Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Belated Balimoon • Tagging along with Choy & Kevin...

Since Choy was preparing for a formal tour the following week, he had a few errands to run and was kind enough to allow us to tag along. It was great! 

One of the places on his stop was to Ida Bagus Ketut Dharma’s compound (home). He is a Hindu priest and one of the last Keliki style traditional painters, which he is revered as a master. When he's not conducting ceremonies or teaching children from his village the Keliki style, he also leads a rice paddy walk that Choy recommends for his tours. We actually booked his paddy walk earlier that week, but had to cancel at the last minute, because I was detoxing (I'll get to that).

Since I missed my chance to meet Ida Bagus earlier that week, I was really excited to finally meet him and see his artwork. I have to mention that I really love the black & white ink drawings that you see around Ubud. You see this style reproduced all over town and throughout Bali (see photo above). I actually told my husband that I’d really like a black & white Ganesha, which proved to be truly hard to find. If we did find one, it was colorfully painted or just mediocre in quality. So to my surprise, when Ida Bagus started showing us his amazingly detailed pieces, I realized that the Keliki Style is the style of ink drawings and paintings that I’d been admiring. As fate would have it, one of the last paintings that Ida Bagus pulls out, is the exact Ganesha painting I had been hunting for.

With shaky hands, we inspected the intricately adorned painting and knew that we had found the perfect wedding present for ourselves. The painting is truly exquisite in its quality and care that it embodies. As it turns out, each piece takes many months or more than a year to complete. The flawless linework flows through scenes of ceaselessly interweaving patterns and meticulous detail. It will be an honor to display this piece in our home, once I get it framed. 
While we were visiting Ida Bagus’s home, his sweet wife made us the most delicious sweet rice treats pan-fried in coconut oil with fresh lemongrass tea grown in their garden. At that moment, I wanted to ask if I could move in. I loved it there. 

After we left Ida Bagus’s house we visited Threads of Life.  This organization makes beautifully handmade batiks from natural dyes. 

What's even more impressive is that they employ their female staff with livable wages and are preserving a Balinese tradition instead of mass-producing printed designs. I don’t remember the name of the town, but it was fascinating to observe the batik process from beginning to end.  The patterns were surprisingly fresh and modern (which I appreciated), since I’m not a fan of the traditional looking batiks and the finish products were absolutely gorgeous.  Surprisingly, I was able to refrain myself from making a wanton purchase.

It was a real treat for us to follow Choy and Kevin around for half the day.  Not only for their great company, but also to see a side of Ubud that we would not have found on our own.  Also seeing the amount of care and detail that Choy takes for all his tours is so unbelievable.  I wanted to join one of his tours.  

Photos starting from the top:
two photos of us on our paddy walk \ typical tourist art & a rooster \ our Ganesha painting \ Ida Bagus, his wife, me and my husband \ wood blocks \ women batiking \ wax used for batiks \ batik scarf \ the boys