A creative excursion to the Balinese Masters exhibition

We headed back to the amazing AB•BC art space to visit their latest exhibition: Balinese Masters: Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art.

The Jakarta Post has an amazing wrap up of the exhibition and artists- definitely worth a read. As a team we fell in love with so many of the pieces. It was an incredible journey through Bali’s art history.

Balinese Masters Exhibition-3556.jpg
Balinese Masters Exhibition-3559.jpg

Wayan Sujana Suklu’s work grabbed our attention and we came back to it a few times throughout the morning.

Balinese Masters Exhibition-3612.jpg

Wayan Bendi’s 10 meter long painting in the Batuan style was incredible. So many sharp scenes, moments and commentary on Bali.

Balinese Masters Exhibition-3588.jpg

The pieces by Made Griyawan, especially this one of Gunung Agung erupting last year were such a pleasure to discover.

Balinese Masters Exhibition-3594.jpg

This pumice installation by I Made Djirna was also magic.

Balinese Masters Exhibition-3629.jpg
Balinese Masters Exhibition-3578.jpg
Balinese Masters Exhibition-3621.jpg
Balinese Masters Exhibition-3568.jpg
Balinese Masters Exhibition-3605.jpg
Balinese Masters Exhibition-3567.jpg
Balinese Masters Exhibition-3624.jpg

Looking forward to coming back to the space in October when Art Bali returns. We also have our fingers crossed for more representation for Bali and Indonesia’s female artists.

Movement: TEDxUbud 2019

Join us for our eighth edition and a journey of storytelling, innovation, learning, change and more. We're returning to the beautiful Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets with the theme of...

TEDxUbud_2019_Launch_FB_Event.png

Everything in the world, and beyond, is constantly moving, in a state of ebb and flow, changing from one form to another.

Some of our movements are deliberate, as when we choose to travel, or dance. Other movements are beyond our control, or impossible to detect. Sometimes it’s not a pleasant sensation, as when we are forced into movement to escape something or have to push against the status quo to make a change.

When we say we are moved, we usually talk about emotion arising in our bodies, changing us in some way. When we talk about a movement, we talk about people working together to create social change or spread a new idea across the globe.

Movement is something we all share and participate in—a universal part of the human story as we cross the borders, lines and boundaries that structure our lives.



The Artists Dinner: Celebrating home-grown art in its many forms

Ceramicist, mother, teacher – Sekarputri Sidhiawati wears many hats and owns each of them with admirable bravado. We were lucky enough to join forces with her for our fourth instalment of The Dinner Series – The Artists Dinner – hosted by Sekarputri and her husband Agung Prabowo at their Tegallalang home studio, Arta Derau.

The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02258-min.jpg

Sekarputri’s charming ceramic pieces have long struck a chord with all of us at Elami & Co. Her exploration of soft organic shapes, feminine colours and strikingly relatable statements on life and society, worked in perfect synchronicity with the evening’s theme of fertility, femininity and Mother Earth. She created 139 individual pieces – little bird-shaped cups, oval platters and goblets, among them – from which Thy Neighbour presented their modern Thai eats and cocktails.

The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02250-min.jpg
The Artists Dinner by Michelle-15.jpg

No two pieces from The Artists Dinner collection are the same. Each plate, cup and bowl is marked with its own motifs and is laden with character. She extracted clay from her own backyard (the rice-field our guests dined upon) to create every bespoke piece for the evening. And the best news? Her entire collection is available for sale.

The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02253-min.jpg

We decided to hit the quirk button for this edition for an art-fuelled evening under the stars. We took over the rice fields behind Arta Derau ceramic studio.

The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02640-min.jpg

Poorich Suvarnapadip from Thy Neighbour was behind the pans, turning out eight courses of his bright, progressive Thai fare using ingredients harvested from the surrounding paddies- we’re talking snails and rice field crabs, here.

