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Mark Andrew in Bali Part 2  Egret 24 inches square limestone, Mark Andrew

By Robin Winfree-Andrew

On Monday, I get to go on my first visit to the carving workshop, Jepun Bali, where I hope to meet Ketut, the owner, and see what Mark has been doing. The rental motorbike is delivered at 9am, and shortly thereafter we pile on the bike to set out on the 20 minute drive to Batubulan. I have planned to stay the whole day, so that Mark can carve a full day; so I plan to visit the Bali Bird Park across the road from the carving workshop, then meet Mark for lunch. When we arrive, I get introduced to the young men who are working there, about 6 of them; predictably, there is Made, Wayan, Kedak, etc., all these names we have become familiar with. The Balinese have a unique way of naming their children, whether they are boys or girls: #1 is Wayan or Putu, #2 is Nyoman, #3 is Gede or Kedak, and #4 is Ketut.  Simple!  But very confusing… fortunately everyone has a second name that they are usually known by or no one would ever keep it straight!  

Two locals working in the studio alongside of MarkI am amazed at the scene in the workshop: sculptures stacked everywhere, leaving a small path to move around the workspace. In one tiny corner, Mark has his mural pinned to the wall with lag bolts – the only power tool they use is a drill for this – and he is almost done with his lovely mural of frangipani (Jepun), or plumeria as it is called in Hawaii. Covering the walls are murals of all sizes, filled with plants, birds, animals, fish, or gods and goddesses. It is really mind boggling to see how simple it all is; the workspace is only about the size of our greenhouse at home (15x20ft.) and yet all these people are sitting, chatting, working, smoking, snacking, singing along to the radio, having a ball and working hard. And the output is amazing as well. 

Some of the simple stone carving chisels used in BaliWhen I first arrive, one worker is hacking away at a small statue, with an AX; another one is putting the finishing details on a pedestal, using tiny little hammer strokes to gently chisel the finest details; another has painted a limestone sign they have carved for a business in Japan; it is a scene of great industry on a cottage level. Next door, Ketut’s brother also has a stone carving workshop; his is about twice as big and equally as full of workers and stone in all phases of production. All I can do is wander and exclaim over the beautiful scenes and sculptures that have been created here! Mark has completed his frangipani mural, which is about 2’x2’ square, in 4 pieces; all with the flat metal chisels that the Balinese carvers use. His bottom is very tender from sitting on a square stone to work (fortunately, he was able to pad it with a folded towel from the hotel!), and so he is ready for his end-of-workday massage when he is done for the day!

With Mark’s carving done and our trip ending, we delivered our thank you gift to Pak Ketut, the owner of Jepun Bali. He has become such a friend and colleague for Mark. There are handshakes all around, and many thanks given. It will be fun to get home and then have the shipment of stone arrive sometime this summer (June or July), and see all that beautiful white Indonesian limestone that we so lovingly chose in Batubulan! But for now, it is hard to leave these gentle and fun people with whom Mark has spent so much time in the past few weeks. We can only hope that we will be able to return.

Finished limestone Frangipani panel, Mark AndrewThe same goodbyes happen at the hotel as well, as we prepare to catch our airplane. It is exciting to go home and see our family and friends, and get back into the rhythm of an Oregon spring; and it is bittersweet to leave this quiet retreat that has been such a healing space. We have lots of wonderful memories, pictures, and even a few videos, to reminisce with and to share.