the Yak and fashionable.

Kuta, nah! No time for writing if you lived in Kuta at that stage. It would have been all partying and surfing.

Sanur - very staid but possible. Safe and predictable Sanur. No big waves here and the parties were mostly very respectable, they say. Leaving out the art fraternity here.

My favourite place to put them is the ridge at Sayan. That was the scene in those days for the cognescenti. Writers, architects, top level artists and musicians and the inherited wealthy all aspired to houses there.

But once they had them it was terribly dull to live in them all year round so they could be persuaded to lease them profitably on a yearly basis.

That is where I can picture the possible next US president beginning work on his ambitious journey.

The thing I wonder though is how much Indonesian he remembered from his time as a child in Jakarta, near Jalan Jaksa in Menteng.

Mind you, that was a very different language, colloquial Jakarta slang, to the lazy and more casual Indonesian of the mostly farm folk of Sayan.

We hope he will come back some day but this time he would be far more likely to be sequestered at Nusa Dua. Boring, boring, boring!!!

Jun 14, 2008

Baliblog is only the tip of the iceberg. Blogging is a very popular activity!

Blogging is a very popular activity all over the world but it seems peculiarly popular in Bali!

If you do a search on the net the search engines will come up with thousands of them, not surprising for a large city perhaps, think New York, London, Sydney.

But Bali is a very small island and most of the blogs are in English or other European languages. Now we are looking mostly at the western population of Bali and of course its visitors.

Really interesting that Bali inspires so much writing but hardly surprising. It is such an energetically charged environment and there are many westerners searching to make a living there so that their stay can be extended.

Baliblog is the most obvious of the commercial blogs and is quite impressive in its scope. It cleverly includes links to everything Balinese and must make an impressive income for its writer.

Something with a bit more depth would be a welcome addition but frankly speaking, most bloggers seem to be only in it for the publicity and the ensueing Adsense bonanza.

For others such as myself living so far from major world markets and lacking the marketing budget to use normal mainstream channels, blogging is an affordable alternative.

We hope we bring a little more than that but please let us know what you think.

Jun 13, 2008

Mick Jagger and Jason Donovan have something in common that Madonna and Britney don't?

Yes, I heard that Jason Donovan got married in Bali a couple of weeks ago. That's nice and I saw the photos of him and his wife having a sort of Balinese wedding with circlets of coconut leaf and a flower centre forehead.

The dress wasn't so convincing but then I don't think they had the time (or perhaps the inclination) to go that far.

But with Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger I think it was quite another thing.

You see I know their beautician/make up artist in Ubud from that time in 1990 or so when they also fronted up to the offerings and the ceremonial sword and egg (as one does at weddings in Bali).

When I first had my hair done by Ibu Ayu and we chatted as she combed and snipped, she pointed proudly to the framed picture on the wall.

There was Jerry, respendent in heavy Balinese makeup, a false exaggerated black hairline, and a fan of golden gilt flowers framing her hair. She wore on the top of her body the traditional wound around strips of handwoven cloth, a sort of prada (cloth stamped with gold patterns.

A real Balinese look, for sure, but Jerry's wide grin unmistakeable under it all. Mick wasn't in the photo but Ayu assured me that she had made him up too.

I could imagine it. The men are alwsys fully made up with foundation, powder, lipstick and eyeliner. And at that time, Mick's wrinkly face wouldn't have channeled any runny lipstick.

So I was pretty surprised to also read recently that Jerry had put her wedding dress up for sale and didn't feel bad about it.

Doesn't sound like the dress I saw her wearing at all. That would just wind up into a small ball and a neatly folded sarong on the side.

This one was white lace with a scalloped sweetheart neckline.

Or maybe she just wore a few dresses on the same day.

Now as far as I know neither Madge or Britney have yet made it to Bali for their weddings but sooner or later many folks do.

So who knows? It could still happen.

And like all the other thousands of bridal couples coming to Bali for weddings they will be welcome as well.

Now I wonder if they will be in the market for some unique Balinese wedding rings as well. Maybe I had better get some wedding designs happening just in case!

I can call it the Bali Wedding Name Dropper range, can't I?

Jun 05, 2008

Bali Cats, with tails and without, fleet footed and fearless!

Balinese cats are a varied lot, some have long tails, some have almost no tails or very, very short ones and some have a curious kink in the tail.

How this comes about no one is too sure. It could be because of inbreeding on a small island or there could be some other explanation.

They come in the usual cat colours, ginger, black, tabby and white patched.My favourite is a tabby. She actually followed me when I moved house and although I had arranged for her to stay at my old place, in about four weeks after I moved, she suddenly turned up looking rather thinner than usual at my new house about 5 kilometers away.

Naturally I gave her a big welcome when she arrived!

There are lots of small field mice in the ricefields in Bali and also lots of small lizards that unwisely sun themselves in gardens.

So with the addition of some dried cat food or table scraps, the cats do very well usually.

And they are much faster movers than the dogs in Bali so have nothing to fear from them. They always keep a high refuge place in sight anyway in case of needing to get away.

As with most cats they usually live a very quiet contented life, socialising with other familiar cats and selected humans.

