Upon approaching the Dinata store in Tampaksiring, South Bali, it’s clear that the development of business skills has been made a priority. And necessarily so, as the area is known for its supplies of bone statues like the ones Dinata produces. But Dinata has a competitive edge – it has had an especially long time to perfect its trade, having partnered with Pekerti since 1986, albeit under a different name prior to 1990. Back then, Mas Dinata, better known as Goesde, was just starting to learn how to carve.
“I was 15 when I started learning,” he says. “I had many opportunities to learn with my father, and throughout the village, where carving is so common.”
Even at a young age, Goesde could see a change in the business after his father, Pak Suamba, was approached by Pekerti, stating that the partnership allowed him to attend SD 4 and SMP Negeri 1, primary and secondary schools in Tampakisiring, and that his father was able to buy a warehouse.
At age 18 Goesde took over running the business from his father and further developed its product designs.
“We make traditional statues, many, such as Ganesh and Krishna, are Hindu-themed. But we also now make modern-style European pieces with three-dimensional characters like cherubs and angels.”
The store offers customers a wide range of styles, however, Goesde’s personal favourite is an oversized shell carved with a dragon and Hindu gods. Goesde sources these shells from Flores and each piece takes around one month to complete. This is no problem for Goesde, whose favourite aspect of his business is carving.
Most of Dinata’s carvings are made from cow calf bone imported from Java. The bones are collected during a key festival in Java, and brought to Tampaksiring for sales. Goesde purchases one order of these materials every month. The business also uses wood and jawbone.
The process undertaken sees the bone cut and carved with a range of gravers and then individual pieces glued together and onto a wooden base. The piece is refined with a small electric sander and finished with polish. Each piece is designed based on the characteristics of the material in use.
Goesde says he especially enjoyed meeting other Balinese producers during Pekerti’s recent training in Fair Trade, administration, Sustainable Fair Trade Management System (SFTMS), gender and quality control.