Member Feature: Don Biu Bali

Contributor post by Natalie

Please join us in welcoming Don Biu Bali, our featured member!

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  • Tell us a bit about yourself; do you have any pets?

We have two Pit bulls, one male, with hip dysplasia and the other female albino and deaf. We believe the breed is misunderstood and often mistreated and it is our goal to raise kind, healthy dogs. We work hard at obedience training and maintaining an active lifestyle for them. We also foster dogs often as we live at the end of the beach and people often drop puppies there (especially female) we bring them into our homes, nurture them and find homes for them as the local facilities are overrun and underfunded.

  • When did you open your business and what made you decide to do so?

I have had it in my heart to open a business since I was very small. I used to make paintings and drawings and combine them with lemonade and have a stand in front for my house when I was five years old. I enjoyed creating the art and making the lemonade and I did well. I also always loved quality and handmade things and eventually combined the two to create jewelry. My mother was very into antiques and collected them from all over the world to decorate our house which was over one hundred years old. I loved the signs of being handmade, the uneven legs on a table or the hammered wood with wooden nails. I loved the smell of musty history, I loved the feeling of a solidly made piece and I loved the mystery of the stories that the handmade piece could have.

  • Any new exciting news you’d like to share?

Alit and I just got married in a traditional four day Balinese Hindu wedding. I have completed the Fire and water ceremonies and next year will get my teeth shaved for the earth ceremony. I meditate at the temple daily and am studying a culture unique to this one Island.

  • What makes your business stand out from others?

We work with traditional Balinese tools. In the kingdom era of Bali the kings would provide food and land to creators of jewelry and art. Centuries later the methods of making are very similar. We use a manual foot pump with air to power the fire, brass moldings and simple pliers and metal tools. We use mainly carving, welding and oxidizing and rarely do casting. Each piece takes many hours of precision work to complete.

Tell us a bit about the products you have available.

  • Do you offer customization? Yes, Free customization and engraving
  • What are the price range of your items? $10-200
  • What countries do you ship to? Worldwide
  • Do you have a new design/product available? Yes we have a new collection designed and underway but the process is long and we hope to have it out by December.
  • What is your most popular item on Etsy?

We have two most popular Items, the triple moonstone ring:

DonBiuBali

and our Navajo Ring:

DonBiuBali2

  • How can people care for your products to ensure they last as long as possible?

We are loyal to solid 925 sterling silver -99.9 silver they are heirlooms to be passed down through generations. Lifetime warranty on all items if it ever breaks you can always send it back and we will replace it.

  • What materials do you use and which is your favorite to work with?

925-999 sterling silver, moonstone, precious gemstones, healing stones.

  • What inspires your work and new products?

We both live a free life and love quality, nature, simplicity and detail. I create every piece to reflect this.
Sara Swati, the goddess of knowledge and education. Each year we meditate and do offerings of our favorite books to her.

Tell us a bit about your workspace.

  • Do you work out of your home or rent an office/studio for your business? We live in one room on the beach, we have an outdoor living room and kitchen with a roof and we have converted this into a workshop.
  • What is your favourite tool? A solid, square, heavy brass tool, it has various shapes cut out of it. We use these shapes to hammer the silver into our own unique designs. I love every tool we use because they are simple and solid.
  • What do you love about your space and what do you wish you could change We love that our space is outside; we can hear the waves and the birds and watch geckos on the wall. We can create with beauty around us. I wish I could open the studio in a space with people walking by to they could see how the pieces are made.
  • Do you have a favorite artist/genre or tv show to listen to/watch while you work?

Favorite artist: Salvador Dalí and Emily Carr, Favorite TV show: Madmen, Favorite music: My husband playing guitar and singing while I work.

  • Any great stories about being a crafter that you’d like to share?

Balinese Hinduism is a mixture of Hindu Buddhism and tribal religion. We have our own unique ceremonies. Being a crafter, one of my favorite ceremonies is the day for tools. We do meditations and offerings such as flowers and incense as well as holy water on all of the tools we work with as well as the jewelry we have made at that time. Your jewelry which you order could have had this process.

  • Why do you believe people should buy handmade, such as your own work, vs buying mass-produced products from box stores?

The time taken in imagining up unique designs and then creating them is a time we feel love, positivity and good energy flow, this beauty shows through each art piece. We are real people, living simply; enjoying each moment and each piece is slightly different and all great quality. We work hard for our custom orders, searching rare stones with certain color and size, big box stores are about money, we are about surviving and loving life.

  • What are your future goals for the business this year and in the coming years? What is your dream?

In the coming years I want to grow my business to the point where I can live off of it. I want to do it all the time. I love my state of life when creating and I don’t want to have to starve to live it. My dream in the future is to have my own shop where my husband and I can create custom pieces for people we actually meet. We would also like to do festivals in Canada where we can create, re size and engrave jewelry for people right in front of their eyes.

  • Is this your full-time job or do you have a day job? If so, what do you do for work?

I teach English and model. My husband plays acoustic music and sings solo at restaurants.

  • Do you have any advise for someone thinking of opening their own business?

Make sure you love it, you enjoy what you are doing, you are not forcing it. Your business can take up all of your time. I am absorbed in my business and even dream about jewelry and gemstones I want to design. You can’t ever want to escape it because you may burn out. You need to love it with every part of your being.

  • Any advice for those wanting to sell on Etsy?

Join a team, connect with like minded people and communicate with others. The other day I was browsing Etsy and found a jewelry store with nice items but a fuzzy, unprofessional banner. I contacted the shop owner to let her know and gave her advice on making it better. She was very thankful and friendly. We are not in competition here we are all here learning and we thrive off each other’s support.

  • Besides your business, what do you like to do with your time? I meditate, dance, swim and create DIY projects.
  • Do you have any other craft-related hobbies? I sew most of my clothing.
  • Do you play a sport or instrument? We both play guitar but my husband plays much better than me. I love soccer but am yet to find another girl here who plays.

Some fun questions!

  • What is your dream vacation? I live my dream vacation and making jewelry of communicating with customers is also a pleasure for me.
  • Favourite Ice Cream? Definitely chocolate.
  • Coke or Pepsi? Tea.
  • Rock, paper, scissors or spock? Spock.
  • Urban or suburban? Countryside.
  • Favourite book? Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values is a 1974 philosophical novel, the first of Robert M. Pirsig’s texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality., Out of the Silent Planet is a science fiction novel by the British author C. S. Lewis, published in 1938. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche in 1992, is a presentation of the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead or Bardo Thodol.
  • Tell us something quicky about yourself. I have no hot water, no oven, a small propane stove, no television.
  • Choose your own question to answer What is your favorite quote? That which exists through itself is the way. (Also my mother’s favorite quote).

You can read my story at www.katzwalk.blogspot.com.

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If you would like to be featured, please contact admin Natalie at natalie@whenshuttersclick.com. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.

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