We celebrate the cats of Bali in our carved bone sterling silver cat jewelry.

You can see some of it in our online Ebay store http://stores.ebay.com/Wholesale-Bali-Silver-Jewelry_W0QQssPageNameZl2QQtZkm or in our wholesale online store http://wholesale-bali.inside-bali-gallery.com

Take a look now. We accept Paypal and post items off to you immediately. Buying direct from Bali is easy.

Jun 04, 2008

Our Ebay Store Allows You to Buy Jewelry Direct from Ubud, Bali.

Take a look at our ebsy store which sells lovely carved bone sterling silver Goddess and Spirit Jewelry.

You can find it here at http://stores.ebay.com/Wholesale-Bali-Silver-Jewelry_W0QQssPageNameZl2QQtZkm

We ship direct to you from our silver workshop in Ubud, Bali.

If we send by EMS it only takes about a week to arrive.

And we wrap it for you in a piece of our handmade pineapple paper, just for the finishing touch.

With no middle men your payment goes straight to supporting our wonderful artisans, village men and women who do their very best with each piece.

Take a look now. Copy this and paste in your browser:

http://stores.ebay.com/Wholesale-Bali-Silver-Jewelry_W0QQssPageNameZl2QQtZkm

Jun 02, 2008

Does our production business need Fair Trade Accreditation or Not?

We feel that we trade fair but we are not a member of a Fair Trade organisation.

With Kertas Gingsir, you know that when you buy our silver jewelry and other products, you contribute in a real way to supporting a village family in Bali.

Kertas Gingsir operates under the principles of Fair Trade, and follows guidelines as set out by IFAT.

We pay our artisans better than fair price per piece of jewelry or other handmade product, a price that is set by the artisan themselves. There are no children employed, and female silversmiths and artisans are highly valued, and paid the same salaries or price per piece as male silversmiths.

Kertas Gingsir artisans are given the freedom to work out of their own homes if they choose to do so, and according to their own schedule.

This ensures that all artisans can meet family and spiritual needs within their homes and community, a very important part of Balinese culture.

Staff in our workshop and office are also provided with similar conditions but still manage to provide on time production, thorough quality control and timely shipping.

We run our business in such a way that our artisans get valuable experience in being accountable for and running their own small business. Some of our staff, after our extensive training, have gone on to set up their own manufacturing business.

We provide safe and healthy working conditions for all our staff and our artisans. We provide constant work orders, advance deposits and prompt final payments to artisans who work in their own homes as well as providing generous salaries to our silver workshop staff, other artisans and staff. Sales staff in all of our shops are given sales incentives on top of a more than fair salary.

Kertas Gingsir is proud to support over 90 valued artisans, office, quality control and sales and support staff. When you buy Jewelry with Soul or our handmade recycled or pineapple paper products, you can be sure you have made a difference.

This is what we say on our website and this is our operating principle and in practice that is what we do.

Do we need to operate within an official Fair Trade group?

I am not sure.

Jun 01, 2008

Bali Advertiser, the newspaper that's free (of value).

The Bali Advertiser comes out once a fortnight and is left on a rack at your favourite supermarket or restaurant in Bali. Or if you aren't there you could get it posted to you overseas. Now that could cost quite a bit.

You see it's become a weighty tome, tho not in content.

It's content reflects the sort of foreigners who come to make their homes for a few years or months in Bali.

Many ostensibly come , they say, because of the spirituality of the island or a respect for traditions.

However the reality is not always like that. Most end up in some sort of parody of that book 'Eat, Pray, Love' and use life in Bali as an excuse for financial gain. And often at the expense of local artisans, healers, business people.

The Bali Advertiser is full of ads by foreigners for their jewelry, their healing expertise, their superior environmental understanding and their magazine astrology.

Excuse me. Bali does after all have its own system of astrology, you know. It's just that no westerners have been thoroughly enough trained in it. Or if they were they would know that it isn't something that you could sell! It comes from the gods and the only payment possible would be in the form of offerings.

The general one that covers generalities for a month is printed right there on the back of the Balinese calendar that you find in every household. No, there's no Mercury Retrograde in Balinese Astrology.

If only some of these people put a little of their time into taking Indonesian language lessons, they could read the local newspapers such as 'Bali Pos', a far more reliable and interesting source of local news and know how.

Well, I've said it and now I am off to see if there are any left at the local supermarket. My friends like me to get them as many as I can. After all what Balinese can resist an offer of FREE firelighting and cigarette rolling material?? I hope someone hasn't got in and taken them all before me.

Jun 01, 2008

World Environment Day Kertas Gingsir Exhibits in Jakarta

Next week we are taking off for Jakarta to join in an exhibition for World Environment Day to be held at the Jakarta Convention Centre from the 6th - 8th June.

This is the first time we have been invited to this event although we have been making recycled papers and other products < a href = " www.kertasgingsir.com "> in Ubud, Bali since 1992.

It is very exciting and we are getting together some great samples of handmade papers, handmade journals, handmade albums and handpainted cards to take.

We may even take a few samples of our newly created mask line, complete with lace and beading. They are really great.

If you are in Jakarta, please come and have a look and a chat with Rai who will be on the stand.

We'd like to meet you!

