Lovers of handmade crafts and Asian arts and culture can rejoice! Local batik artist and Indonesian educator Laura Cohn will again open From Bali to Us, a magical bazaar and art show with special events, from November 5 through December 24, at 8532 Germantown Avenue in the heart of Chestnut Hill.
This beloved event showcases glorious Indonesian handcrafts and treasures for sale, along with Cohn’s own contemporary batik paintings. Unique events range from a Play-the-Angklung music night for all ages to Stretching and Sipping Jamu (an herbal immune booster). [Full list of events is below.]
“I love when visitors walk into our space and immediately feel transported to somewhere far away and wonderful,” says Cohn, a resident of West Mt. Airy who considers Indonesia her heart-home. “Especially after many months of pandemic shutdown and claustrophobia, we need the joyous, vibrant spirit of Indonesia this holiday season.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of From Bali to Us, which originated in Cohn’s living room (then in Bala Cynwyd, called From Bali to Bala), and has grown to fill an 1800-square-foot showroom.
Each item is handpicked personally by Cohn in Indonesia, where she lived and painted for six years, learning the language and building relationships. Cohn’s 30 years of connections with artisans allow her to buy fair-trade handcrafts rarely seen in the US. She was also able to make virtual-visit purchases during the COVID-19 shutdown, so the show is as abundant as ever, unaffected by supply-chain limitations that worry many holiday shoppers.
In 2020, Cohn created a new online store, frombalitous.com, that lets shoppers browse and purchase everything from jewelry to sculpture, from the comfort of home. From Bali to US provides a deep dive into Indonesian culture with Cohn as vivacious guide, offering gifts for all ages and price points. A portion of every purchase benefits Indonesian non-profits that support women’s health, environmental clean-up and pandemic relief for artisans.
Cohn is passionate about her mission to educate Americans about Indonesia’s rich culture. Weekly free or low-cost events range from the opening celebration with Modero Indonesian Dance Company accompanied by live Gamelan (Indonesian orchestra), to a virtual Balinese cooking class and feast, films and travel talks, traditional instrument classes, a batik-fashion trunk show, modern Indonesian pop music, and more. Cohn promises that visitors will leave From Bali to Us feeling like they’ve visited the magical island of Bali itself.
November 5th – 24th
Sunday – Tuesday 12 PM – 5 PM
Wednesday – Saturday 11 AM – 6 PM
After Thanksgiving – Christmas Eve
November 26th – December 24th
Sunday – Tuesday 11 AM – 5 PM
Wednesday 11 AM – 8 PM (Stag & Doe Nights)
Thursday – Saturday 10 AM – 7 PM
From Bali to Us – SPECIAL EVENTS 2021 –
Illuminating the Rich Cultures of Indonesia
We care about your health, so we require a mask for each of our guests. Events are free unless noted, but some do require pre-registration.
- INDONESIAN FILM NIGHT – The Year of Living Dangerously – Friday, November 19 @ 7 PM: This is one of Laura’s favorite films! A young Sigourney Weaver and Mel Gibson star in this 1982 classic romantic and political thriller set in revolutionary 1965 Indonesia. Following the screening, join us in a brief discussion about the history leading up to this period, as well as the state of democracy in Indonesia today.
- PASSPORT to INDONESIA SLIDESHOW with Laura Cohn – Sunday, November 21 @ 5:30 PM: Travel with Laura through her over 30 years of living, working in, and loving Indonesia. Be transported to a distant, exotic land, but with no passport required, and we’ll have you home in time for dinner.
- STAG & DOE plus DANGDUT Performance – Wednesday, December 1 @ 7 PM: Welcome Philadelphia resident Kirsten Spangenberg to share her love of “Dangdut” singing, a popular Indonesian fusion of local musical traditions, Indian and Malaysian film music, and Western rock. Kristin has been singing her whole life and she now performs as a “Dangdut in America” singer. If her music makes you feel like dancing, be our guest!
- STAG & DOE NIGHT in Chestnut Hill – December 1, 8, 15, 22, from 6 – 9 PM: For four fun December Wednesdays, experience the sights & sounds of Chestnut Hill’s many shops decked out for this special holiday tradition. Once again, From Bali to Us is the happening spot on the hill, with the horse & carriage rides leaving from in front of our shop!
- BALINESE COOKING CLASS & FEAST on Zoom – Thursday, December 2 @ 7 PM: Zoomed from their kitchen in South Philly, our friends Irza and Aditya from Pecel Ndeso Catering will teach us how to make a few delicious favorites that draw upon Balinese flavors. Pick up the pre-prepared dinner-for-two at our shop in Chestnut Hill, or have it delivered to your door in the afternoon. You’ll receive information about the dinner as well as the Zoom link for the class that evening. From the comfort of your own home, feast with us and expand your culinary kitchen with the exotic flavors of Indonesia! The required pre-registration is $40 per feast ($47 with delivery), or $12 for just the Zoom cooking class.
- INDONESIAN STRETCHING & SIP – Saturday, December 4 @ 9 AM: Stretch with Sinta and sip Jamu, a traditional Indonesian herbal drink to boost one’s immune system and maintain good health, just in time for the holiday season. Sinta is a traditional Indonesian dance artist who will share her stretch routine that helps improve posture, range of motion, and prevent injury. The session will conclude with a relaxation segment, and Sinta will talk about Jamu and share with us a simple recipe to make it in your own home. Bring your own mat and towel. Pre-registration is required, and donations are encouraged.
- ANGKLUNG CLASS (traditional music) – Sunday, December 12 @ 4 PM: Join us for this fun hands-on activity, great for all ages! Discover the sounds and beauty of the Angklung, a traditional Indonesian musical instrument made from two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. No musical experience is required: just bring your enthusiasm, friends, and family! Pre-registration is required, and the event is free for all.