Barbara, of Feltworld Creative Arts, is a multimedia artist who practices many colourful crafts from wet felting to batik and alcohol ink painting. Barbara shares with us how a trip to Bali truly inspired her creative soul.
"In 2017 I had my first trip to Bali, to say it left an impression is an understatement. It is little wonder that when an opportunity to visit again came up, a year later and for a longer period, I jumped at the chance.
I have always been passionate about travel and relish an opportunity to work ‘on the go’ with my mobile phone and laptop in hand.
For those of you that haven’t visited Bali, it is an Indonesian island steeped in cultural traditions. It is impossible to miss the beautiful architecture, stunning religious ceremonies, and the abundance of professional craftspeople. I was wowed by the incredible scenery, amazing waterfalls, glorious mountains, lush forests, scenic lakes and so much more.
As well as absorbing all the beauty Bali has to offer, I wanted to take full advantage of my six-week stay and found many opportunities to teach and learn more about my craft.
I completed charity work, taught felt making and also broadened my knowledge of batik, by studying with some of the island’s batik experts.
I explored various batik courses and found two excellent options that were a perfect fit for me.
Life as a self-employed artist/ tutor never stops, no matter where you are in the world. I attended my art and batik classes alongside working three hours a day on my website and marketing my courses for my return home.
It was a long journey to Bali from Staffordshire, so I didn’t opt to stay in the thriving holiday scene. Instead, I first headed up the coast to the quieter resort of Sanur for a few nights. My stay here allowed me to acclimatise and get over the 17-hour journey.
Once I’d recovered, I headed up to the bustling town of Ubud where I found fantastic accommodation called Homestays where I could stay for £6 a night, inclusive of a lovely breakfast. I was on a tight budget during my stay, so I did ‘flit around’ and explored the best value places to visit and eat. I discovered a vegan ‘all you can eat’ restaurant and had the tastiest food for just £2.50. Homestays were available across the city, owned by families, I was able to find very clean and large private rooms for great prices.
I made the most of my time there. I visited temples, the islands, all the major attractions, practiced yoga, learnt to snorkel, and completed charity work along the way.
The charity I supported in Bali was established by a Balinese restaurant called The Onion Collective. Me and 5 other creative people, who were staying in the grounds, worked together to support the charity. We organised three separate days of teaching and charged a small fee, which we gave to the charity. I also went up into the hills to teach children in an artist studio.
The money raised went to support families in need of food and medication.
The Balinese create art wherever and whenever possible, the practice of batik painting is particularly popular in Indonesia and there are many courses to be found.
I attended workshops with 4 different artists and two courses really stood out to me. I was impressed by the teaching of the first class and found the artists to be extremely experienced, with a fantastic sense of humour.
An essential part of batik painting is learning how to use a tjanting tool. My techniques improved throughout my lessons, my hand was shaky at first but within a short time I was having fun with the tjanting, and my drawings got better and better. I can honestly say that it is the techniques taught to me during these sessions that influence my teaching style and how I pass on techniques in my batik workshops today.
If you are a creative soul, then Bali is for you.
There are galleries in every neighbourhood, traditional products in many shops, and an overall artistic vibe throughout the island and the people. Many people on the island are involved in artistic pursuits. I was impressed by the artists but also the dancers, traditional instrument players and, trust me, the wood carving area is an absolute must to visit, I was blown away by their talent.
As a tourist I loved being able to shop for handmade arts, from a few pounds to high-end artistic pieces. I am planning on returning to Bali to do more courses in March 2023."
Are you inspired to try batik with Barbara?
All the team at CraftCourses feel the urge to book flights to Bali and to book a workshop with Barbara to learn more about the fascinating techniques of batik painting. If you're feeling the same, please check out Barbara's workshops here.>
Would you like to earn an income from your creative passion?