May 30, 2008

Anxious or frustrated? Something bothering you? Bali Healing

We have another website we want to tell you about.

It's a healing site at www.moon-healing.com called Moon Healing and offers some different healing techniques whether you are in Bali or not.

We also offer Light Language Courses at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Levels. Look at www.moon-healing.com

The latest offering is Distance Matrix healing and remember that we give half of the proceeds of this to Senang Hati Foundation in Bali which offers support to the disabled there.

It's well worth taking a look! There is a FREE mini internet counselling session there too. Try it out for yourself.

May 28, 2008

Ubud Village, Then and Now

Ubud Village in traditional terms referred to a village at the meeting of two rivers (Campuan means that) and also means 'medicine' or 'obat'.

In the 1930's Ubud began its connections to the outside world through such figures as Margaret Mead, Barbara Hutton, Charlie Chaplin to mention a few.

One of the main vehicles for this connection was through art, the patron of art at that time being the Tjokorda of Ubud who make strong ties with foreign artists who worked with local artists to produce a recognizable product that would both reflect Balinese culture and be attractive to buyers of art.

This was a village with tiny winding pathways, alongside mud brick walls, leading through rice fields and occasionally abruptly descending to swift flowing rivers far below.

There were a few coffee stalls (warungs) lit at night by coconut oil lamps and a bustling market where bananas, rice, sugar, salt and eels were sold, together with ingredients for herbal cures such as 'boreh'.

It is a far cry to present day Ubud with its traffic lights, its market teeming with handicraft sellers and mass produced art and its paved roads bordered by two story buildings.

Today in contrast there are just so many foreigners living in Ubud, some now part of Balinese families, some not.

The major events of the village calendar which used to consist of temple ceremonies and cremations, now include New Year's Eve and the Ubud Writers Festival.

How things have changed! But it's still a fascinating place which intrigues the visitor, whoever they may be.

If you have read 'Eat, Pray, Love' you will know what I mean.

We hope to see you here some day soon!

May 27, 2008

Balinese Silver Jewelry

Balinese Silver Jewelry is available in many styles using semi-precious stones, shells, carved bone and others. Order your own wholesale silver jewelry and shell jewelry..

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May 26, 2008

Indonesians and especially Balinese do not support Islamic extremists.

Balinese and other Indonesians do not support Islamic extremists.

Those responsible for the Bali Bombings are in jail awaiting execution and the organisation has been disbanded following the arrests of its leaders. The Indonesian government has followed through on its pledge of zero tolerance for terrorism.

We need to disregard the false perception that there is wide support in Indonesia for radical Islamist agendas.

Indonesia should be seen as a normal, democratic country - much the same as Mexico and India.

Islamist parties have failed to attract votes in Indonesian elections, with the population more focused on the issues of poverty, jobs and politics.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says Indonesia is at heart a pluralistic state.

"[Indonesia is] a country of vigour in its political debate, a lively media, fundamental pluralism and underlying ethnic and religious diversity," he said.

"In an open society, it's natural that there will be loud voices on the extremes of public opinion, but we should not mistake volume for influence."

This seems like a very sensible opinion. Now that the United States has withdrawn its travel ban on Indonesia, it's time to visit Bali again.

If you have never been there, you are in for a treat. Wait no longer!!

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May 25, 2008

No Lonely Hearts in Bali? Marriage in Paradise.

Is romance easy in Bali? Is happy ever after romantically a given of Bali life?

If we are talking about Balinese living traditional lives, no. It's not always the case that Balinese women in particular can settle down to a happy settled life in terms of having a romantic partner.

Marriages there are still a mixed bag. Some still enter into arranged marriages that almost always involve a marriage to a cousin. Will this turn out to be a happy marriage or not? I think it usually does. However the boredom factor may be very high - leading to secret extramarital affairs.

Others marry for love and often these are runaway marriages where the bride is "kidnapped". Not a real kidnapping in the sense of a crime. The bride definitely agrees or if she didn't go along with it, the kidnapper wouldn't succeed.

Once the couple have successfully stayed hidden for 3 days, the family are forced to agree by tradition. The family are informed of the kidnapping, often almost immediately and then the couple after the allotted 3 days will ask for forgiveness and permission to marry.

What of polygamy? Yes, it is reasonably common and is legal in Indonesia as long as the first wife agrees. Sometimes these marriages turn out happily but sometimes there is friction usually due to jealousy because the husband is not treating both or all wives equally.

Sometimes a sisterhood develops between wives and they work together to look after children and earn an income to support the whole family usually by setting up small businesses.

Balinese don't seem to need

lovemaking advice

and are in tune with their bodies on all levels.

For single women life can be much harder and I will talk about that again later.

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May 25, 2008

Retirement Business = Income Insurance

So much newspaper space is taken up with superannuation matters and the tax advantages given by successive governments in Australia. It is probably the same in the USA, Canada, Europe.

That is fabulous as long as you have a secure well paid job. Or continue to have one.

Having been the target of rip off employers who somehow manage with impunity to escape paying government legislated superannuation, I no longer believe that confidence in the benevolence of such schemes is warranted.

