Great Stone in Bali

A rose may be a rose but a stone isn’t just a stone, at least when it comes to stones in Indonesia. Each island in the archipelago’s myriad of volcanic and coral atolls seems to generate its own style of natural stone. The end result is a decorator and landscaper’s dream. Everywhere you look in Bali are examples of magnificent stonework, statues and sculpture, fountains, exquisitely carved relief and rock-laden gardens. For every construction, decorator and landscaping purpose, Bali is a great magnet for stones from across the region.

Indra Bhuana Abadi focuses on seven or eight types of stone for statuary and reliefs at its three outlets in the Ubud area. Business owner Ni Wayan ‘Yunni’ Maryani rattles them off like a shopping list:
- There’s limestone, which is also called paras, that soft, porous stone often used for wall murals and relief carvings
- Paras is not to be confused with Jimbaran stone, which is cast cement, layered with a veneer of cement and stone to look like paras carving, but at half the price
- Greenstone is like paras but much stronger, and is quarried from the hills rather than limestone pits
- Bali stone, on the other hand, is a soft paras stone in grey color
- Then there’s Taro stone, from the region north of Ubud, which is grey but more porous like pumus stone.
- Black Sea Stone, which doesn’t actually come from the sea and actually is lined rather than black, like a cue lapis layered cake
- Black lava is hard and difficult to carve
- Lombok stone is a fossilized variety, less difficult to carve
- And there’s just plain old cement casting, with no frills about it.

The list becomes even more comples when you’re ready to choose stones for flooring or landscaping the garden, as Rudy Laurens of Rudy Art Stone Center explains, natural stone, marble and pebbles each have different origins and characters.

From Timor come white, pink and tan stones. Alor islands produce black stones. Those from Flores are a moss green. Maluku islands and Sumatra produce black striped stones known as Zebra. There’s even a speckled variety from Rudy’s native Sumba Island, which looks like bird eggs.

Many of his loose stones and pebbles start out as ugly river rocks, Rudy says. “They wash down a stream and to the sea. There, they are tumbled by the sea in the sand until they smooth and rounded. Many remote islanders make their livelihood by collecting these “naturally processed” stones for export to other islands, such as Bali. Without this, they’d have no hard cash income.

Rudy sells stones in bulk for all kinds of construction and decorative work. However, the stones are sliced and diced into layers and formations so they can be uniformly mounted on a mesh base and easily laid down like tile work. Many of the same stones described by Yunni are sliced into uniform tile sized or diced into shapes to create designs when mounted on mesh backing for floor tiling or wall clouting.

While most of Rudy’s sales are local for villa and hotel construction, exports are increasing to Australia, the US and Europe. “The tile works well for regions where labour costs are high,” he notes. “In Indonesia, it is cheaper to buy a saw and cut your own stones by hand, because labour is cheap.” Yet the prefabricated stone tiles provide a higher consistency and quality. Marble, originating from Java, and onyx from Bawean Island, off northeast Java, are crafted into sinks, baths and decorator items for Rudy’s warehouse.

Meanwhile, Aussie Garden’s Yunni is always looking for new sources for stones. Her crew or carvers – mostly from Bali, Flores, Lombok and Central Java – work on site at the shop special orders from their homes. She recently makes terrazzo. This means the company’s home village in Karangasem to train and employ many more workers.

Aussie garden sells a significant portion of its indoor and outdoor products from the 1,300 items on its website, exporting an average of 10 containers monthly. Yet a portion of their business come through local projects, among them Tampaksiring Palace, Intercontinental Bali, Ramayana Hotel, and Taman Kupu Kupu Villas. Fountains are high on the popularity list these days, notes Yunni.


yenni 'yendoel' said...

great stone, the most important, great art skill of balineses

MariaPar said...

Greeting from Poland. Have a nice beginning on the new week.

Емо said...

Nice job