Each puppet used in the wayang is intricately carved to give the shadow its unique character and form. In a few hours, students can learn the basic carving techniques and gain an appreciation for the aesthetic and spiritual values associated with Balinese puppets.
The process begins with a piece of raw cow’s hide. The outline of the puppet is carved out first, then the small details of the eyes, clothing, and jewelry. In the workshop, we work with the same tools used by Balinese puppet-makers: wooden mallets and iron chisels.
“They were great at explaining and demonstrating the techniques used in the carving processes. There was time at the end where they set up a puppet shadow screen and performed a brilliant shadow play with each of the puppets we had made in the workshop. It was incredibly exciting to see our puppets come alive behind the screen by such master puppeteers.”
—Katherine Wales, Lecturer in Art, Sculpture, Boston University
Putu Rekayasa with one of his signature creations — carved but not yet painted.
Students in Boston University’s fine arts department begin a day-long workshop in puppet-making, in which they could choose to craft a traditional character or create an original design.