Tag Archives: Wood

BALINESE WOOD CARVING

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Ade recently did a couple designs highly inspired on old wood carvings from Bali.

WOODCARVING IN BALI

The craft of woodcarving has never existed in Bali only for decoration purposes.
In the olden days, the fine arts of woodcarving and painting were reserved almost exclusively for royal and religious purposes.
Woodcarving has a very long history in Bali.

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TECHNIQUES

Woodcarving is a skill requiring more precision and sureness than that of carving stone. The carver starts with a clean block of wood which he cuts down to roughly the same size as the piece to be carved. Using very simple tools, the carver lightly taps the highly sharpened instruments. Unlike the technique used in the West, he does not use hand pressure except for really close work. Fine-grained hardwoods such as teak (jati), and strong fruit trees such as jackfruit (nangka), the compact sawo (a beautiful dark red wood), shiny ebony (ebon), tamarind, hibiscus, frangipani, and kayu jepun are the most popular carving woods.

The texture of the grain determines the nature of the piece to be carved. Dark ebony, particularly pieces with striped grain, are best suited for vertical shapes or faces. Rarer are pieces made of unpolished ebony (sanded and brushed only) where you can make out the grain in the wood. The blackest ebony might be used to depict a subject of great dignity. Satinwood, a light striped, beige-colored wood native to Bali, may inspire pieces of a softer theme. The grain often follows a skin pattern or veins in the arms of the statue.

The tradition is, if the statue is not to be gilded or painted it is made smooth with pumice and given a high polish by rubbing it with bamboo. These finished carvings were once treated and stained with oils to achieve a subtle gloss, but now Balinese artisans find that neutral or black shoe polish gives the same result and takes less time.

At the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) near Bedulu, Gianyar – elaborate Buddhist style carvings cover the entrance near the cave. This carving dates to 9th Century. Woodcarvings is largely links to religious tradition and  to Pura (small private temples) in Balinese home.

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Woodcarving for commercial purpose probably started around 1935. The Dutch traders firstly introduce Balinese woodcarving to Europe. Until now, a lot of Dutch Museum still have a huge collection of Balinese woodcarving. The Dutch take-over of Southern Bali in 1906-1908 not only destroyed the traditional courts of the island but it also shattered the old system of art production. There were new types of art showing up, and the artists made works that were commodities instead of items of religious use of content. This has an important impact on the production of carvings which could now be made and sold at tourist spots all around Indonesia.

For the best collections of Balinese wood carving, the visitor should go to the FA Siadja Wood Carving gallery in the village of Mas in Ubud. It holds a wide selection of carving from 1930s to current style worked in many different kind of wood.

– Lielo

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MODIFY – MINI PROJECT

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Last weekend Ade, me and Joel, our good friend (and fellow photographer – 2XWORKS) went into the woods to work out some idea’s we had for a while. The week before we already practiced a bit on different technique’s and materials and this weekend we wanted to continue this mini project. It’s a quite time-consuming project and due to the change of weather we had to stop, but we will continue working on this concept in the upcoming weeks.

 

Inspired by the human urge to modify everything they see, eat, know. And CMT trees.

 

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– Lielo

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BACK IN HOLLAND + CIREBON MASK

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We’re back in Holland! Still a bit jet-lagged but at least we took the sun with us!

Last week Ade started working again and his first customer requested to do a traditional Cirebon dancing-mask. Masks are used during important dancing rituals in Indonesia for over a thousand years. Sometimes the mask dance can be performed by solo dancers, or it can also be performed by several people. Masks are used to create more than the character in a drama. Graceful hand and body movements, and accompaniment by the music of a Gamelan, are hallmarks of Javanese mask dance. The dance is performed on special occasions for local officials, or for other traditional celebrations. The Topeng, is a performance which enacts stories from the times of the old Balinese and Javanese kingdoms and creates a link with the ancestor world. The three types of masks used in these dramas are; humans, animals, and demons.The powerful lines of a mask catch the light with a greater impact than that of a human face alone, and the stability of the mask’s features has an intensity stronger than that of a human expression. The masks are almost always carved from wood, mask makers combine different materials like boar’s teeth, horsehair, jewels, gold leaf, Chinese coins, buffalo hide, rabbit pelts, and mirrors. The glossy effect is created by endless sanding and at least 40 coats of paint.

Underneath here you can see a small video of a traditional Cirebon mask dance:

 

 

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BATIK STAMPS

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Ade’s last piece is based on the Batik pattern, called Wahyu Tumurun from Yogjakarta. Wahyu Tumurun literally means ‘Divine blessing’ or ‘Revelation’. This motive is a symbol for humans wish for God’s blessing and enlightenment. Mostly people wear this batik if they’re hoping for a job promotion or recognition by their peers and superiors or simply to attain a better and prosperous life.

One of the tools they use to make a batik pattern on the traditional clothing of Indonesia like the one shown above are batik stamps. I’ve always been highly fascinated by those stamps. Batik stamps, or mostly called ‘cap‘, was invented around 1845 and mostly made of copper. Sometimes you will find batik stamps made of wood. The stamps are used to make the process of making batik easier.

They are used by dipping them into hot wax (Bee-wax) mixed with paraffin and applied to the cloth in a design. Then the cloth is dipped into a dye. All of the areas of the cloth that are covered with the wax do not absorb the dye and remain in their original color. When the cloth is dry, more wax is applied and then the cloth is dyed again, usually in a more darker color. This process will be continued until the desired design is completed. After that the wax is removed completely by ‘melting’ the cloth.

The stamps itself are great works of art. The’re made with total precision and eye for detail. I like to collect those stamps myself and I spend many hours wandering around on flea-markets to find these beautiful objects!

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(Click for bigger size)

For customers from Indonesia:

Ade is not booking in new customers for tattoo-appointments in the time that he will be here in Indonesia (Until 5 June). Thank you for all of your emails! He wishes he could work out all of them, but there’s not enough time to handle all of your requests.  Ade will probably return back to Indonesia later this year, so you can still send an email with your idea’s, placement and size to thisis369@gmail.com

Just keep an eye on the blog to know where Ade is working at the moment! 

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