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Nyoman Rely

Artisan Organization: Nyoman Rely

Country: Bali and Java

"I was born March 3, 1969, in Sukawati, Bali. In Bali, people are tied to tradition so we aren't expected to move away. Today, most people in my neighborhood prefer to work in construction instead of wood or stone carving. This is because the economy in my country now makes people pursue their needs, not their skills or talents.

"My parents had a small shop selling groceries, so our living conditions were limited. I learned silver work when I was in elementary school — my father taught me. By senior high school, I was able to pay my school fees with the money I earned from working in silver.

"I'm a married woman with two daughters and one son. My daughters are both in the university while my son is in his first year of elementary school. Since orders for silver are constantly decreasing, my husband and I decided to split our work. He still works in silver and I started a new project, which is stone carving. Friends taught me and, by observing my friends work in stone, I myself became more interested.

"I bring my designs to life with the help of four stone carvers that my friends recommended. I always involve elements of Balinese culture in my designs. Proudly, I want to introduce the beauty of Bali's cultures.

"We work principally with limestone brought from Java. Sometimes the colors might be slightly different, since my designs are crafted of natural stone. The tools we use are very traditional ones, like hammers and chisels.

"My friend Wayan Suessen, a Novica-featured wood carver, introduced me to Novica. I hope you like my designs, and that your purchases will help me pay for my children's school fees. I want them all to be able to graduate from the university.""