The most meaningful memories on almost any trip not only include the amazing scenery and sites, but the people who make that experience so special. One of my highlights from my trip to Bali included our visits to the local markets and homes of the individuals who were responsible for making some of the unique keepsakes being showcased to those passing by in the local villages. I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to visit multiple markets in the beachfront towns of Seminyak and Jimbaran as well as Ubud, the village most well-known for its talented local artisans.
In Seminyak, there were endless markets and local shops, many with similar items such as Balinese style wraps and dresses, beaded belts, crochet tops, handmade jewelry, accent pieces for one’s home, wraps & scarfs, among many other things as the list goes on… I was advised by my tour guide that bargaining is expected here, but I inquired about what a reasonable starting point would be for negotiations as I know these individuals or their families worked very hard in creating these one of a king pieces so I did not want to offend them in my offers, but rather be reasonable and allow them to make profit on the goods they were selling.
I was informed that 50% is a good starting point and that we can then go up from there. I was quite successful in my negotiations and brought home some really special pieces that I will always cherish from my trip, including the dress and belt I am shown wearing here? I really could have overdone it with shopping, but knew I had limited space in my second bag coming home to stayed disciplined, but when an outfit like this cost 159,204 Indonesian Rupiah (don’t worry it isn’t nearly as much as it sounds, this converts to just $12 USD.
It was quite fun to watch a local silversmith and his family craft jewelry. We see things we love when we shop but to learn more about the process and how much time and love goes into creating these, you cannot help but be in awe to put a face and name with the person who created the necklace, bracelet or earrings you are wearing. I purchased the beautiful earrings included here as I thought with them being circular and their design that each almost resembled a globe and this would be a perfect fit for me an
As for the wood craftsman, I had the pleasure of visiting with a kind man by the name of Ben and his family who all work together, from the beginning to finding the wood to be used, to the carving (without any picture or script, the designs are in their head), so the filing and last step including the polishing which is often done by the children. I absolutely fell in love with these pieces featuring a loving pair wrapped up in one another arms, I felt the fact that they left the bark & exterior helped to distinguish this from other beautiful pieces you may find in a store. The Buddha carved wood piece tends to be their most popular which is offered in all sizes.
I adore the fact that these families work together and can spend weeks on end to create a treasure that a buyer and hopefully their family will then go on to admire and see in their home each and every day.
I really enjoyed my interactions with these individuals and found that the Balinese people showed such pride in their creations as well as happiness to be living in Bali and welcome visitors to their beautiful home.