The Craftsmanship of Ogoh-Ogohs

If you’re going to write a piece elsewhere than on your blog (and actually get it published), isn’t it just nice to share it with your blogging community? Yup, I thought so 😉

I’d stumbled upon Craftsmanship Initiative a few years ago, and something about the content touched me deeply. Up until then, I sometimes felt as if I was floundering in, and unable to keep up with, all the ramping up in the hi-octane-tech world. Everything was going digital. And accelerating to the point that it made me dizzy.

By leaning into Craftsmanship, I felt like I was joining the resistance. I would take the time to read, learn about and savour traditional crafts, and the dedicated detail-oriented masters that were either toiling in their long-held trade, or traded the corporate world stiletto life for a more earthbound one: *making* objects using their hands; with the full force of their imagination and attention to skill.

And then, since I’d become a devotee, I pitched the editor a story idea – about ec o- friendly Ogoh-Ogoh monsters (you can read a 2014 blog post about these Balinese ogres right here). Which she liked, and which over time, morphed into a photo essay. Finally, throughout the highs, lows and uncertainties of this pandemic period, it saw the light of day.

Voila: A Traditional Balinese Craft Rediscovers Its Roots — in Leaves

Big thanks to the master craftspeople who invited me into their compounds – Apel Hendrawan, Udianata, Chloe Quinn, and the wizards at Make a Scene! – where glorious ogres were being fashioned out of nature’s ingredients: Bravo to all of you for weaving magic out of nature’s bounty!


  1. Amit, first off – Congratulations!!! 🙂 Your new article is awesome – both words and photos. Your talent and knowledge of the subject shine through. I remember you writing about Nyepi, but I didn’t realize what preceded it. What a spectacle it must be. I hate to think of them burning it at the end. I guess it’s like the Buddhist monks destroying a mandala. Thanks so much for expanding my knowledge. ~Terri

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words about my photo essay! You’re so right about the community, and I only wish I could carve out more time to stay more deeply connected. Somehow during the pandemic, I seem to be busier than I imagined… I’ll dig up a hidden post and share it shortly! With hugs and light to you and James xx

  2. Thanks for your wishes, Terri! Indeed, I also see parallels between these burnings and the ephemeral nature of Tibetan mandalas. But you might be comforted to know that, these days (well not THESE days, but pre-COVID) the tendency has been, in some villages, to preserve the man-made ogres rather than set them alight. After putting in so much effort and time, boy oh boy, those boys are proud 😉

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