How much better to have a small business, perhaps not even making a large income or taking a lot of time, but capable to being ramped up if the circumstances warrant it.

Learning how to make money on the internet is so much easier now that there are so many resources out there to learn from and you don't need to take another university course to do it. It can take quite a sure time to begin to make money and a little persistence will see this increasing to make a useful addition to the budget.

Do you want to learn the secrets to real Income Insurance?

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May 24, 2008

Make a Living on the Net

Make a Living on the internet with FREE help.

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May 24, 2008

Daily Struggles, Daily Blessings

Petrol went up by 30% yesterday in Indonesia. Everyone is going to find it much tougher to make the budget stretch far enough to cover daily necessities.

Wages will have to go up as the price of everything in the market will increase in response. It's inevitable that the prices of handicrafts and jewelry will increase as well.

Of course we knew that it was coming and has been in the air for a long time. Since the time that Suharto ruled Indonesia as a dictator, the oil subsidy was one way of maintaining power.

In some way he was seen as benevolent by most of the populace because of this, even though they also knew of the hugely corrupt government that he presided over. And even though his wife was known as Ibu 10%.

I guess it is another example of the importance of 'face', in Indonesia the smiling face in all situations.

Another thing is brought to mind by the news that an adolescent boy who is rather dear to me is fighting to retain consciousness after 5 days in hospital following a motorbike accident.

The cost of medicine and medical care is so high relatively speaking. The cost of his medicines alone per day is the equivalent of his parents' monthly salaries. The operation on his head cost about the same as a small piece of land, if they had owned one!

They haven't left the hospital since then, taking it in turns to take care of him.

How are they managing? The extended family is taking care. Even though individually, their means are small when they get together financial and other contributions from 20 or 30 families, they have enough.

This is one of the blessings of traditional life here. Extended families are not always convenient but they provide sustenance when times are hard.

I know that there are lots more daily blessings as well that I could write about but right now I cannot think of them.

Some other day I will recall them and write about them!

May 23, 2008

Buddha Pendant

We designed and made a new Buddha pendant last week. It's a finely carved traditional Buddha head from cow bone set in sterling silver with a rough oxidised surface in contrast to the creamy white bone.

I selected a range of different coloured gems to tie in with chakra colours, such as carnelian, peridot, amethyst and citrine. Then looking at it from a Buddhist perspective as well, the citrine and carnelian in particular looked suitable.

In Balinese Hinduism, Buddha is subsumed into the Hindu system.

It ended up making an interesting pendant or pin with the fittings for both on the back.

I would like to design more Buddhist designs and also what I loosely term Yoga or Healing designs, which also incorporate elements of Light Language.

Light Language is on another one of my websites www.moon-healing.com if you are interested to know more about that.

May 18, 2008

Our Wholesale Jewelry Online Store is Working Again!

In late March Ketut was learning how to upload photos of jewelry to our online store. Her third language is English after Balinese and Indonesian and she has only learnt to use a computer within the last 12 months but I was confident that I could teach her to do this.

And she could. I am sure she had uploaded at least fifty photos before that fateful moment when the mouse clicked a centimeter above the Manage Store button and landed on the Delete Store instead.

With the ease of a practised user and using the new faster computer, she confidently clicked on it all the faster to continue with the uploading session.

Well, this is only a possible reconstruction scenario. It could well have happened like this!

The main thing is that now we have the store up again, and it's bigger and better than before. And it's all with Ketut's help too.

We still have more to add of course. I think that an online store is always a work of art in action. Somehow we never seem to be able to say 'It's finished!'.

And that's a good thing really because it means that every time you open it, we may have something new for you to look at.

Please be confident in the quality and the guarantee of satisfaction that we give. We really want you to be one happy customer and to do well with the jewelry so that we can continue working together to make great businesses.

Take a look now! We'll be waiting to start work on your order.

May 14, 2008

Online Wholesale Bali Silver Jewelry Showroom

Welcome to the New Online Showroom of Wholesale Bali Silver at http://wholesale-bali.inside-bali-gallery.com

This is the very best Balinese quality Silver Jewelry at wholesale prices.

Our speciality is Carved Bone Face Sterling Silver Jewelry in Goddess Designs, Moon, Soul and Totem designs but you will also find a selection of our Abalone/Paua Shell, Coral and Pearl Jewelry.

Our silver jewelry is produced in our workshop in Ubud, Bali to our own original designs and we have been exporting from Bali to satisfied customers all over the world since 1992.

Our customers know that we take pride in our reputation for reliability, quality and great customer serviceWe guarantee your satisfaction! Trial orders are always encouraged.

The minimum order on this site is only $300 and remember that includes free shipping.

Production time, if the items are not in stock, may be about three weeks. Add on another week to ten days for shipping time. If the items are in stock we will ship them immediately.

If you are doing business in China or India and are not happy with the quality that you are receiving, please be assured that our jewelry is exactly as stated.

We do not cut corners with lesser quality in order to undercut prices.

In the long run we have found that reliable quality at reasonable prices is the most important element for repeat customers.

We are happy to accept custom orders to your own designs.

All orders are shipped FREE by express post with tracking and insurance for your safety. Fedex delivery can be arranged at cost.