The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02538-min.jpg
The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02832.jpg

Artist and Elppin designer Carina Hardy also came on board, exhibiting her world-first Back to the Breast eco-inflatable installation, previously featured at Thailand’s Wonderfuit Festival.

The Artists Dinner by Neyna-2.jpg

As dark fell, our projection mapping team brought the night alive with Agung Prabowo’s amazing art moving over the surface of the inflatables.

The Artists Dinner by Michelle-18.jpg

Thank you, again, to Agung and Sekarputri for hosting The Dinner Series 4.0. Stay tuned for our fifth installment happening later in the year.

The Artists Dinner by Neyna-02659.jpg
The Artists Dinner by Neyna-02505.jpg
The Artists Dinner by Michelle-10.jpg
The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02956.jpg
The Artists Dinner by Neyna-03162.jpg
The Artists Dinner by Neyna-02762.jpg
The Artists Dinner: Neyna-02690-min.jpg

Get to Know: Maya Kerthyasa, food writer

We have been working with Maya Kerthyasa to co-create The Dinner Series. We want more people to know her the way we do, so we sat down with her and asked a few questions of our favorite food writer.

Would you like to share a little about your background and interests with us?

I am half Balinese and half Australian. I grew up between Bali and Sydney and studied journalism. Since then, I’ve worked mainly as a food writer. I spent four-and-a-half years at Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine and wrote a little bit about travel, but my strongest love is food. And that’s something that I’ve been interested in since I was born, really. I spent a lot of my childhood running around the back of house at Ibah, my parent’s hotel in Campuhan. And I think, through that, I developed a really strong love of hospitality.

I did my first restaurant review when I was nine years old with a dear friend of mine, Jane Adams, who has become one of my biggest mentors. I remember the day vividly, and from that moment on I have been fascinated by restaurants and food culture as a whole.

When I was working in magazines, I was lucky enough to eat and write about many different kinds of food. Now that I’ve had a child and am spending more time at home, I’ve made it my mission to focus on the food of Bali. It’s so layered, complex and full of cultural significance, but it just isn’t spoken about internationally. I’d like to change that, and so that’s where I am at the moment.

Maya and her grandmother in the kitchen

Maya and her grandmother in the kitchen

What makes you interested in food and Balinese food?

Well, I have a very healthy appetite. That helps. I’ve been fortunate enough to have eaten some really wonderful food not just in Bali, but around the world. Both of my parents are good cooks. So many of my fondest memories are connected to cooking and eating.

I’m also really lucky to still have both of my grandmothers, who cook in very different but equally wonderful ways. Food is an interesting way to explore not only the flavors of a place, but also its history and culture. And that’s why I love it. If you dig deep enough into most traditional cuisines, you’ll find they are laced with stories. When you dissect the ingredients, the way they’re prepared, you might see the history of a place, how it’s been influenced by other cultures, colonialism or immigrants. You can see how food is used as medicine, how it’s used to celebrate, even to mourn. So, for me food is such a strong vessel for discovery and connection.

elementalsdinner_elami 16.jpg

What is the story behind The Dinner Series?

I have a lot of respect for Mila, Daniela and the Elami team, so I was really excited when we started talking about The Dinner Series. It’s started off as a conversation and then slowly it grew, and we did the first dinner at Green Village with Wayan Kresnayasa from Potato Head, which was such an amazing way to start.

Mila and I both saw an opportunity to create eclectic boutique events in Bali. Not your run-of-the-mill party or festival, or four-hands dinner – events that truly connect and inspire people in the creative field. I wanted to give some love to the people doing solid stuff in the culinary scene. And for Mila, there was a strong creative drive. You know, life in Bali changes so rapidly and these days we are all so divided by geography, traffic jams, and our own busy lives, that we don’t really get together as much as we used to. So, I think there’s a bit of nostalgia in there as well. To put it simply, we want to find people doing great things and celebrate them in the most interesting way possible.

What projects are you immersed in right now?

The Dinner Series of course.

