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NOVICA Artisan Ketut Wida Haryati

Ketut Wida Haryati

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I was born in a cool green farming village in Gianyar, Bali. I am the fourth of eight children. None of my brothers or sisters loves art except for me. Dancing and painting are two of my hobbies. From elementary school through secondary school I frequently performed Balinese dances both in school and outside school.

I wanted to continue my studies at an art school, but my parents, brothers, and sisters didn't have the same opinion as I did. They wanted me to study something other than art as, in their opinion, art isn't the right way to make a good living. Thus, I studied economy.

"I worked at a bank in Denpasar and at a furniture company in Kuta, and from this I learned about doing business. Motivated by family, I started working on my own making varied shapes and motifs from ate grass.

"Here is a story about something that once happened to me. My love for art led me to create something new. At the time, people produced ate items in natural hues or colored with paint. I began experimenting and was able to produce a colored handbag without the use of paints or anything like that. (I have kept the process secret ever since.) I put my first creation, a beautiful handbag, in an art shop to see how people would like it. The next day a tourist from Japan came over and her guide, who was also a friend of mine, told her that the handbag cost two million rupiahs. I couldn't believe she wanted to pay so much for such a handbag. I could hardly tell her that the bag was not for sale – that it was my first creation and I wanted to keep it. That was the only time I ever said no to a buyer with a really good price.

"Sadly I've seen trends change, and demand for my ate bags has seriously decreased. What's more, the price of ate has increased so much I was unable to keep up so I've had to make a decision and work on something different. Fortunately I still had the facilities. I realized that demand for yoga wear has increased in Bali and that I had many ideas to create different designs for yoga apparel.

"I began by developing new ideas, and forming new collections, and the response has been good. I began working with cotton and rayon, but they didn’t seem to be so comfortable. When I switched to a rayon and Lycra blend, the response was great. I enjoy creating new designs for yoga, however they are versatile enough to be worn as apparel too!"