We only accept payment by Paypal for onsite orders but if you wish to place an order of more than $1500 please contact us here.We can sometimes give larger quantity discounts and payment will be by bank transfer.

Thank you for visiting us!

Soco Silver Jewelry Store in Ubud

If you are in Bali please visit our retail Silver Jewelry Store - Lingsir Soco Silver and Paperie in Jalan Dewi Sita, just beside the football field in Ubud.

Apr 10, 2008

Healing the Spirit in Bali: Learn Light Language Here

Bali Help Desk Light Language Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced 2008________________________________________ To Esperanza and the Masters of Mexico for their willingness to share their secrets, time and energy._______________________________________Do you know that you can reshape your aura and attract what you desire, encoding energy through colour and sacred geometry?

Light Language is a sacred teaching based on the light-speed healing techniques of the Master Curanderos of Mexico.

Learn to consciously read and write light using color and sacred geometries. At the Basic level, work with 7-shaped sequences grids for re-shaping the aura and co-creating the energies in our lives. Make instant and long-lasting changes in yourself and your environment. Change the energy of a building, a room, or your office. Manual included.Next Beginner Class: 1pm –4 pm on Sunday, 20th April, 2008 Price $83 Bookings/Info Tel: 62 (0)8123813680 or Email: gingsir@yahoo.com ________________________________________

Jero Gingsir studied Balinese Healing both with her adoptive father, a priest of Besakih temple, and at the Hindu University in Denpasar. She is a trained counsellor and has studied the healing traditions of the Mexican Curanderos becoming a teacher of Light Language in 2004.

She was born in Australia and has lived in Bali on and off for nearly 30 years. She was formerly married to a Balinese, has owned a handmade paper business in Ubud since 1992 and now divides her time between Australia and Bali. She became Bali Hindu many years ago and received her Balinese name at that time.

If you would like more information, email us at gingsir@yahoo.com or look at Healing the Spirit on www.inside-bali-gallery.com

Apr 09, 2008

Healing the Spirit

Healing the Spirit: Traditional Balinese Healing and Healing Courses available in Bali and information about Balinese Offerings.

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Mar 10, 2008

Nyepi 2008, a Meditation.

Nyepi, the Balinese New Year was celebrated by total silence and in my case , seclusion. That's the usual way in Bali, you see.

After a morning meditation session and later a joyful realisation of the total silence surrounding me, I retired to the little bale beside my fish pool.

For an hour or so I absorbed myself in watching as the red, orange and white fish moved in different configuration in the dark water. The magic of it enthralled me and it became another form of meditation.

The velvety silence continued. The softness and sweetness of the day has to be experienced! Imagine if it was celebrated all over the world!! THAT would have an effect on global warming.

Not sure for how long though. Today the roads here are busier than ever and as I write this the thunder of motorbikes outside on the main road rents apart the recent memory of that velvet curtain of silence of only a few days ago.

Feb 22, 2008

A Traditional Balinese Idea - Ingka Plates

Balinese usually use ‘ingka’ as a substitute for platess in many ceremonies, in warungs and restaurants, and at parties in their homes including wedding celebrations. The ingka has a similar form and function to a plate.

Ingka look like a very shallow basket made from spine of ivory-colored coconut leaves. The spines are woven into a plate shape. On the average, one ingka needs more than a hundred coconut leaf spines.

These are not at all difficult to find on the island even though they are also used in making offerings to sew the green coconut leaf baskets used for offerings of flowers and food. Bali has an abundance of materials to make Ingka.

Originally ingka was only used in traditional ceremonies as a plate for the offerings. But more recently Balinese use them interchangeably with china and glass plates.

Making ingka is a home industry in small villages that provides a good source of income for Balinese women. Ingka is not just used in Bali but also in big cities like Jakarta and Surabaya.

Balinese restaurants which are located outside of Bali usually use ingka to give a sense of Balinese to the restaurant, it gives it a Balinese character.

The sense of simplicity and the natural which is given by using ingka can not be produced by other kinds of plates.

Ingka are also far more practical than other kinds of plates. In preparing and carrying out a religious ceremony with up to hundreds or even thousands of helpers, these guests and helpers have to be fed and it will be a huge task to wash all the plates that are used by them. This problem is solved with ingka; other plates need to be washed after using, ingka does not.

Ingka are used by placing a square of banana leaf or paper on top and then the food is placed on the banana leaf or paper.

As a result, after you finish eating, all you have to do throw the paper or the banana leaf into the trash can.

Then the ingka can be stored and reused with a fresh piece of banana leaf or paper without any washing.

So simple and practical! They are so easy to buy in Bali.

Remember if you don't have easy access to banana leaf (which really is the first choice for lining them) then you can easily substitute paper or even a strong paper napkin as a liner.

Feb 21, 2008

Marketing Your Business From a Distance

Have you ever heard of viral marketing? It is a technique I use to grow my business all the time. What I do when I use viral marketing techniques is use mine and my customers’ social networks to increase brand awareness, by providing my customers with something with my company branding that they want to pass on. It could be something as simple as a funny video. When I conduct a viral marketing campaign, I of course, make use of the web and existing social and business networks found there.

