Sukartini from Indonesia

Artisan Sukartini

"Nyoman Sukartini is the full name given me by my parents when I was born. From the time I was little, my mother taught me how to be a 'Balinese woman.' In her mind, a Balinese woman must devote her life to God, her husband and also to society. She taught me how to cook and do housework and also how to make offerings, starting from very simple ones and continuing with the complex offerings, because almost every day is a ceremonial occasion in Bali.

"At the age of 16, I studied at SMIK (Sekolah Menengah Industri Kerajinan) in Gianyar. In this school, I learned batik, ceramics and other home industries for three years. Back from school, I took an apprenticeship with a silversmith in a village where they specialized in jewelry. At the same time, I also asked a very good friend of mine -- who later became my husband -- to learn silverwork with me so we could work together on silver in the future.

"In 1989, I married [fellow artisan] Nyoman Suarjana. In the same year, with less than $50 dollars loaned from my mother-in-law, we started to make our own silver! Thank God that, after facing difficult times, at present I live happily with my family and we have been able to educate our three sons."

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