A wooden turtle

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During my vacation in Bali, Indonesia last month, I decided to take advantage of the many craft courses available in Ubud, Bali. Ubud is a town, and the hub of all that’s to do with arts, crafts and culture in Bali. Though my husband and I traveled to other cities / towns in Bali, Ubud remained my personal favourite because of it’s cultural scene. Every day is an excitement to look forward to. If it’s not the many art galleries and lovely art museums ( by the way, the museums in Ubud are actually beautiful, in the sense they have wonderful art collections and also the grounds they are built on have wonderful well-tended landscaping), then it’s the variety of courses one can take up in Ubud.

I was lucky to meet Made, my teacher who instructed me wonderfully for a 3 hour class, and helped me make my wooden turtle. ( Cost of class for 3 hours : 35 USD) At first when I walked into his studio, he asked me if I had any design in mind that I’d like carved out.Β  I said no since I had very little idea of how wooden items are carved but I was eager to learn. He showed me some examples of some simple wooden carvings he’d made, and asked me to choose which design I’d like to make. I eagerly fell for the cute turtle but in hindsight, I think I should have chosen the plain flower. Carving is no easy feat, at least not for a beginner!! I think I would have learnt more with the flower and felt more accomplished. I sweated the 3 hours, not because Bali is anyway quite humid, but because I didn’t want to destroy my turtle!! I was so panicky that I’d mess up my turtle that I was extremely focused on those 3 hours.

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My teacher, whose probably made hundreds of turtles already, was surprised at my insistence of having flowers on the front flippers of the turtle. I wanted my turtle to look just a little bit unique and fun!

Et voila!

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11 thoughts on “A wooden turtle

  1. You did this in 3 hours?! I’m confused it takes me more time to carve a spoon without flowers carved in their front flippers! You know what type of wood this turtle is made of?

    well done!

    • Hello Maarten!! My turtle’s made out of hibiscus wood, considered a soft wood which is good for carvings. You are right, that turtle, if it was left all upto me, would probably have taken me a few days to finish. I got a lot of help from my teacher! My teacher told me he had taken up woodcarving from his father at the age of 13, and it took him more than 2 years to be a confident wood carver. Hey, I’d love to see your works especially the spoon you spoke of! πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for the reply. I wish we had the climate of Bali together with some hibiscus :(. Carvers like your teacher rely on muscle memory and can work lightning fast, I truly admire those skills.

        looking forward to your pictures!

  2. Can you tell me how you found this wood carving place to teach you? Do you remember the name of it? I would really like to try this!
    Thank you!

    • Hello!! I am so sorry, I don’t remember the name of the place anymore, but if you have a trip to Bali, there are many such woodcarving classes to choose from! You can just ask the reception of any hotel if they can guide you to a woodcarver to give a class to teach you, and I am sure they will readily help you! Hope this helps!

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