How the Journey Began

Posted by Meeka Cook on

Bali is known as the island of a million artists. Indeed, the abundance of talent on the island has been the driving force behind the development of Bali’s impressive cottage industry marketplace. When I first landed in Bali 30 years ago, I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of families displaying their wares on the side of the road. Upon further investigation the little workshops in the back of their homes revealed themselves. Shy children would often peek out at me from behind the backs of their mom or dad as he or she proudly showed off the special talents of their family members. I also loved the organization of how each village had a specialty. As I drove my little Suzuki jeep through the narrow winding roads, I had to pull over dozens of times in different villages that specialized in wood flowers and masks or stone carvings. A lot has changed since my first visit in 1987. The variety of products available has increased tenfold. One can now find fiberglass lamps, water features, mosaic mirrors, photo albums, and blown glassware. There are baskets and bags made from palm leaf, banana leaf and tall grass. There is no end to the ingenuity of the Balinese in using natural materials. The craftsmanship of the Balinese coupled with the ideas of entrepreneurs worldwide has led to the creation of a menagerie of products much too diverse to name individually. That fateful first trip to Bali inspired me to get busy and carve a niche for myself. I began to import goods into the USA.

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