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Selly Sagita

Artisan Organization: Selly Sagita

Country: Bali & Java

"'Always remember someone's kindness to you, but forget the unkindness.' This is my motto and I believe it has made me who I am today. Remembering kindnesses makes me thankful to God in every situation.

"I was born in a small city in Central Java Province. My father was a Chinese immigrant who owned a small bicycle service shop, and my mother was from Yogyakarta. When I was born as the youngest of eight children, she was working as a midwife. My family was very poor at that time but I was fortunate to be able to attend a public school where and I was considered a bright student and received certificates of recognition for academic achievement.

"After junior high, I went to Yogyakarta to pursue a higher education. My parents could support me only until high school so, for university, I had to earn my own money for everything. I started teaching English and worked other jobs at the same time. I was tired, but I was happy. My classes gave me experience and, after I graduated from the university, I worked as a lecturer.

"I have two children, a daughter and a son who are both adults now and have very good lives. I'm very proud of them.

"After I got married, I lived near a silver village with my husband, who was a builder. A lot of tourists walked by my house so I thought my husband and I could take this chance to have a silver shop. My English could be useful. So that's how I became involved with silver work. No one taught me. I learned by doing so I could understand all the processes from A to Z.

"The hardest time in my life was from 1995-2000. I was in debt for a large amount of money and sales were slowing down because of the political situation. I struggled hard and prayed and, after giving my best effort, I left it to God's mercy. Thank God everything was resolved in a good way. Now I believe that sparing time to have moments with God is the best way to have a clear mind and be able to solve our problems.

"My filigree jewelry is uniquely assembled from silver strands and it requires skill to form a beautifully-detailed piece of jewelry. The most difficult stage of this process is the final forming that allows a design to be worn comfortably.

"To appreciate the finest techniques of this traditionally hand-made detailed jewelry, I always add this tag line to my designs — 'Contemporary by Tradition.'""

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