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woodcarvers preserving their unique skills for many generations.

  • 6 min read
Woodcarvers from Bali preserve their talent since many generations.

Mimalis works closely with VP Forever to ensure that all products of the Forever Label are made locally and by people that don’t or hardly have any other source of income. Together we source our materials at local markets, we connect with local craftsmen and women in local villages and we work closely together with all our manufacturers and producers. Everyone who works for or with Mimalis is guaranteed a fair wage, sustainable support and an honest and transparent working relationship.

For you as a customer we feel obliged to share the stories of the people behind your product. Not only as a way to be 100% transparent and open about the way we work and how we support them, but also to involve you in that process and to create that connection with your product that is often missing with mass production products.

Wooden comb
Wooden hairpin

When we started working with VP Forever to design products, we realized how important it is to create a collection of items that are unique to a country. It is our common goal and mission to support and empower those craftsmen and women who have amazing talent and skills, but not able to work due to the crisis. In our search for crafts that are typical to Bali, Indonesia, we found that woodcarving can’t be missed in our collection. And that is how we met Kadek.

Wood carving and Bali

Before we introduce Kadek, we want to share  a little bit of history. The history of Balinese wood carving can be traced back many centuries and is of Hindu-Javanese origin. It was started by artisans from the Majapahit Kingdom who later expanded to the Balinese territory in the 13th century.

Wood carved panel. Photo source: Throomers.
Wood carved door. Photo source: Getty Images.

Wood carving developed in Bali as a way to express spiritual devotion and up until the last century, carvings were exclusively used in temples and palaces. Decorative panels and doors, figures of Balinese Gods and masks were created for ceremonial use and often they were used to scare away bad spirits.  When European artists came to Ubud in the 1920s and 30s, the Balinese started to create carvings for artistic and commercial purposes as well.  

The story of Kadek

Kadek Kariasa was born in a small village South of Ubud, central Bali, Indonesia. He comes from a well known family of woodcarvers. When we were prospecting together with VP Forever to find talented woodcarvers, everyone in the area pointed us to Kadek and his family. 

The wood carving skills have been in his family for generations. Both his mother and father are woodcarvers. Unfortunately they are getting too old, they are not strong enough anymore to work.

“ Woodcarving is not only a skill that asks for perfection and creativity, but physically it is also demanding, you need strong muscles”

Kadek Kariasa

His parents taught him everything. All the different tools (there are about 35!) and the different knives they use. Wood carving is not a simple craft, it is actually a way of art and a combination of creativity, commitment and perfection.
As the talent runs in his blood, it was easy to pick up and continue his parents’ work.

Since the pandemic hit Bali tremendously and the tourism industry came to a standstill, Kadek (who worked as a tour guide and driver for a large tour company) came back to his village and wood carving became his daily activity. 

Kadek is not the only one. Everyone who worked in tourism before the pandemic was forced to come back to their village. Kadek and his friends and brothers created a small team of woodcarvers to work with. To create art together and to gain income to provide for their families and survive this crisis.

Our wooden comb and hairpins are all, one by one, handmade by Kadek and his team.
Every piece is unique, every piece is made with lots of effort and love.

With these products, we can support Kadek and his co-workers with a much needed income. But we also feel that it is important to preserve these amazing crafts. 
Bali is well known for a lot of things and in the past years the tourism industry has been growing a lot. Traditional crafts and skills can easily be forgotten and we are grateful that through the Forever Label, we can, together with VP Forever, be part of this.

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