Wood Carving in Bali

Bali is famous for its artisans,and the book tourist guides all talk about the ability to take classes in Batik, silver smithing, painting, or woodcarving. We imagedecided to start our journey in the world of balinese artisianship with a visit to a wood carving operation. Wayan drove us to a town that specializes in wood carving. We had not booked a formal class in advance. When we arrived, there were three carvers working in the open compound. We were recieved by the master carver/owner of the establishment and given a brief explanation of wood carving in Bali. We simply asked if the boys could imagereceive some hands on instruction in wood carving, and the answer was a smiling affirmative. Two of the carvers put down the carvings they were working on and went to the wood pile and selected some raw wood blocks for the boys. They did not speak english, but one of the helpers did and acted as translator.
Initially, the boys were just watching the carvers as they used small hatchets to shape the wood block. Justin knew right away that his carver was going for a turtle, but Jordan’s carver was leaving him in suspense as to what he was working on. Eventually, Jordan was clued in that it was to be a half moon shaped mask.image
Once the hatchets were put away, it was all chisel and hammer work. This is when the boys got to participate. They chipped and shaved under the watchful eyes of the wood carvers. The wood was passed back and forth between master and novice. The boys finally were given rough, but detailed carvings to take home with imagethem. When they make it home, the boys can sand them smooth and polish them. They were so excited by what they had experienced that they began plotting to turn the ‘lego’ room at home into a wood carving workshop. We will see if this enthusiasm has legs. Whether or not it does, this is the kind of experiential learning we were hoping to find on this trip to Bali.image

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