Posts from the “Bali” Category

Auf Wiedersehen, Bali

Posted on March 31, 2014

During the planning stages of this sabbatical, we suspected our time in Ubud would be centered around art projects. We couldn’t have forecasted, however, how much these pottery and batik workshops would have an impact on our future plans. These last two months have been transformative, and the experiences here have led to a potential reframing of the rest of our year abroad. We’ve had countless conversations around how to continue down these creative paths, and how we choose future locations that will allow us to explore these areas deeper. Plans are still taking shape, but one thing we do know is that we will be back in Bali as a part of it. So, we’re not saying goodbye, we’re just saying, ‘until we see you again…’

Bali Trees

Posted on March 30, 2014

Final Raku

Posted on March 30, 2014

Just following up with some of the final raku (joy) pieces that I created in the workshop. It was sooo much fun and I think I have found a new passion. All the pieces were shot at different times, so the backgrounds are a little different.

Final batik designs

Posted on March 30, 2014

A few of my final designs…an eclectic mix of colors, materials and wax application methods. Really hoping to work with natural indigo and woodcut stamps again. Stay tuned as we figure out some plans for studio work in Berlin.

Man on fire

Posted on March 29, 2014

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: The first piece of pottery I picked up in Bali was finished in raku. I fell in love with its smoke wreathed finish and scratched surface arterial lines, and knew I wanted to experiment with making pieces in this style.  By chance, we stopped by Gaya Ceramics 3 days before its 2-week raku immersion workshop started, and I was able to get a spot in class.
Gaya’s open-air space is beautifully designed in a traditional Javanese joglo. Artists & instructors from around the world who chose to dedicate their lives & careers to ceramics are a part of the Gaya community. An American painter, potter & textile artist, Hillary Kane, runs the center. Hillary instructed us each day as we were hand building & throwing clay on the wheel, but for me personally, she also served as an inspiration for how to live an arts & crafts-driven life across the globe.
Each day of the workshop, I felt closer to the elements: my hands in the dirt & water, and finishing the clay with fire & smoke. There’s something really rough & raw about this, and it brought me back to what I love about designing & creating art. Also, being back in a studio environment fueled me. This is my place, and I love being able to draw inspiration from other artists. This intensive 2-week period got me thinking even more seriously about future ceramics scenarios and exploring the arts across the rest of our year abroad.
Finished work to follow…

Graduate studies in batik

Posted on March 27, 2014

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia:  I fell in love with the art of batik. There are infinite ways of approaching the creation of these beautiful fabrics, and over our 2 months in Ubud, I experimented across a broad spectrum of techniques. A few weeks in to our stay, I decided to take my initial ‘playing around’ studies a little deeper. I contracted with Widya, the man who runs the studio where I’d been learning batik, to come back and work 10-15 more times for the whole time we’d be in Ubud. My main areas of focus would be color, fibers and hand stamping. Color is a tricky one for me, as I didn’t go to art school and remember very little about color theory from my…

Natural indigo & batik studio

Posted on March 17, 2014

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: The director of Gaya where Thomas is taking his intensive pottery course introduced us to this incredible place. Located about 1/2 hour outside of Ubud, this facility employs about 50 people who produce natural plant dyes (primarily indigo) and hand stamp all the fabrics on their way to becoming batik.

The indigo leaves come from a local source and are soaked & fermented on site. Huge vats of indigo baths line the facility, and rudimentary but complex pulley systems hang the fabrics in various stages of dipping. For the deepest, richest blue, many of these fibers will be dipped 15+ times in the indigo baths.

Around the corner from the indigo baths was the stamping room. Hundreds & hundreds of wood and copper stamps lined the walls. Each of them had been made at the facility and was completely unique. Seeing something of this scale was breathtaking since I’d been working with just about 15 stamps at my other batik studio. Inspired & excited, I asked to come back and work on my own the next day. Does this count as an internship??


Posted on March 16, 2014

Getting my hands dirty

Posted on March 4, 2014

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia:  I needed to get back to working with my hands again. Pottery, like painting, is multi-layered and textured. I felt like I could work with pottery in much the same way I work with paint, while also adding in the creation of an object, a third dimension. It’s hands-on, lots of touching, messy and muddy. A perfect extension of what I’d already been doing with wax, paint and canvas. So for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been taking a pottery class to learn the basics of how to hand build some foundational pieces, throw clay, work on the wheel, understand how colors and glazes work and the art of firing. It’s wonderful to be back in a studio environment, creating something and being in between colors and dips. Already I’m feeling comfortable with this, and could see it becoming my next form of meditation. Now that the basics are covered, I start a 2-week immersion program on Raku, a 16th century Japanese firing method. I can’t help but notice the word Raku translates to ‘joy and happiness.’

The streets of Ubud

Posted on February 27, 2014

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia:  We spend a lot of our time inquisitively exploring the streets of Ubud. Some we can zip along by scooter, but the more interesting ones are pathways that meander through rice paddies and family compounds. Our ‘street,’ for example, takes us over the Campuan Gorge, through Kadek’s family compound, along the rice paddy, past the coconut tree, over some stepping-stones and then to home. When we head out to pottery and batik in the mornings, we hop on the scooter and battle the pandemonium of Ubud’s streets. The rules of the road are really just friendly suggestions. So, the real fun begins when we encounter one of these hold-your-breath intersections or tiny one-way streets. We pull our knees in & hope for the best.