There is a principle that if a customer likes your company and service he will tell three people but if he doesn’t like it he will tell eleven. Viral networking uses this principle to increase brand awareness and give my customer something that he wants to tell others about. There is also a theory around that if I gathered one of my friends together in a room and he got someone he knew but I didn’t that through replication- i.e. everyone we are associated with and everyone are associated with and on and on- we would be able to successfully get a message to everyone in the world. Isn’t it an amazing concept that theoretically I could reach everyone in the world with an idea? This is the power I harness with viral marketing. To be successful at it I just need to provide my customers with something the feel like they want to pass on.

I have put together a viral marketing system to harness an epidemic of support and orders for your business. Won’t you come and visit and let me know what you think?

Take a look at my website on the FREE 4 You page!!

http://www.inside-bali-gallery.com/makealiving.html

Continue reading "Marketing Your Business From a Distance"

Jun 18, 2007

Handwoven Cloth? Yes, Tenun!

Handwoven cloth comes in many forms in Bali. Find out how they are made and what from and meet some of the weavers here.

Continue reading "Handwoven Cloth? Yes, Tenun!"

Jun 18, 2007

Popularity: The Search for Friends

It is a long learning curve trying to learn how to get known on the web, to get exposure to people in other countries from the limited perspective of my garden office in Ubud, Bali.

Since the downturn in tourism that Bali has experienced since the early 2000's owing to terrorism, it has been a struggle sometimes to contact potential customers.

I guess we are not alone in that. What avenues have we explored? Blogging, linking to blogs and websites, listing on major web markets, writing articles and posting them on sites.

But we still need to do a lot more. I am trying this at the moment. Don't know if it will work.

Technorati Profile

If any one has any other great ideas please let me know.

Continue reading "Popularity: The Search for Friends"

Jun 09, 2007

Sourcing Shell for Jewelry: Searching for Peace

We were given the name and mobile number of the shell supplier and set off heading to the Jimbaran traditional marketplace of the rank salted fish "fragrance".

Well, times change. Now we passed roadside signboards advertising the latest in bungalow sites, luxury villas and spas, the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton.

Real people lived here too. Their motorbikes dashed along the roads, the Muslim veils flapping around the women, the small girls wearing them too.

We rang again and the supplier came out to guide us to his home.

We swung into a small grove of straggly banana trees with the whining of engines signaling how close we were to the airport.

In front of makeshift shacks, we looked for a parking space not blocking a doorway and squeezed into a little space between two shacks though a plastic strip curtained doorway.

Ignoring entreaties to leave our shoes on as unworthy of notice, we removed our shoes as we enter a tiny empty space with a shining floor.

I thought of my stiff, painful knee joints and hoped that my grey hair signaled a level of infirmity that would lead to the appearance of chairs in the confined space.

The host returned with a precarious, once white plastic chair. I gratefully and carefully sat down, my companion stood on the clean floor. Two plastic glasses of aqua appeared.

The ceiling almost grazed our heads and there was nothing but the curtains behind indicating the presence of a wife or children. .

Mohammed smiled and showed the different types of shells... Mother of Pearl, Black Lipped Mussel and others. I knew some entrepreneurial New Zealander had brought the Paua shell to Bali where it could be worked cheaply.

Mohammed had only a small saw to cut the shells into the shapes and then finished them with sandpaper and clear resin.

Looking around me, I felt the soft poverty in the air. The stale smell of food carefully hoarded and stretched out to fill stomachs awaiting the next arrival of a little money.

So easy for someone to come in here and wave a few banknotes in exchange for the planting of a bomb! I thought of the innocent souls killed by bombs at Kuta and I wanted to buy.

I left a generous deposit, ignoring my hard learnt practice of minimizing the deposit to ensure the order was completed.

I wanted to help these people continue their peaceful way of life, as far as my means extended, to make sure they could send their children to school, their wives to the midwife, and rice to their bellies

I wanted the terrorists from Java to find that the peaceful residents of Bali were not a fertile ground to ferment unrest and terror.

The shells were ready in a few days. In Ubud, we set them in silver to sell as bracelets, pendants and earrings on the internet.

"Thank you for your purchase", I write to my customers!

Continue reading "Sourcing Shell for Jewelry: Searching for Peace"

May 09, 2007

The Big Guns

Have you ever wondered what happens when a little business makes something that a huge company wants?

That happens quite often in Bali especially in the current Global Warming consciousness enthusiasm for natural and recycled. After all big companies don't have much real world experience in those areas.

So often new and great ideas come from the small time business person or even craftsperson.

Occasionally they come to the notice of a big company and they like what they see. They want it!

Now last I heard big companies jealously guard their credit terms of 60 days, 90 days or even more after delivery of the item to them.

Never mind that they want HUGE quantities of "it"; that can be arranged by the amalgamation of work from hundreds of different suppliers with the combined power of thousands of craftspeople.

Just what do those families eat while the big buyer is enjoying their 90 day credit facility?? How do they look after their sick and send their children to school?

The universe invented the middle man, didn't it? What does the middle man want? He/she wants the same credit facilities as the big companies it supplies and squeezes the craft production businesses to comply.

