The First Few Days in Bali

It’s been such a busy Bali so far– so writing on the blog is challenging to make time for.  There are so many more interesting things to do than type at a computer, but it is also great fun to share some of what’s been happening.   What follows is  a quick summary, told partly in pictures—how many pictures, the internet speed will determine. (Please forgive awkward formatting.. the computer’s being a bit unforgiving at present.)

Day 1. Arrival. The trip from the airport in Denpasar is relatively quick. We get in slightly later than anticipated, and go out for dinner at a warung down the street. Sleep is welcomed.

Day 2. Orientation. I see my room by daylight! After breakfast the whole group meets at the Wantilung at the hotel to get some of the basics of our schedule.  For me, every day will include a daily warmup, a class in topeng dance, and mask carving.

The door to my room has Dutch roots, as well as Balinese.
The door to my room has Dutch roots, as well as Balinese.
My room!
My room!

In the afternoon, we gather essentials, including sarongs and sashes for attending temple ceremonies.  We have a nice opening buffet dinner in downtown Ubud.

The view from inside my room, featuring Mt. Batur in the distance
The view from inside my room, featuring Mt. Batur in the distance

Day 3. Getting Some Perspective. We travel to a famous carver’s home in village of Mas. His name is I.B. Anom. He tells us about the general process of mask carving, the differences of process in the creation of sacred and profane masks. He also shares his gallery with us.

A sidewalk, or backway to the grocery store. It's almost like a  mini alley. Water irrigation systems follow these paths, feeding rice patties sequentially from the highlands to the sea.
A sidewalk, or backway to the grocery store. It’s almost like a mini alley. Water irrigation systems follow these paths, feeding rice patties sequentially from the highlands to the sea.
I.B. Anom discusses mask carving
I.B. Anom discusses mask carving

Below are some images of his work.

Mask by I.B. Anom
Mask by I.B. Anom
Mask by I.B. Anom
Mask by I.B. Anom

After we look at many masks, we head to  a nice hot springs to

Mask by I.B. Anom
Mask by I.B. Anom

recover from jet lag.  It was a couple of hours in  a crowded van, but it was worth it.

Me in a mask by I.B. Anom
Me in a mask by I.B. Anom

And so we ended the last day before classes.

Hot springs at Mt Batur!
Hot springs at Mt Batur!

Day 4. Topeng!

We have a great dance class with Gustu. Balinese dance has a lot to do with arms and legs. More on that later.

We arrive at our teacher Nyoman’s house with  only a little difficulty and a couple of confused Balinese neighbors.

He is a charming man with a great laugh.  We look at his studio, and prepare to work, but not before the drinking from the coconuts he offers.

Nyoman in one of his creations.
Nyoman in one of his creations.

He is a great help!  Once we (quickly) decide what we will carve, he gets us started.

We work for several hours as rains come and go. We carve while sitting on the floor, holding the mask between our feet.

My beginnings. I had lots of help :)
My beginnings. I had lots of help 🙂

I have decided to carve an old man half-mask.  If I am fast enough, I will make a second in a different style.

Garuda mask by Nyoman
Garuda mask by Nyoman
Unpainted masks in Nyoman's studio.
Unpainted masks in Nyoman’s studio.

Later that evening I am beginning to feel poorly. We see a kecak  performance by a local banjar and then a fire trance. Intense.

Day 5. Officially Ill.  I stay in bed all day with a fever, sleep, and a few episodes of Downton Abbey. I’m better now.

Day 6. Continuing Classes.  Feeling better, I observe the dance class and continue carving.

Now I am headed off to class! Selamat siang!

Beginning of second day of work on my half mask
Beginning of second day of work on my half mask
End of second day of work.
End of second day of work.
Nyoman with fellow students
Nyoman with fellow students

racc_orange_horiz

 

This trip funded in part by a grant from RACC.

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