While ceramics and pottery are not generally recognised as traditional Balinese art forms, in recent years a vibrant hub of creativity at Ubud has single-handedly helped turn this notion on its head.
Gaya Ceramic and Design on Jalan Raya Sayan is an exotic combination of Italian ingenuity and technique coupled with the innate artistic ability of the Balinese people.
The happy upshot is some of the finest ceramics and pottery being produced in South East Asia today.
Gaya is the brainchild of Italian expats, husband and wife team Marcello Massoni and Michela Foppiani, and today supplies its creations to numerous international high-end clients, including exclusive hotel, restaurant and retail chains.
“We moved from Italy to Bali in 2001 to establish Gaya Ceramic and Design and to start throwing pots under the tropical sun of this magic island,” says Marcello of his thriving business.
“We wanted to build a place where intuition, inspiration, craft and love would combine – and we did it!
“Our primary business is the creation of exclusive custom ceramic collections, however more recently we have begun to retail some of our own designs in our showroom and through our eShop.”
The Starfish took a tour of operations at Gaya.Shown the entire process from clay-making to finished pieces, we were highly impressed with the skill and devotion of the artisans.
Gaya uses study, experimentation and the on-going development of the skills of its artisans and technicians to take ceramic aesthetics to new heights of innovation and style.
Never complacent, Marcello says the company dedicates a great amount of time and energy exploring new materials and processes, and pushing its research of shape, colour and surface to its limit.
Today, nearly100 skilled local craftspeople are a part of the Ubud operation, producing 100% hand-made ceramics combining the highest quality of materials, artisanship and accurate production control.
Though the art of ceramics is thousands of years old, Gaya is run like a slick modern business in the digital age.
Clients are offered design consultancy, including aesthetic concept research and development, mood boards, graphic communication, technical documentation and 3D rendering.
Gaya’s archival records include about 10,000 different ceramic models that make up its “master sample” collection.
This is a treasure trove for customers and an ideal starting point for any tailored design or collection a client is planning.
Education is also important at Gaya and together with Hillary Kane, Director of the Gaya Ceramic Arts Centre, the Massonis conduct regular ceramic classes and intensive workshops for those interested in the ancient art form.
Keen ceramists and potters visit from around the globe to hone their skills and learn new techniques. The Centre also hosts an ongoing artist-in-residence program.
A sculptor from Mexico (a country renowned for its superb ceramics) was artist-in-residence when The Starfish toured the facility recently.
Gaya’s two-week workshops enable established artists and students alike to focus and immerse themselves in ceramics and pottery.
They are designed to further knowledge of specific aspects of clay and rejuvenate creativity working alongside fellow artists.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be studying in beautiful Ubud, a region internationally renowned for its exquisite artwork and culture.
The workshops vary widely in theme, instructor, firing style and focus, and the roster changes every year.
Typically, workshop programs will comprise ten days of studio activity combined with one to two days of relevant excursions to the cultural hot spots of Bali.
Recently an expat pal in Bali told us that, “You can spend a whole lifetime discovering new things in Bali.”
Gaya Ceramics is one undoubtedly one of them. It’s a fascinating enterprise and we would highly recommend a visit during your next sojourn on the Isle of the Gods.
More information about Gaya Ceramic and its popular workshops can be found at www.gayaceramic.com
Location: Jl. Raya Sayan 105, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia – 80571
Studio: Monday to Friday: 8am – 12noon and 1pm – 5pm.
Ph: +62 (0) 361 976220
Showroom: Monday to Sunday: 9am – 6pm
Ph: +62 (0) 361 976220