Ubud…sorta like Penland, only not.

Ubud is an artist enclave. The place is practically drowning in master stone carvers, but there is also a healthy number of painters, potters, jewelers and even some glass blowers. On John Hardy’s advice, we went to visit a masterful Raku and ceramics shop called Gaya Ceramic, and a glassblower named Ron Seivertson relocated from California.

Both places were set up as a gallery, production center, and workshop for classes. Both places had the master craftsman and then production teams with varying specialties and skill levels. Both took orders from world brands and participated in exhibits on the world stage. And both were very small unassuming operations where you wouldn’t know any of this unless you asked many questions, which we did.

Gaya Ceramic has an impressive work space filled with soft light. The space made even opaque pottery and ceramic glow from the inside out.

Gaya Ceramic production area

beautiful light of the Gaya Ceramic production area

Gaya Ceramic production area

The light is filtered through a large tent-like ceiling made of what looks like incredibly thick treated canvas

Gaya Cramic

What you may not be able to tell from this picture is that these coffee-cup shapes are actually giant, like 2 feet in diameter

Gaya Ceramic for Donna Karan

These pieces are being shipped to NYC for a Donna Karan collection. They are beautiful and delicate.

Gaya Ceramic production samples

We got a look at the upstairs sample room, which was filled with pieces to order. There were cupboards designated specifically to their top client collections, like Donna Karan, Bvlgari, Armani etc. Seriously, this 4000 sq ft facility that incorporated the gallery, production, stocking and inventory and shipping areas supplies top luxury brands all over the world.

After leaving Gaya, we visited a glass blower named Ron Seivertson. His work is fantastic and some at fantastic prices. We saw one piece that was priced at $3 billion (which, admittedly isn’t as much as all that since the Indonesian currency is at roughly 10,000 to 1 US Dollar, so $300,000). The super duper prices were from a gallery exhibition involving 4 designers who collaborated together, one of which was an archeologist. There were incredible dinosaur heads and “fossils” all made actually of glass…

Ron Seivertson, Dinosaur

Dinosaur head made of blown glass

Ron Seivertson, Horizon Glassworks

There were more traditional approaches to glass works as well, at prices I could handle, except for the toting-a-delicate-object-around-Indonesia-ad-then-home part.

Ron Seivertson, Horizon Glassworks

I especially liked a series of collaborative pieces with a local painter. The basic glass piece would be blown and the painter would paint on top of it, and then a layer of glass would be blown over the top to encase the painting inside the glass.

These places, Horizon Glassworks and Gaya Ceramic, were only 2 of a huge number of artisan workshops in Ubud. You could spend days visiting various artists and weeks taking classes from them. These 2 places, at least, felt very authentic despite being intentionally set up for tourists. We hope to spend more time in the Ubud artisan area and learn more about how artists come to live and work here in the midst of people like us tromping all through their day asking questions and oohing and ahhing all the time.

Read Aly’s take for additional viewpoints on our artisan visits.

2 thoughts on “Ubud…sorta like Penland, only not.

  1. Pingback: Expat Workshops « Aly's blog

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