Having these two highly trained and skilled carvers working with us at the studio/warehouse is a dream come true for me. It is a dream I have had for over fifteen years. I have collected ideas, made drawings, and found photographs for even longer than that, hoping someday to find someone who could to bring these ideas to life.
This was the most exciting thing that happened for me on this last and most fruitful trip to Bali. It took many, many conversations with many people to actually hire the two best carvers I have ever found. I am utterly grateful for the chance to see how well the ideas in my head translate into bas-reliefs and sculpture made of wood.
The carvers were able to start working for me only five days before I left Bali. That’s all the time I had for them to get settled, meet everyone at the warehouse, and become familiar with what wood is available for their use. Only after those introductions were made could we could start looking at the projects I had in mind. The carvers only speak Indonesian and I only speak English. There was so much to convey and so little time in which to do it. We were also packing the container for America at the same time and there were a dozen other projects that had to be completed before the container could go out successfully.
By the end of their first day the carvers had selected wood for their first projects. I had given them a list of project drawings and photographs and let them choose where they wanted to start. They were to be left on their own for months at a time so they might as well start to get used to their new independence.
In their previous job, they were really “tools,” directed daily down to the minutest details. Not here. Not now.
They must be enjoying the freedom given their shockingly high level of high quality productivity during their first two weeks at DAC Studios.
On the second day, when I walked into their workspace and saw what they had already done, tears came quite suddenly. I realized how much and for how long I had wanted to have great carvers in the studio. I knew at that moment, that this experiment would work, that we would make some amazing art. In the next few days I changed, rearranged, and altered parts of the pieces that they were working on. I have seen two of the pieces that you now have pictures of, so I know the photographic translation, from wood relief to photo. You may not yet, from these photos, be able to see what amazing work they are doing. They are brilliant carvers.
They said that the work I gave them would take well over four months to complete. It looks like they are a quarter done in less than two weeks. I know that there will be changes to be made when I return to Bali. I know this is our getting-to-know-you period, and it is all experimentation and learning, but these fellows did not wait to get to know me, they jumped in with both feet, and I am hugely gratified by what I see in these photographs.
These men are good!
I hope you can share my excitement and joy. Realized dreams are damned cool.