A tray has become one of the complementary paraphernalia in Bali. This ritual means made from wood does not only serve as a container of gebogan (fruit and flower arrangement) and offerings, but also the serving of pedanda or higher priest and wedding buffet. Even, some restaurants have also utilized it to serve their delicacies. Many tray products indeed have been widely available in the market, but the unique one may be only some few. At Kukuh village in Marga, Tabanan, located on Jalan Alas Kedaton, precisely Lodalang hamlet sits a tray craft. Its name is the Mosaic Hindu Bali. The difference of this tray lies in the application of seashell and glass motif.
A tray craftsman, Made Gara, said that his tray craft business was started in 2002-2004 based on a suggestion of a friend. Then, it developed in 2009. “At that time, our production was still in small number because I have not found the right idea. It took many years to get a good quality,” said the man from Tabanan. Having been run and deeply involved, added Gara, such household craft began to discover new ideas. “Virtually for two years since the pioneering I have not got success. At the end, I could gradually improve the quality of product, for example, by creating motif using shells, glass and good workmanship,” he explained.
The excellence of his tray, he said, lay in the glue used to gum shells and glass knickknacks. “To determine the durability of glue, we had to soak them for one to two days. In fact, they were still firmly attached. Moreover, the wood material in use is the albizia. So, they were not easily eaten by termites,” he explained. The making process, he explained, was quite long. First of all, it was started with the selection of wood. This material was then shaped with lathe and oven. Furthermore, the tray was embellished with shells or glass. The upper part containing no shell knickknacks was sanded. Ultimately, it was painted with glossy paint and dried for five minutes.
The materials used for his products were obtained from different regions, such as bamboo from Bangli while shells from Tuban. Then, his wood was brought in from Java. Now, he had hired 20 neighbors within an area of approximately 100 square meters. Each day, the employee could produce one or two trays depending on the motif. Now, the business which he built with his son I Made Wintara has been well known at Kukuh village. Other than tray, he also produces wooden bowl, food tray and ritual basket either with painting, shells or knickknacks motif. Meanwhile, the market had spread beyond Bali such as Sumatra, Java and Sumbawa. The price, said Gara, was adjusted to the size, motif and level of complexity. Here, he did not only sell the art product, but also considered the design ranging from one hundred thousand to more. “Our price is negotiable,” he added while laughing. (BTN/ocha)