2015 March

From the monthly archives:

March 2015



I know that most of you will understand what it means when I say I can’t keep my hands still. When I was packing my bag for the trip to Indonesia I had to pack wisely for 6 months and so I divided the weight allowance into 40% sports gear, 40% tools and drawing kit and 20% everything else. It took just over one month and my hands got restless. It is also that in this period of time I have seen enough to be inspired and want to make!

There are two topics I wold like to discuss through my work this time. First one is rather heavy and therefore, I will share it with you when I will be able to provide also some visual background related to the issue. The second topic is pollution. This issue bothers me here a lot and so it is important for me to communicate that in a way I know the best…..making.

Place where I source my materials is a local beach. You can find there anything, literally. Tons of rubbish is washed out on to the beaches and back to the sea every day. It is, therefore, no wander that there are many people searching piles of garbage on the beach for something reusable. Most frequent item on our beech is flip flop, then plastic balls and toys.  Interestingly, it is organic material though that gets picked! Beach wood, bamboo, whole wooden logs, coconuts and etc seems to hold a value. This material is then used for building beach shacks, resold or used as firewood.

As I am trying to adapt local ways of doing things, I too, selected my main material to be organic, to be more specific I am using washed out coconut shells in combination with recycled plastics. So for past week I have been going to the beach every day to collect coconut shells which I then clean by filling and sanding and cut into shapes. This process is taking bit longer than anticipated. It is simply due to luck of efficient working environment I am used to.

Not having my working bench and tools I am used to makes big difference.  One can me flexible and innovative, for example using kitchen utensils for measuring and marking, yet trying to file or sand on my knee makes my skin bruise, cutting on glass garden table freaks me out as it can be damaged easily and not having with me rite selection of tools is the biggest problem.  When I was packing my tool kit for Indonesia I had to be selective and I didn’t know what I would be making…… I even attempted to buy wood file and sand paper here and that was not that straight forward! First hardware store I went to send me to a stationary shop when I asked for sand paper and file. You can guess what they thought I was after.

I still don’t have the right file as it seems that whole Bali sold out all files. By the way, name for hand file in Bahasa Indonesia is KIKIR, just in case you are interested to know.


This is all I am going to share with you today. I will keep you updated on how is my making going; however, I will not reveal the design until the exhibition.


Have you ever been wondering where all those pretty rounded pebbles that you see set in paths around Ubud or in your plant pot back at home come from? No? Don’t worry, me neither, till I found their origin by a chance.

It was one morning when I went for run on the beach (Pantai Saba) in Bali, when I noticed all these women collecting something from the sand. So I stopped to look what it was that they are collecting and saw they are picking black pebbles.

For some reason I found it fascinating. I don’t think I have ever thought about origin of pretty garden pebbles that we can relatively cheaply buy at home in our garden centres. Sure, I noticed beautiful motives made of these pebbles in streets of Bali. Of course, I knew there would be a human behind the logistics. I just didn’t give it a deeper thought and imagined that there might be actually somebody sitting whole day long in bright hot sun fully covered in clothing to protect themselves from it’s rays and  carefully picking one by one, making sure to select only one size in so many.

This event made me realized just how people are capable of creating job position out of anything if needed. I got curious, what is a value of these stones and how much money these women are being payed.

So I started to ask around in my limited Bahasa Indonesia which result very confusing answers! However, I was able to find out that for one full rice sac women gets something between 50-70 000IDR = $5-7AUD. This is apparently enough to buy groceries for a day for whole family.

It apparently takes one day (with some breaks) to collect full sac (I am guessing about 50Kg). The speed of picking depends greatly on whether it is high or low tight and what size of stones one is picking up. There is demand for all sizes, however, small ones are more pricy as it takes much longer to collect. These sacs of pebbles are at the end of the day collected from all picking women by a man and taken to wholesaler.

The wholesaler sells individual 10Kg or 20Kg bags or uses them to create stepping tiles, plant pots, water features and etc, which they sell later too.

10Kg bag of pebbles about 40x20mm large cost 35 000IDR ($3.5AUD), the same size pebbles, but in 2Kg bag cost 45 000IDR ($4.5AUD). 10Kg of really small pebbles about 20x10mm cost 45 000IDR ($4.5AUD).

In Australia you can purchase decorative garden pebbles between $6 – 28AUD for 10Kg bag (Bunnings Warehouse). This price that we pay in Australia may appear to us cheap if buying one or two bags or expensive if trying to cover whole driveway with them. Nevertheless, the point is that it is ludicrous that somebody somewhere (certainly Bali is not the only place where pebbles comes from) is being payed $5-7AUD a day to be fried in the sun and to pick these pebbles.


We should treasure anything that comes in to our hands as the value of it may be greater than what we pay.




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