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Ketut Wida Haryati

"I began experimenting and was able to produce a coloured handbag without the use of paints or anything like that (I have kept the process secret ever since)."
Ketut Wida Haryati


"I was born in a cool green farming village in Gianyar, Bali. I am the fourth of eight children. None of my brothers or sisters loves art except for me. Dancing and painting are two of my hobbies. From elementary school through secondary school I frequently performed Balinese dances both in school and outside school.

"I wanted to continue my studies at an art school, but my parents, brothers, and sisters didn't have the same opinion as I did. They wanted me to study something other than art as in their opinion art isn't the right way to make a good living. Thus, I studied at Pendidikan National University, in the faculty of Economy, and graduated in 1995.

"I worked at a bank in Denpasar and at a furniture company in Kuta, and from this I learned to do business. Motivated by family I started my own business, making varied shapes and motifs from ate grass.

"Here is a story about something that once happened to me. My love for art led me to create something new. At the time, people produced ate items in natural hues or coloured with paint. I began experimenting and was able to produce a coloured handbag without the use of paints or anything like that (I have kept the process secret ever since). I put my first creation, a beautiful handbag, in an art shop to see how people would like it. The next day a tourist from Japan came over, and her guide, who was also a friend of mine, told her that the handbag cost 2 million rupiahs. I couldn't believe she wanted to pay so much for such a handbag. I could hardly tell her that the bag was not for sale – that it was my first creation and I wanted to keep it. That was the only time I ever said no to a buyer with a really good price."

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