Artisan Organization: Wayan Asmana
Country: Bali and Java
"My name is Wayan Asmana and I was born in 1957 in Celuk, Bali. Celuk is a beautiful and peaceful village and also a place for great silver jewelry art. Starting from dawn until twilight, people are busy working with silver. Almost all people in Celuk work with silver, including my parents.
"My parents have worked with silver for a long time; this business is passed from generation to generation. They are native people from Celuk, it makes them understand the culture and also the art of making good silver jewelry. And the benefit of that is I can learn it from my parents. I inherited the ability of making jewelry of good quality.
"I am the fifth child of seven siblings. I had already learned how to make silver jewelry while I was in primary school. Not only how to handle tools and choose good materials, but also how to make silver jewelry of my own design. In senior high school I started to make jewelry of my own design and sell it. By making jewelry, I could pay for my schooling and daily needs.
"I love making silver jewelry, not only because I inherited it from my ancestors, but also because the silver jewelry business is a long-lasting business that can be relied on. Another thing that I love is playing the Balinese gamelan (a traditional Balinese instrument). When I was younger I used to play football, but now I love doing yoga and walking as exercise.
"I am married to a beautiful woman and now we have three children. I feel so grateful to have children; a lot has changed in our life. We can not just live this life like we used to do it. Now we have to plan all things carefully so we can live our lives happily. Another thing that is in my head is how to motivate my children to have a better life than me. As young people, they should dream big and achieve big.
"Family living with peace and happiness is the thing that makes me feel good. I feel succeed in providing for my family when all of them are happy. I would like to teach my children about silver jewelry, and I hope that one of them will carry on this business and make it bigger. To live happily is everybody‚Äôs dream, but not all of them know how to make that dream come true. And I hope that all living things could be happy so we can make a peaceful and joyful world. Because for me, life can be beautiful and peaceful if everyone around us is a good person, and they also spread love.
"I feel grateful that in my art shop there is peace and our lives are beautiful. There are 15 people who work in my shop. And I as the owner have a responsibility to create peace in our working atmosphere. One way to do that is I have to understand each of them to manage their work and to give them the right job so they can work happily and meet deadlines.
"To work with silver is great for me personally, because that makes me a guardian who is keeping this culture alive. And I am so relieved that I have been working with Novica for years. One of the reasons I can continue this business is because of Novica. I can give my family a decent house, decent food and I can support my children‚Äôs education. My sales from Novica contribute around 50% of my income. I hope I can satisfy my customers so that the people who buy my products will also be glad to wear my jewelry. And that also makes them the guardians of my culture."
Original Artist Story
Wayan Asmana is a master silversmith from Sukawati, long regarded as Bali's most important jewelry center. Asmana learned his craft when he was in elementary school but only when he was in senior school did his father teach him how to make gold accessories. Wayan Asmana senior is unquestionably a renowned jewelry maker and designer.
When Asmana returned to his village after going away to college, he married his beautiful bride, Wayan Asmariani. Then he set about starting his own jewelry workshop where he designed and crafted a variety of gold and silver accessories. Business began to flourish and tourists were his main customers. Unfortunately, events such as the World Trade Center attacks and the Legian-Kuta bombing had a very bad impact on Bali's tourism trade, which in turn affected Asmana's work.
Setting up on his own was difficult. Asmana tells of the time, three years ago, when a foreign tourist bought almost $1,200 worth of jewelry. When the artisan went to the bank to change the dollars into into rupiah, he was told the money was counterfeit. There was nothing he could do about it.
"I am thankful that God gave me a chance to work with you," he says. My jewelry is now known in many different countries, and my family and I feel so much this uplift in our economic life, thanks to you. We hope to work with you forever. I will continue to work harder and better to please everyone. Thank you so much!""