Bali's Wood Carvers are Alive and Well, and Even More Creative.
Bali Wood Carvers live on and are more creative than ever! I live on the road to Wood Carver Kingdom. I am talking about Tegallalang which is on the road through the north of Ubud called Andong, but in fact there are many other areas where the sounds of chipping and sanding can be heard every day!
Just yesterday I went up the road to Tegallalang to pick up some shop fittings I had ordered and was amazed to see ever new products displayed in the shop fronts, new finishes, new designs and an exciting array of skilled craftsman/womanship.
The cleverest of them make sure that our favourites are still there. The buddhas, the mobiles, the classic Hindu figures - but they are joined by stately African women in deeply resonating colours, desert dot painted pieces, ever more grotesque primitives and ngarled and twisted monumental vines holding lampshades aloft. And that was only for starters.
The angels were there and the mirrors, in all of their handcarved variations. Christmas trees and decorations, novelty shelving, painted cows and pigs, the ubiquitous bamboo root ducks that I love so much.
Then on the edge of the road fluttered a real duck. It couldn't stand up, just trying desperately and then falling over. Its feet seemed to be useless and it was by itself, not with its group and no group gathering flag planted in the ricefields by its owner to be seen, and caught on the road, totally unable to walk.
My heart was touched by its helplessness and I thought its legs had been run over by a careless motorbike. But then we saw a motorbike returning and realised that the duck with its legs tied, had fallen out of the hands of its buyer, taking it home for dinner.
The carvers still makw the breathtaking horses, rearing up more than two meters high. The exalted Buddhas and Kwan Yins stand a full meter tall and more.
Me? I still love the bamboo root ducks, each with its different posture and turned head. I would follow them anywhere and that is why I put them alongside the path leading to the doorway of my shop! That is the one in Jalan Dewi Sita beside the football field in Ubud, Bali.
I have another store as well. Take a look in my Ebay
I have put together introductions to some of the wood craftspeople that I know. They are all great characters with a wealth of passed down knowledge of wood, its characteristics and how to work it.
Look here to meet the the work of some of the best