"It is always our dreams and our belief in life that give us the best results, no matter how difficult the dream or how sore our feet get during the journey."
The artistry of I Ketut Sandi has been featured in numerous periodicals and on Oxygen TV.
"Every time I think about my childhood, I remember that what I really wanted to do was what I am doing now. But because times were hard, I tried to learn how to do other things, like painting and normal statue carving – all to be able to make ends meet. In the end, however, what finally worked for me was to make my chess tables. It is always our dreams and our belief in life that give us the best results, no matter how difficult the dream or how sore our feet get during the journey.
"I started to learn how to carve in 1968 and began my full-time apprenticeship in 1981. I studied under a master carver who taught me how to be more creative, even with ordinary figures. His creativity sparked my own; it was then that I had the idea to create chess sets, not only in the Western style, but also in a style that reflected Balinese culture.
"I tried to sell my chess tables at art fairs, but couldn't make enough money to support my family. So I tried to sell them on my own, walking up and down the streets of nearby villages. After a while of hard times and sore feet, I was introduced to Novica. I was very happy because the people at Novica were appreciative of my ideas. Soon, I was able to take care of my family, send my children to school, and focus on making even better quality carvings.
"I have now spent 17 years of my life crafting chess sets, and finally consider my efforts a success. My wife, Wayan Putri, and 15 helpers now work with me to create these sets. We all learn together and work together happily, and continue to invent new designs."