I should have taken a good photo of my tour guide, Marilyn, but I completely spaced it. She appears in one or two shots in my tour so that will have to suffice. She arranged this custom tour of artisans for me, picked me up at my hotel in an air conditioned car with a driver, and entertained me with varied stories the entire day. Should anyone else be interested in creating their own tour—whether for silver jewelry, art, clothes shopping, import/export or whatever you can dream up—Marilyn is the person to contact. She knows these artisans personally and chatted with all of them about their families and lives as we got the behind the scenes tour of their particular industries.  You can find Marilyn at http://www.retailtherapybali.com

Before leaving Sanur, we headed to the showroom for artiles where we met with artist Philip Lakeman. His showroom featured some super interesting tile I would sum up as ‘textural’. The tile would offer fantastic options for creating a wall that is like 3D artwork. I particularly liked his use of soft, low-contrast tones.

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He also took us to his office where showed us the toys he promotes through his name Seni-Man (Seni means ‘art’, I believe).  Here you see Marilyn, my personal guide for artisans in Bali, and Philip, with some of the small brightly colored toy statues he creates. Multi-colored buddhas, pigs and elephants sat on top of the boxes with his Seni-Man logo. http://www.seni-man.com/index.php

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These vase-like sculptures were quite tall, maybe 3 feet?

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Another example of his creativity overflows into what seemed to simply be their break room. That countertop is all one piece, not separate tiles (there is a single grout line between the sink and full length of the counter). For those of us who have had tiled countertops and cursed the grout lines and tile edges, Philip makes a single, smooth surface dream into a reality by create one super-sized painted tile! This style isn’t for purchase, but if you are a tile maker and have the means to create a painted ceramic surface counter, why not!?!

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This last image made me realize just how small the world can be. Philip showed me published photos of one of his previous homes in Bali. As soon as he opened to this page I said “I know this place!” I had one of the same coffee table books on Bali homes and this one I remembered because of it’s distinctive entrance. In this thumbnail image it may look like a fireplace, but if you enlarge this, you see this is the doorway to a home. The entire entrance is surrounded with a verdi-gris tile, designed by Philip.

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There is more to the tour—stay tuned.