A Celebration of Creativity and Handmade Crafts

Photography By Bagus Tri Laksono

Two Bali-based design studios Ong Cen Kuang and Eva Natasa launched an event called Artisanal Initiative. It was a platform of sharing ideas and knowledge between related elements of Indonesia’s creative industry. The event took place in Ong Ceng Kuang workshop and gallery in Kuta Utara, Bali, from 4 to 7 October 2018. It consisted of several events including a dialogue, workshops, and pop-up artisan market and dinner.

Roundtable Dialogue

The event kicked off with a dialogue between designers and artisans in Roundtable Dialogue. The participants were Budi Lim of BLA, Melia Lim Masulin of BYO Living, Winata of Du’Anyam, Abie Abdillah of Studio Hiji, Santi Alaysius and Hamphrey Tedja of Domisilium Studio, Michela Foppiani of Gaya Ceramic, Eko Priharseno of AEDI, Jindee Chua of Cush Cush Gallery, Hermawan Dasmanto of ARA Studio, and Made Arsana Yasa of Tarum Bali.

Discussion topics include the danger of money-oriented crafts, the Indonesian market’s need for education about appreciating crafts, and future trends in crafts. There was no conclusion taken by the participants nor the moderator, leaving the audience to decide for themselves which stance they were taking.

Artisan Dinner

Twelve seats were reserved for a special dinner at Ong Cen Kuang’s workshop. Contrasting with the raw warehouse ambiance, the almost five-metre long table was fully covered with hydrangea and marigold flowers. Ceramic plates and cups from Gaya Ceramic were set on the table in a way that they appeared to be floating above the flowers. Ong Cen Kuang’s Mekar pendant lamps were strung with twigs and hanged above the table. The set up was totally a surprise to the guests.

The four-course meal was prepared by Chef Ryoichi Kano from Tirtha Bridal, which included a main course of beef sirloin with mushroom and natural beef juice. Guests enjoyed the delicious menu paired with wine over a friendly conversation.


For crafters or craft lovers, making things with your own hands gives a sense of satisfaction. On this note, Artisanal Initiative conducted workshops, including a “Construct Your Own Lamp” by Budiman Ong and “Plants, Water and Hands” by Naruse Kiyoshi. Budiman encouraged the participants to explore a few materials to then be developed into a lamp design. Amongst the materials were yarn, paper, linen and ribbon. Naruse taught participants how to make paper from old banana tree, colour it with a tie-dye technique and create marble designs on paper. Each workshop went from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Artisan Market

Booths of craft and food plus a coffee truck were open at the Artisans’ Market from morning until late afternoon. The pop-up market offers goods made of bamboo, rattan, recycled bottle, traditional weaved cloths from diverse places in Indonesia, and more. Du’Anyam, a social enterprise that focuses on wicker products based on Indonesian culture and natural resources, also took part in the event. Artisanal Initiative plans to hold another pop-up market next year.

The food booths offered traditional dishes like gado-gado and ketoprak, while the coffee truck serves not only coffee but also customised Indonesian snack like flat-shaped kue putu.

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Vira Tanka
Having her bachelor degree from Visual Communication Design of Bandung Institute of Technology, she explored her other interest in writing by being a writer for TV programs and travel magazines. Always keeping her love for the art, she actively sketches just about everything, from urban landscape to nature, in between writing projects.
Bagus Tri Laksono