As one of the 17,508 islands that make up Indonesia, Bali is undeniably special. The vibrant Indonesian province is beloved for its natural beauty, warm and welcoming people, word-renowned landmarks, and rich cultural heritage. Ritual is an integral part of Balinese life, and this honour and observance of tradition can be found in the inspiration for the Woven Collection. Over the course of several visits, our founder and creative director Dean Davidson fell in love with the lush island and its most celebrated and enduring artform: weaving.
It’s easy to see how important weaving is to the Balinese way of life when exploring the island. Examples can be found at every turn as hand weaving is used to craft a wide array of functional objects from grass roofs and place mats to light fixtures and fruit baskets. A trip to the market will reveal exquisite lontar leaf baskets of all shapes and sizes with the striking hollow construction that is echoed in each design from the Woven collection.
Weaving is essential to Bali’s religious customs, too. The predominantly Hindu island strives to live in harmony with its deities and does so by providing daily offerings to the gods called canang sari. These offerings are comprised of intricately woven square-shaped palm leaf baskets that are filled with local flowers (such as the fragrant Frangipani blossom), food, money, and incense. Every morning, canang sari are placed in areas of conflict (like crossroads and bridges), as well as in front of stores, on statues, and even in the middle of streets. Canang sari are replaced every morning and this ritual has remained unchanged for 1000 years, as the people of Bali believe this humbling and dedicated practice maintains balance and peace.
Weaving is also an integral element of Balinese community. A female-led operation, women oversee basket making and gather together across multiple generations to carry out this communal activity. The women of Bali are in charge of making canang sari and demonstrate their weaving prowess in workshops where visitors can learn how to make palm leaf pockets. And their skill goes well beyond craftsmanship—it’s not uncommon to see Balinese women leaving the morning market with large baskets filled with fruits and vegetables balanced expertly atop their heads.
It’s impossible not to be inspired by the people of Bali, their artistry, and their dedication to tradition. The Woven collection is a celebration of the time-honoured craft of weaving and the beautiful cultural artifacts that arise from it.