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Made Sriasih

Artisan Organization: Made Sriasih

Country: Bali and Java

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"I was born in 1964 in Celuk, a small village in Bali where the silver crafts are of world-class quality. I feel so lucky that I was born there, where hopes in life keep increasing, especially when tourism is at its best. Celuk village is one of our most important tourist destinations where you can see, learn about and buy silver jewelry and souvenirs.

"My parents were farmers and, because they were farmers, they had a lot of time after planting season. When they had spare time, they learned to be silver artisans. The skills of a silver artisan didn't earn money at that time — they were only good for helping the community and helping to repair temples until regencies such as Kuta and Ubud evolved for tourism purposes. Then Celuk was also impacted, and people could make a living as silver artisans. Many people's lives have been changed by working with silver.

"As the sixth child of seven brothers and sisters, I used to watch my parents and everyone else working with silver. Naturally, I got into learning about silver myself when I was very young. My father was the one who taught me how to work with silver. Like other kids, I also finished my formal education until I got a bachelor's degree. I think education is very important, even though I don't need to use my degree. I decided to continue my career in silver, which I had been learning since 1972.

"Though I love making silver jewelry, when I was very young, I also loved traditional dance. I used to dance in my neighborhood community. My friends say that I'm a busy and creative person who loves to share everything. Now I am married to a man who is also a silver artisan. We haven't been blessed with children yet, though we are happy. And people of my age, including me, understand that family is what is most important in life. For me, spending time with family is priceless. We can share our stories and inspire and motivate each other.

"In my workshop, there are six people — three men and three women — who help me make jewelry. I create the design, and my helpers work on it. My designs are all influenced by ancient kingdoms, but they are given a modern touch and adjusted for modern design. The tools are just ordinary tools, such as scissors, pliers and a stove. Crafting silver jewelry is my passion, and that passion finally paid me back in 2011. I received an award from the State Minister for Women's Empowerment through the BNI (Indonesian Bank), in the framework of Kartini Day as an 'Indonesian Woman Entrepreneur.'

"I raised my standards to achieve the best in silver jewelry. In both quality and quantity, the demand is always high. Over the years, my income has improved. I hope I can always give everyone great jewelry."

Original Artisan Story

Made Sriasih was born in Bali in a village long renowned as the island's center of silver production. Her father was one of the senior silversmiths, well trained in the jewelry arts. This skill was passed on to his daughter from the time she was 12 years old until she got married. She learned how to select quality material and create her pieces with precision, employing the village's traditional motifs and designs.

Although Sriasih studied anthropology in college, she decided to start her own silver workshop with the support of her husband. Currently she gives work to ten other artisans. It hasn't always been easy for her, but she always remembers the sage words of one client, who said, Success won't fall down from the sky and, if you want it, you must try hard to reach it. Each time he comes to Ni Made Sriasih's workshop, they laugh together, remembering that moment."

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