I am also in the process of recording my Balinese grandmother’s recipes in the hope of compiling them into a cookbook. I think there are so many layers to Balinese food that I haven’t yet explored, so I’m calling it a book about the food I grew up with. It’s taking a while, but it’s allowed me to spend some really precious time with my Niang who is in her 90s. And learning as much as I can from her, in more of a hands-on sense, as opposed to just writing and recording. It’s a very different approach for me, but it’s teaching me a lot about my culture, my family and who I am as a cook and a writer – having that ability to slow down and be truly conscious in the kitchen.

Maya Kerthyasa Food-12-30 01.18.00 1.jpg

What is your routine to get inspired?

Every morning I try and do three pages of free writing. I’ve got a book especially for this, so I sit down with a cup of tea and my favourite pen and just write anything that comes to mind. Sometimes it makes no sense, some days it’s more of a diary entry, other times I’ll just write about the way the morning light is touching the kitchen bench that day. There are really no rules and it just gets my creative juices going.

An Open Studio event and product launch for Threads of Life

To celebrate the launch of a new product line, Farmer to Fabric, Threads of Life opened their natural dye garden and studio to the public for an afternoon.

TOL Open Studio-10.jpg

Guests were able to visit 6 stations demonstrating different parts of the natural dye process, take a mini-tour of the dye garden, purchase fabrics, learn about the workshops available, and talk to the team about any specific questions they had.

TOL Open Studio-13.jpg
TOL Open Studio-12.jpg

About Farmer to Fabric:

The Farmer to Fabric collection of hand-dyed natural-dyed fabrics brings the production values of our partner weaving communities to the work of our own dye studio in rural Bali: we use natural dyes by natural processes, avoiding synthetic additives; we work by hand, so that the mastery of our in-house dyers is evident in the look and feel of every unique piece; and we source our dyes directly from the farmers we have trained to grow and process the dyes.

This collection builds on natural dye practices with indigo, Ceriops-brown, mud-black, Morinda-red, and other traditional colours that we have studied since 1998 in collaboration with indigenous weavers across Indonesia. Through this research we have been able to discover where the transmission of knowledge between generations had broken down and facilitate revitalisation of traditions. With Farmer to Fabric we can now also support sustainable cultivation and use of the dye plants as a way of supporting the husbands of the weavers we work with.

TOL Open Studio-17.jpg

Around 50 people joined the event. Many were long time supporters of Threads of Life but had never had the opportunity to visit the dye studio or learn more about the processes behind the beautiful colors of Indonesia’s textiles.

TOL Open Studio-25.jpg
TOL Open Studio-11.jpg
TOL Open Studio-01.jpg

The beautiful cloth tag we designed for the Farmer to Fabric line. Screen-printed and hand-sewn to create pockets for the information about each piece.

TOL Open Studio-04.jpg

Crafting a brand identity for Mana

The team from Earth Company has been working on a special project for the last few years. We’re happy to be part of the final piece of the puzzle by creating the brand identity for Mana Earthly Paradise and helping launch this eco accommodation located in Sayan, Bali. It’s set to open in June 2019. Follow their story on Instagram.

Nestled in Ubud’s heartland, Mana Ubud reimagines sustainable living for the eco-conscious traveller. Where the real luxury is in your connection to the land, the environment and the community.

Live in earth-bag bungalows constructed from all natural materials. Mana Ubud combines elements of traditional Balinese architecture with hints of minimalism and natural modernity. Experience low-impact living surrounded by the beauty of Bali.

Learn about innovative new eco-technologies that can reduce your footprint on the plant.

Leave your mark on the community. Your stay supports change-makers across the Asia Pacific.

Mana Social Media Identity.png

For the palette we chose to use colors inspired by the warm tones of the mud walls and very organic shapes in line with the natural forms of the architecture and design. We looked to Japan, Bali and the Pacific for inspiration and references.

Much of the design of the space and structures was completed by the team at Hatiku Indonesia and their initial sketches inspired us in creating the initial feed for Instagram and social media posts.