If they don't agree? The idea they had is appropriated by the middle man, of course and hence the US supermarket or whoever they are selling to. They find someone who has a factory where workers are brought in from a kampung somewhere and locked up for a couple of years with no distractions like time off.

But of course with a system to front with respectability. A benign person to answer questions and hide the reality of the sweatshop.

So unless you go into the places that produce 'green' items you may be buying stolen property, that is stolen ideas. And it may well be produced in a sweat shop as well.

Be aware of that next time you step into a 'green' warehouse or retail store.

And book a ticket to visit some of the places where 'green' items are actually produced. Visit craftspeople in their homes. They will usually welcome you with open arms.

You might have to pay cash but you will actually be contributing to a greeener world.

Sigh! Now if only there was a bridge between micro credit organisations and US supermarkets, the 'greening' might get somewhere. Not to mention the poor craftspeople of countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand might actually improve their standard of living.

When are you coming to Bali? Make it soon!!! We would love to see you.

Continue reading "The Big Guns"

Apr 20, 2007

Auctions

Our auctions currently running on Ebay

Continue reading "Auctions"

Apr 16, 2007

Handmade or machine made?

What does handmade really mean? What are the advantages of a handmade item? Have you ever wondered why people in Bali still make things by hand?

Yes, there are a lot of machines available in Bali. Of course! And the truth is that machines can be helpful and are commonly used in the basic processing of a material, be it wood, fiber, silver, bamboo or clay.

But the final part of the process is done by the craftspeople by hand. This is the magic ingredient to add character to the item, to give it spirit or energy of its own.

This is in contrast to the machine made item sitting alongside thousands of other identical items, all exactly the same and without that spark of individuality.

Of course handmade can be important in other ways too. The electricity often fails in Bali and this is an ever present reminder of not to get too dependent on electrical machines.

The knowledge of old ways of doing things before the advent of machines is still considered very important to pass on to children.

Young children learn to make things with their hands from a young age, from making the ever present religious offerings from palm leaf to copying the wood carving techniques of a parent.

I am often asked by customers if the item they buy will be exactly the same as the one they have seen in a photograph. I answer truthfully that each handmade item has its own character and will vary in tiny ways from another.

This adds to the value and enjoyment - knowing that you have bought a unique item and that there is not another one in the whole world exactly the same!

And to have only paid a relatively tiny price is another bonus.

To know that by buying a handcrafted item you are contributing to the welfare of a village and supporting the preservation of an age old lifestyle is the biggest bonus of all.

We hope you enjoy your handmade products and reflecting on their origin.

Mar 03, 2007

The best new year!

It is getting close to the Balinese New Year on the 18th of March.

Everytime we go out I am reminded of this as we pass through village after village where the framework is up and sometimes the newspaper under coat of the ogoh-ogoh.

These are giant figures of paper mache, foam, metal, wire, wood, fiber and other materials painstakingly put together by the village youth.

They are getting ready for the giant procession and competition on the night before the New Year.

They will be preceded by the beating of kettles and makeshift drums, fire torches and exploding bamboos.

Then begins the New Year. The next morning will start the twenty four hours of total silence on the island. A time for contemplation and fasting for the devout Hindus, a time for a little card playing and dominos for others.

The roads will be deserted and the sounds of birds and insects will be heard clearly.

A magic time to be in Bali indeed.

Dec 12, 2006

Getting Busy!

After seeing all the airlines news for next year, it looks like Bali is going to be a whole lot busier coming up to January, 2007.

The Balinese owned airline Paradise Air is to start flying again and Emirites is coming in. Garuda has denied that it ever intended to center its operations on Jakarta and drop Bali as an alternative hub.

And when I look in the Australian newspapers and see them full of Bali specials again, I know we are in for a good (and busy) New Year.

Now I am wondering if I will get there! I am planning to return at the beginning of January but so far waitlisting is the only option, well except for business class which is a bit beyond my means.

Bali is better than ever. Hotels and restaurants are ready to meet your every wish and available to fit any budget.

In fact Bali is one place where it is easy to 'wing' it and just decide on your accommodation when you get there. There are so many choices and locations, you won't miss out.

Come on over.

Nov 08, 2006

Renovation Time

The time had definitely come for a renovation to the shop. It is our shop beside the football field in Ubud and over ten years we have done this a few times before.

This time it was to be major! We had changed the roof a few times from thatch to tiles, we had changed the front wall when the new village footpaths cut a metre or so off the front edge of the shop, a near disaster in a shop which was only about two metres in depth.

But we managed. Now we needed a ceiling and lots more ventilation. Sure the ceiling would not be so comfortable for all of our resident geckos and mice but I was higly hopeful that they would move to alternative accommodation, somewhere else. This would greatly help in keeping our lovely handmade papers in pristine condition which of course is the only way anyone will buy them.

So there we were with a new ceiling and also sealing around any odd gaping edges with a mixture of sawdust and glue.

The back wall of the shop made of cement brick were soon changed from a solid wall into one featuring a door and two windows. The temperature inside dropped by a good 5 degrees and we took out the rather ineffective fan.

The picturesque shutter featuring artistically worm eaten wood were installed and the whole outside painted a deep forest green.

