While in Bali you met several of the island’s craftspeople. How was that experience and what did you learn from them?
It was an incredibly enriching experience to see such a high level of craft, care and attention paid to the craftspeoples’ work, and how every single part of the process is really mindful of how it impacts the environment positively.
We made a visit to Tarum Bali, a natural dyer using plant-based dyes for textiles, clothing and interior-related goods—some of which are in Katamama which I had the luxury of experiencing. It was great to see the entire production, from source to final goods, under one roof. This really helps me, as a designer.
Gaya ceramics was also in our trip around Ubud. Ceramics aren’t a traditional practice in Bali, which I found really fascinating as this ancient practice in many countries is relatively untapped in Bali, but the beauty of it is that they’re using volcanic sand and sometimes ash to create glazes which give their products a real sense of place.
I got involved in the process of salt farming near the village of Tenganan. It was such a small production site, but offered a huge opportunity to see what was possible with a material that was on this family’s doorstep. A lot of the time the best materials to work with are what’s local to you. Also at Tenganan, I experienced wood carving at the most intricate level of detailing, which was then coloured with abundantly grown macadamia nut that was blackened, which proved to be a great tool for black ink.
Coming from a textile design background I was in awe of the weaving process for single and double Ikat. The level of detail, time and patience needed to achieve even the smallest length of textile was remarkable, again the yarns were naturally dyed with local plants, creating an even more native product.
This goes to show the value of revealing the process and people behind the product; there is a story to tell which creates an emotional engagement and ultimately a sense of value.