Mana Facebook Post.png

Make a Scene! X Cosa Design & Decor

Elami was very happy to play a small role in uniting the amazing talents of Make a Scene! and Cosa Design & Decor for a special event.

Cosa creates incredible floral designs primarily for weddings in Bali and Jakarta and their work has been featured in Martha Stewart and Junebug Weddings. Despite not being Bali-centric in terms of design, they gamely agreed to combine with Make a Scene! to realize an incredible range of Bali-inspired table centerpieces and floral arrangements with woven coconut leaf components by Make a Scene!.

Make A Scene! Bali Special Event 5.JPG
Cosa Project Special Event 4.JPG

Using local Balinese flowers and the idea of a modern offering, they created three different centerpiece designs.

Cosa Project Special Event 9.JPG
Cosa Project Special Event 8.JPG

Make a Scene! also created a series of photo backdrops for guests to enjoy during the event, including incredibly alive dragons.

MAS - Scenic Backdrop.jpeg

A pair of butterfly wings to embrace a couple.

Make A Scene! Bali Special Event 4.JPG
MAS - Butterfly Wings 2.jpeg

And a fan paired with two woven umbrellas. All woven by hand and biodegradable!

Make A Scene! Bali Special Event 9.JPG

5 years of Elami and Co & 5 things we learned

Celebrating our Elamiversary all April!

We got a shock when we realized this year marked the 5th birthday of Elami and Co. Although, sometimes we think it’s been more than 5 years because of the number of events, designs and experiences that we have worked on with so many amazing people. Our roots can be found in volunteering for TEDxUbud and being aware that we started all of this from a shared love of event and experience creation gives us a strong set of values as a company.

To date we have initiated and curated TEDxUbud, The Creative Refresh, The Dinner Series, brand storytelling for many sustainable and environmentally conscious companies around Bali, and recently welcomed Make a Scene! event decor to the family.

We asked each other what we have learned in the last 5 years and this is what we came up with.

  1. Incorporating our core beliefs in our work.

The most important thing for us is sustainability in all contexts. The core of what Elami and Co. does is event management and design and we believe that we can still create amazing experiences that also have a positive impact. That can mean choosing local artisans to create products, keeping the environment in mind when designing (because there is no need for more waste on this island if we can do that), or choosing local food sources whenever we can. If it’s a Bali event, it has to include, support and honor all the things that make Bali so special, especially the rich culture and heritage of the island.

tcrd2-neynarhm-05228.jpg

2. Storytelling is at the heart of everything

We love hearing and telling stories. Last month, we celebrated International Storytelling Week and sat down with Elami Co-founder Mila to talk about why Elami and Co. loves storytelling: “When you met someone who is passionate tell you about something, they are so in love and so knowledgeable. You fall into their world and that is powerful. You can’t help but get swept along and meanwhile you’re learning so much!” People connect to stories, much more than a product or service.

3. The devil is in the details.

Also known as the ‘have you ever tried to sleep with a mosquito in the bed’ principle. You can have an amazing event, but if the toilet paper has run out in the bathroom that might be the one thing that sticks in the attendee’s mind. A good event manager always keeps an eye on the ‘little stuff’. A flawless and simple event needs a lot of to-do-lists and cross checking to make it flow.

suki-zoe-tedx-2017-7586.jpg

4. Only as strong as our relationships

For everyone. Working with people from different backgrounds make us appreciate this even more. We are not making events for ourselves but for the people who attend. What we might think is amazing might get thrown out the window when we put ourselves in the shoes of an attendee. In all our events, we also love people to feel like they are personally acknowledged. A handwritten thank you message, or a customized gift goes a long way, we’ve discovered.

We’ve found we’re only as strong as our relationships with people, especially our beloved vendors and volunteers!

suki-zoe-tedx-2017-7139.jpg

5. Always expect something to go wrong.

Psychological research calls this resilience and we need buckets of that to do events. Nothing is perfect in the world of event management. Even when the communication and planning is amazing, something will go astray. So we learn day by day to be more organized and put more systems in place to soften the blow when something does go haywire.

