The Master Woodcarvers of Ubud

The creative talent in Ubud is unparalleled. In this one small town there are master painters, sculptors, silversmiths, basket weavers, batik and ikat fabric makers, furniture makers, and woodcarvers. And that is not to omit the landscape gardeners, the architects, the food presentation masterpieces from the chefs, the musicians, the dancers, the theater arts…it’s endless. But today I am featuring the woodcarvers. I visited the home of a woman who employs about twenty-five carvers, some masters and some teachers. Master is better than teacher, but it was hard to tell the difference in their work. My jaw was adjar as I walked through the showroom. They work in mahogany, teak, crocodile wood, and sandalwood to name a few.

This woman is sanding the completed carving. You can get an idea of the size of this incredible piece.

You’ve heard the expression “the elephant in the room?” It would be hard to miss this fellow!

Look at the fisherman’s net! What beautiful draping and incredible detail in this mahogany sculpture.

Shiva with the golden deer…

This one was incredible! She is a larger than life-size woman in a what looks like a tortured yoga pose! And there’s a child…

Brahma rides on a swan and sometimes takes that shape. I know too little about Hindu legend to venture a guess at the story.

The furniture in the showroom was either ornately carved or fanciful. Here is a must have dining set!

And how about this for a chair?

You could have a whole set, and price is negotiable! ALWAYS!

I took two shots of this lotus leaf bar stool because it’s magnificent.

There were literally thousands of carved pieces, no two the same. It’s such a different experience from walking into say Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, and buying one of 50 identical buffalo bobble heads. What made me think of that? I don’t know that I’ve ever actually been to Wall Drug, but in the Midwest it’s legendary. And a buffalo bobble head seems the antithesis of a one-of-a-kind original hand carving from Bali.

It was another day of amazement. I need years here, not months. I’ve hardly left Ubud and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s available right under my nose.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barb Garland
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 08:32:20




  2. Diane Struble
    May 04, 2012 @ 01:36:13

    Finally had time to catch up with your treasures and they were worth waiting for. My favorites are the dining set (not the wood sculpture on top of it) and the Brahma with the Swan – truly gorgeous.



  3. Nancy Strauss
    May 04, 2012 @ 20:27:30

    Amazing. It’s good to know you’re into minimalism & won’t be bringing any of that back! Do you have more pictures to bring home – am looking for a showing.




  4. Susan Alpert
    Jul 10, 2012 @ 14:11:15

    Leaving for Bali soon: do you have name of exquisite wood shop?



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