Like a beloved family member I am possessive and protective of Bali. Bali, Yanti, and I, share old memories. At seven years old the island itself seemed to urge me to purchase my first piece of art, a beautiful carved owl sprouting the finest feathers. My sisters and I learned to haggle for pretty silver bracelets and finely woven baskets at the local beach market and were introduced to the serenity of her sawah rice paddy fields, sacred temples, frighteningly chaotic roads and mesmerizing dance dramas.
As children growing up in Australia, we would regularly summer in Indonesia with our parents. A hectic month in Java visiting literally hundreds of relatives and fans (our father was a well-known radio personality) would end on this deliciously artistic island where according to Noel Coward "It appears that each Balinese native, from the womb to the tomb is creative". At last, we could revel amid such beauty with the sand between our toes! But, why oh why at times did I feel so particularly Balinese?
When our 17 year old son and I recently examined an old family tree, my eyes widened. Smack in the middle of the beautifully prepared page, seven generations prior to my Javanese maternal grandparents, sat an intricately hand-drawn crown and the words "Raja Bali" in exquisite flowing script. There sat the concrete proof I secretly wanted, an ineffable ancestral thread that connected me to our magic island. This blood link and our heart- strings indeed pull us back to this romantic island over and over.
Ten years after our marriage in Boston, Michael and I renewed our vows there. Yanti & Richard were also married Balinese style in Canggu. The lure is as irresistible to us all as it was nearly 100 years ago to great artists such as Walter Spies and Miguel Covarrubias, Coward and Charlie Chaplin. An ancient link via an old family tree is not the only thing necessary to feel a divine connection to Bali. What do you think?
Watch this short clip for details on the creative process of the John Hardy jewelry team in Ubud :