The Magic behind the Craft [part 2]
In the previous part, we went through the different types of woods used to make our beautiful decorative wood panels and other carvings such as statues and triptychs. Now, let’s look at the process that allows our craftsmen to give life to a lump of raw wood by turning it into the masterpiece that will eventually embellish your lovely home.
It’s all about hand work!
At Kulturë, we guarantee that all our wood products are 100% hand made, and we take this commitment very seriously. Keeping alive the Balinese carving traditions is crucial to us. The techniques and styles used by the locals have been passed on from one generation to another for the past centuries, so preservation and equity over productivity and profit is an important concept that we apply every step of the way.
Practically, our artisans use very few tools to work the wood:
- cutting tool: usually a carving knife with a very short blade, used to pare, cut and make the wood smoother.
- gouge or a chisel: these cutting tools have a sharp cutting edge and must be used with a mallet. Gouges and chisels come in different sizes and shapes depending on the kind of work they are used for. Balinese craftsmen mainly use carving chisels, which are meant for intricate designs and sculpting, as well as bevel edge chisel, which allows them to get into acute angles.
- mallet: a sort of hammer made of wood and with a large head. Wooden mallets are great to work the wood because they do not damage the metal tool (chisel) when stricken. They also allow the artisan to control the force used to strike to tool.
Once the craftsman has selected the type of wood to use, he has to find a piece with a size and shape similar to the object he wants to create. Then he starts working on the general shape of the object with the gouge. Once the shape is roughly defined, the intricate work starts! Specific chisels like “veiner” or “fluter” are then used to create deeper gouges into the wood. “V-tool” is also used to chisel thin lines or ornamental cuts. This is the part of the work that requires the most time (5-6 hours in average for a medium sized statuette). Generally, the whole making process can take 1 to 3 working days, depending on the size of the item and the level of intricacy.
One of our artisan at work on our MDF Lotus Panel
The finishing touch
After the piece is fully carved, the craftsman will soften it using a brush or sandpaper. Then, depending on the type of product to be made, he / she will apply colour or polish it. When it comes to colouring wood, different techniques can be applied, from regular painting (for white or green wash panels, for instance) to rubbing golden / silver paper onto the piece for a more subtle effect
One of our artisan colouring a Buddha carving
For uncoloured wood carvings, different kind of finishes can be applied (lacquer, two-tone finish, natural, aged, glazed, distressed etc.) We can also provided special finish on request for made-to-order products.
And there you go! The piece is ready to be shipped and put on your wall, shelf or console!