Profile&Potrait


    The Silver Lining

      1-3-2016
     

    The Silver Lining

    The Silver Lining

    The jewelry collection at Suarti's shop in Gianyar

    The Silver Lining

    Desak Nyoman Suarti
    The Silver Lining

    The Silver Lining
    The jewelry collection at Suarti's shop in Gianyar

    The Silver Lining
    Desak Nyoman Suarti

    We took a trip to Gianyar to meet an Ubud-born artist who found her taksu in silver jewelry...

    Born in the Suarti clan, art is in her blood. Her father was a notable painter and her dancing skills came from her mother. Talking to her is like watching an art performance – she talks, dances, and draws patterns with her hands at the same time. With a true calling in art, the jewelry that she impulsively crafted in her basement in New York has made her one of the most influential silver jewelers in Indonesia. As she takes us on a tour of the Suarti Design Center, Desak Nyoman Suarti (DNS) tells Bali & Beyond (BB) how silver has settled in her soul.

    BB: You were known as a dancer and painter. How did you become a “silver lady”?
    DNS: In the early ‘70s I went to Singapore to study design on a scholarship and teach Balinese dance. After a few years, it was either luck or simply faith, I managed to travel to Japan, Russia, and finally New York to teach traditional Balinese dance in remarkable universities, including NYU. At that time I started to combine my passion for painting and dancing onto stainless-based jewelry design. At first I only did this as a hobby, but then people actually liked it and started buying the earrings and bracelets I made. They requested more and suggested that I make silver-based jewelry. I took on the challenge and I didn’t know what got into me, maybe it was taksu that led me to meet a New Yorker shop owner not long after I created the jewelry. She asked if I wanted to make a trunk show at her store. Since I had nothing to lose, I said yes, and my silver-based jewelry has become novelty pieces in Indonesia and the USA ever since. People say it was my original Balinese patterns that made my creations popular, as it added a unique value to each one of them.

    BB: You mentioned taksu as part of the process. Is that some kind of an inspiration?
    DNS: Taksu is something you cannot look for. It is a Balinese aesthetic concept that comes with faithful prayer and serious intention. Before I start creating an art piece I always ask for blessings, and it is taksu that comes to answer my prayer. It then resides in every piece I make. It is one of the reasons why each of my silver pieces seems to have a charisma and successfully attracts people from all over the world. With my passion for art and taksu, I believe it is my destiny to keep on making silver jewelry to introduce Balinese and Indonesian art to the world.

    BB: How did you decide to turn this hobby into a business?
    DYS: I was born into a family of artists. My parents were noteworthy artists in Ubud, which made it quite easy to start an art-based business. In the ‘80s there were no designers in Bali. Everyone was either a painter or a dancer. So I thought, why don’t I become one of the first jewelry designers? Then I made a team for a home industry. I designed a pattern and sent silver materials to local people in Bali who were willing to earn their living by making jewelry items. This has been my way to support the local community as well. As they were eager to do more, my team got bigger and soon could make hundreds of hand-made pieces in a month! And they were always sold out on USA’s QVC (home-shopping TV channel) in merely two hours. Happy days!

    BB: What’s you’re biggest challenge as a silver jeweler?
    DYS: For me the hardest part is when you see your work being claimed by other people. I didn’t really care about copyrights until one day in 1986 someone claimed my design. I was about to give up but I thought that I needed to learn about public domain. Then with help from my father-in-law who was a lawyer, I won the case.

    BB: What’s in the future for you?
    DYS: There are a lot more jewelry designers now, and it is not easy to compete since many of them have decent quality. So instead of competing, I thought I would share my experience. I have set up a boutique villa named Suarti Village in Pengosekan, Ubud. It does not only serve as an accommodation, but as a workshop as well. I have sold my work on QVC in the USA, Italy and other countries, and now I will invite the people from these countries to visit the villa and stay there for a while to experience the making of silver jewelry. Workshops will be available every day and other facilities will also follow, such as a dance lessons, yoga classes, Balinese healing, and a visit to some rice fields in Ubud.

    I am also currently writing a book about the history and background of the patterns of the silver jewelry that I have made. The aim is to put the book in national libraries or universities so students can read and do in depth research before they start making artwork. I hope it will inspire the young generation and keep the Balinese heritage eternal.



       Author:  Team
      Magazine issue > Profile&Potrait
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