Laura’s shows are….well, like Laura… a beautiful, magical doorway to the multi-faceted world of Indonesia. The items that make up her shows are hand-picked by her during her spring buying expeditions to Bali and throughout Indonesia. Her shows are chock-a-block with a wide range of crafts, toys, art, jewelry, home furnishings, clothing and accessories, sculpture, kites, one-of-a-kind must-haves, and more than a few surprises. You’ll never find her off-the-beaten-track gems in a mall or a catalog, so it’s Laura who makes it possible for us to support the work of local Indonesian artisans and craftspeople directly. The items she selects defy categorization, but if pressed, I’d say what they all have in common is being the perfect present for someone [italics] in your life. Each year I go to Laura’s show with a different set of friends and family members in mind, and I have yet to come away stumped. One year, I bought wind chimes; another year Buddha sculptures called to me. My husband still wears the batiked men’s shirt I gave him from the first show I attended years ago….
I’ve been fortunate to attend many of Laura’s shows over the years. I enjoy going because her shows are an opportunity to discover something new and beautiful and creative. I have bought many unique gifts for family and friends that have found beloved places in their homes. As I look around my own home, my favorite items that adorn my house are from Laura’s show.
Like many Americans, I once thought Bali was just a brand of women’s lingerie, Java meant coffee, and “Indonesia” was a mispronunciation of “India.” Once I saw the great array of Indonesian imports at “From Bali to Bala,” I was struck by the diversity and beauty of the objects Laura Cohn had brought back to America, and I was pleased that they were so affordable. I got hooked and, through Laura, I learned so much about Indonesia and its culture: its dances, music, food, religions, and more. I then visited Bali and Indonesia to see for myself. There, I was struck by how beautiful the country is and how welcoming its people are. To me, “From Bali to Bala” became more than a store: it became a gateway to a new and more interesting part of my life. So, be careful: it could happen to you, too!
I have been going to Laura’s show for many years, and each year I am again delighted with all of the wonderful pieces that she showcases. She brings culture, warmth, sensitivity, beauty, and fine treasures into her space that one cannot help being more enriched for having had the experience. Her colorful pottery and her amazing batik work grace my home, and I am always so happy when they appear on my table.
Walking into the holiday show From Bali to Bala was such a delight. The beautiful art and crafts from Indonesia were beautifully displayed and so varied. I learned that Laura travels to Bali and personally chooses all the pieces that are sold at the show. This added a personal touch that you do not find in most holiday shows. Laura knows the artists that have crafted the items and can tell you all about the history and customs of Indonesia. Laura’s passion for the country of Indonesian and its artisans is what made the shopping experience so special for me. Visiting From Bali to Bala was not just a shopping trip but a whole cultural experience of sights, sounds, colors and textures. I won’t miss it next year!
From Bali to Bala isn’t just a not to be missed holiday sale of fabulous hand crafted works of art and accessories. It is the realized vision of Laura Cohn, an artist who lives, breathes and reflects a deep passion for her other home, Indonesia. Laura integrates music and cultural events into the show’s schedule as part of her life-long mission to shine a brighter light on a fascinating country and its beautiful people.
My first experience with a Laura show — actually, the first time I met Laura — I walked out with a hand-painted silk scarf that cemented a fledgling romance for a year. Each subsequent event has left my house better furnished, my friends bejeweled with the exquisite objects she finds in Indonesian craft villages. These aren’t just decoration: Laura knows the culture and can talk in detail about the traditions from which they came.
A combination of our love for Laura and Bill and a desire to connect more closely with the art and culture of Bali (as well as frequent flyer miles) brought my wife and me to the island, where Laura provided entree to a fascinating people. We saw what inspires her own beautiful batiks, we bought tons of stuff (actually, just a 1-cubic-meter shipping container) — and we came to appreciate even more Laura’s ability to find fine works among all the schlock made for tourists.
Bali to Bala transports me back to Bali…the rhythms, the smells, the tastes, the textures. Laura creates a shopping experience that nurtures the body and soul, offering teas and delicacies, as one browses through her art and the creations of the Balinese, surrounded by Balinese music. As you leave, you may not quite know why or how you bought so much, but your friends and family will be thrilled you did, as you will keep some of the treasures, and have wonderful gifts to share at the holiday season. This is an extraordinary experience that I cherish each year.
Rick & Patti’s words:
In our minds what transforms good art into great art is the ability of the artist to marry the technical aspects of her craft to her vision and, most importantly, to that intangible quality we often call spirit. Rarely does one encounter an artist such as Laura Cohn who fuses these aspects together so successfully. As in all great art, this ability enables her to open the doors to the intangible world of spirit for the people who experience her work. It’s not surprising to find that Laura and her art resonate with the indigenous culture of Bali – renowned worldwide for its craft of batik.
Laura’s work is truly exotic. Not only because it draws on the Balinese culture for its inspiration but because of her ability to infuse her work with this intangible quality of spirit. She is able to have it move from her vision into her art so fluidly that when you view her pieces you not only see the picture but you also hear the music.
I got all those hard-to-find holiday gifts for my staff at Laura’s show. Everyone at the office loved the unique items Laura helped me pick out; so much better than the typical corporate gifts you find at the mall. I’ve shopped in both Bali and Bala, and Laura has picked out simply the best things Bali has to offer.
I have been fortunate to host several shows in Washington and New York featuring Laura Cohn’s art and Indonesian handicrafts. What a delight! It’s thrilling to watch my friends as well as new acquaintances discover the wonder of her paintings which now decorate their walls. The sale of exquisite handicrafts, the sounds of ethereal music, and the smells and tastes of Indonesian cuisine make the evening complete. I’m looking forward to my next Laura Cohn festival!