This was my third visit to enchanting Ubud, Bali. Since Julia Roberts was here to film "Eat,Pray,Love", this small Indonesian village has changed dramatically. There are more exotic restaurants, more unusual art and certainly more traffic! The major difference between this visit and my previous visits was having an expert shopping guide, Sterling show me all the hidden treasures.
There are hundreds of creative artists in Ubud; sculptors, wood and stone carvers, basket weaving, batik designers, beading and of course my favorite - silver jewelry designers. It seems everything here is made by hand. The patience, skill and attention to detail makes their art masterful.
During my nine day visit I experienced all of these crafts which have been the heritage of these villages for centuries and of course I bought beautiful pieces as shown here:
The most memorable experiences where those with the gentle Indonesian people. We could learn many lessons from them. Not only do they make offerings to their ancestors twice a day; they go barefoot, walk everywhere (slowly) and both men and women wear skirts (sarongs). There are celebrations, ceremonies and village meetings almost daily.
And they smile and laugh easily. Their culture is ancient and very wise. And they love color, no beige outfits here!
Of course not everything is perfect. The men are still predominately the boss while the women do most of the work. They carry enormous weights of everything from concert/sand to food! And yet they still seem content and happy for their families. What I discovered was a place where there is a very low crime rate, few beggars and families that take care of their elderly and teach each other the crafts that are passed down from many generations. And they work very hard!
During my search for silver jewelry (each village specializes in a different craft) I began to realize a new shift in my buying approach. I went looking for ready made silver jewelry and discovered their real value as craftsmen was in their willingness to design anything I wanted.
I recently bought 8 very large unset (20 - 40k) semi precious stones in India. I'm not sure why except they were beautiful! Yet I couldn't figure out what to do with them. For some reason I brought them to Ubud. I worked with a silversmith and here's what I designed! A silver cuff that turned out beautifully! I am so proud of it. The silversmith is now working on the remaining 7 stones to make into identical cuffs. Little did I realized this trip would open opportunities for me in designing I had never considered before. I am so pleased with this opportunity to continue my relationship with the artists of Bali.