Indonesian craft: why are Balinese so creative?
Bali, known as the Island of the gods, has always been famous for its creativity. It boasts of the most diverse and beautiful art cultures in the world. No wonder it is touted as the world's Creative Hub.
Art has always been a part of the Balinese culture; it is a language, a way of life and worship — a way to remain intrinsically connected with the earth. Even today, when lots of artisans create art for art's sake, that creative nature cannot be watered down or denied.
Since time immemorial, history was passed down to generations through creativity, and it's not just by word of mouth. Many of their art tell stories of how they've lived in the past.
You can find their rich history in the songs and dances, woodwork, painting, stone carving and sculpting, textiles, cooking, and gold or metal smithery.
Every artistic discipline you can think of found expression in Bali. Individuals villages chose a single creative direction and perfected it. Till today, various regions are known by their area of specialization, which has been tested and proved over time.
For instance, Ubud is known for painting, Mas for woodcarving, Celuk are experts of Gold and Silverworks, stone sculpting is dominant in Batubulan, Tenganan for textiles, and many others.
A typical Balinese stone carving design
Not only are they experts in their area of creativity, but they also hold various creative classes for tourists who wish to learn something about their arts.
Unlike the rest of Asia, the Balinese greatly value their spirituality and creativity. It is their collective consciousness of who they are that still draws like-minded people, investors, and entrepreneurs to their city.
As an art lover who visits Bali, what should you do?
It is in your best interest to learn something new to add to your repertoire of artistic knowledge.
One of the best things that you can enjoy in Bali is learning from experts; this is why there are so many kinds of classes for various vocations that could prove useful even after the vacation is over.
Three kinds of vocational classes you shouldn't miss.
Wood carving. if you have an interest in carving, learning how to sculpt with wood could be an excellent idea. There are various workshops where you could learn how to carve out shapes from wooden frames. You could do small images, determine what kind of wood is best for what carving style. You don't have to be an expert, but the knowledge will stay with you long after you have left Bali. What better way to show how special people are to you by giving them something you created with your own hands?
A highly intricate, refined wood carving depicting herons, a popular bird in Bali
Jewellery making classes. From beads to smithery, the art of jewellery making cannot be exhausted. In many parts of the world, jewellery such as Gold, silver, and other kinds of metal are very much appreciated. You can explore your creativity by attending workshops where you will learn how to put your imagination stamp on a piece of jewellery.
Who knows you might make tons of money from it, or at the very least know how to make your jewellery to suit your personality.
Batik Making. Although it's originally from Java, batik making can also be found in few villages in Bali. This sizeable woven piece of cloth that features colourful images painted or woven in it is great for home decor. It can also be worn like a sarong. Learn how to create batik-like a pro and design your house with your works.
Many other workshops are teaching various artistic disciplines, discover what's in tune with your creativity, and learn all you can about it.