Inside we used a slightly lighter green and the signage was all done in a deep wine colour in hand painted wooden shapes.

The lighting was increased dramatically to cope with the deeper colours, a few pots added to outside and inside and the shrines given new cloth skirts in toning colours.

The shelving seemed to melt into the walls after it was painted a matching green and low shelves were put up outside to attract attention to our sale and special items.

The staff were trained to give a signed thank you card to each customer and a guarantee of quality.

And we were ready to reopen in the shape of our two different personalities.

The Paperie and the Soco Spirit Silver shop.

You won't miss us if you walk along Jalan Dewi Sita in Ubud. We're green! And take a look on top at our old man 'ogoh ogoh' who represents the inspiration of our shop - the old people of Bali. We call them LINGSIR.

That is us! Call in some time soon.

Oct 15, 2006

Making a Living

I thought you might be like me, needing to think from time to time about how best to make a living.

It is not always easy to know what to do. The universe is plentiful but we need to know how to tap into its abundance without being too greedy, without taking the food from the mouths of others who need it.

I have spent many years learning how to tap into that abundance in a number of different places.

No, I haven't made millions (yet!) but have found the net to be a great supplementary income.

I am trying to learn how to make it more than a supplement and have had a lot of help from many sources.

New Age Work at Home Plan:

A friend of mine who does make his living on the net is letting me give away an outline of how HE does it. There is NO CHARGE. Take a look but do NOT press the order button .

www.webbusinesswizard.com/app/?af=499529

Just copy and paste this into your browser window and click go.

Then click on the Golden Key and you will get his book for FREE.Remember don't click on the Order button!

Try it now. It might give you some help where it is most needed.

It is hard to believe that he is giving away all this free information and the details that he gives out.

I hope you like it too.

Oct 15, 2006

Are the Bali Wood Carvers a Dying Breed?

Bali wood carvers still make the carvings you love, wholesale wood carvings, carvers to look for

Continue reading "Are the Bali Wood Carvers a Dying Breed? "

Sep 16, 2006

Saraswati Day

Today in Bali it is Saraswati Day and in my office with lots of teak glass fronted book cupboards the air is redolent with the special smell of Saraswati offerings.

This is the day to honour books and learning and to do so no reading should take place today but the books should be dusted and tidied instead!

Luckily I was so busy today reopening our Paperie that I didn't have time to think of reading at all.

We have two boutiques side by side in Ubud. The Paperie under the name of Lingsir has been in Jalan Dewi Sita since about 1997. Now we have Paperie devoted to our handmade paper products and paintings, mostly on paper and a jewelry and spa product boutique called Soco Silver.

We decided not to open that part today but to wait until Monday for a day called Soma Rebuk. The day is considered particularly fortunate for opening shops because the word 'buk' in Balinese means 'plenty' and so augers well for the prosperity of any shop.

It is very exciting to be putting the silver collection on show for the first time.

One of my favourites is the Chilli jewelry collection! Red hot of course! I will tell you more about that later.

Aug 29, 2006

The Day of Money

The day of money? Yes, you read it right. Tomorrow is the day called Buda Cemang (which this year falls on the western calendar on 30th August) which is a day Balinese reserve for making special offerings for money and for all business people to pay a visit to the seller's temple. Yes, even internet sellers would be included in this.

By tradition, it is important to avoid paying a debt on this day so that money doesn't just continue to flow out for the rest of the year.

So don't come here wanting to pay an outstanding bill! We don't want it today. Tomorrow is a different story.

This doesn't seem to extend to shopping though. All the shops will be open as usual tomorrow and yes, you will need to pay for your purchases.

I am off now to make sure my wallet is in good order and my money neatly folded! How about you?

Aug 26, 2006

Inside a Silver Workshop

Just in case you thought sterling silver might be pure silver, no it isn't. It is pure silver mixed with a tiny amount of copper and brass to make it workable. The amount of copper and brass may vary slightly in different parts of a piece of jewelry depending on the needs of a particular component. The outer part of a besel edge keeping the stone in place may need less copper and brass.

The silver that most craftsmen buy in Bali to make their jewelry is pure silver in the form of round balls. These are melted down in a little clay crucible together with just the right proportion of copper and brass.

After the sterling silver solidifies it is milled to make the building blocks of silver such as wires and plate of different thicknesses.

Even the tiniest piece of a cut off corner is saved and melted again to use in a different place.

These craftsmen (many of them) learnt all this by watching their parents work with silver when they were tiny children.

Enjoy that piece of silver jewelry! And spare a thought for the skilled craftsperson who made it by hand somewhere in a village in Bali.

Aug 22, 2006

Buddha

The Buddha wears many faces. And a few thousand of them were alongside the road as I went to visit a supplier in Seminyak today. Are there too many of them? Probably but I have to say that many Buddhas on the whole have to be a good thing for those who wish fervently for world peace.

A little Buddha painting on the wall near your bed or a laughing Buddha on the bookcase reminds us of our hidden depths.

And in Bali you probably won't have to spend more than $15 to have whichever one you want. I even saw beautiful sand paintings of Buddha becoming the covers of journals and incense boxes.

Take a look along the back roads of Sukawati and you will find the best and the cheapest ones.