Krisna Dewa Putra - resize_TED 64-3646.jpg

Last but not least, is an honorable mention that no matter what we do, it's always

poquito miring!

(translated as 'slightly askew’ in this mashup of Indonesian and Spanish)

We have just expanded our office and can’t get over how this has become our unofficial motto in all things. It’s also a path to acceptance for the perfectionist in us all.

viktor-wang-tedx-4614.JPG

Indonesia Nara Karya X The Creative Refresh

When we designed The Creative Refresh, we envisioned creating experiences for companies and teams in the creative industries looking to come together, explore new skills, and leave with a renewed sense of creativity in their company’s culture. We knew we could design amazing tailored programs for companies with a twist inspired by Bali, while offering teams an opportunity to relax, connect and grow. In short, by getting a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem and spending intensive time cultivating new skills, we know a Refresh will bring participants fresh inspirational juice and energy for future projects.

TCR GrowInk by Elami 02.jpeg

So, when Indonesia Nara Karya (INK) approached us to create a two day Refresh for their team, we realized we couldn’t have dreamed up a more ideal client- a group of young Indonesian creatives (filmmakers, copywriters, graphic designers) working on telling stories with a social conscience! INK was coming to Bali for a work plan retreat with ten members and asked to have The Creative Refresh after their planning meetings were complete.

TCR GrowInk by Elami 17.JPG

We began the process of planning their Refresh by asking them what they wanted to achieve. These three words kept coming up: mindfulness, Indonesia, and team. As a team that works remotely, their trip to Bali was an important time for relationship building and face-to-face interaction. So we designed a few twists to their activities, often including more pair work and interaction between group members to help activate their sense of togetherness.

TCR GrowInk by Elami 26.JPG

This was balanced by the need for cultivating mindfulness in their creative process. For this request, we chose activities and mentors with a focus on meditative practices through art and also by asking workshop leaders to talk more about their own personal experiences with this important part of creativity. We also made a point of including reflection times and silent moments before commencing work.

TCR GrowInk by Elami 34.JPG

And finally, they asked for a focus on Indonesia. We’re fortunate to be based in Bali- which attracts creative from all over Indonesia to set up bases and studios here. We had no problem choosing a range of workshops that shone the spotlight on Indonesia’s amazing heritage and Bali’s contemporary creative scene.

TCR GrowInk by Elami 04.JPG

About Indonesia Nara Karya

Indonesia Nara Karya (INK) is an organization founded to support the creative potential within communities. INK is a creative space and collaborative network to achieve their mission of telling Indonesia’s authentic stories. INK sees itself as a sustainist design company that supports the values of co-creation to produce local products and turn the focus on pro-environmental and community-based initiatives.

TCR GrowInk by Elami 08.JPG
TCR GrowInk by Elami 23.JPG
TCR GrowInk by Elami 32.JPG
TCR GrowInk by Elami 25.jpeg
TCR GrowInk by Elami 12.jpeg

About The Creative Refresh

If you make a living from your creativity, the creativity of your team, or just want more creativity in your workplace, it’s time to press pause, hit refresh and replenish your innovative drive.

The Creative Refresh program offers you or your team an opportunity to relax, connect and grow. We design tailored programs for companies with a creative twist inspired by Bali. We can customize the experience to suit corporate retreats, company gatherings, or employee engagement programs with the aim of bringing creativity back into your workplace culture.

We house you in boutique accommodation, introduce you to local creative stars, feed you well (and often), and curate off-the-beaten-track activities based on your wants and needs. Your itinerary might include anything from intimate studio visits to immersive discussions, hands-on workshops, unique culinary experiences and plenty of opportunities to stop and take it all in. In short, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem, with the goal of bringing your team some fresh inspirational juice.

Photos by Michellina Suminto

The Elementals Dinner, April 5 2019

We will let our The Dinner Series curator and host of The Elementals Dinner, Maya Kerthyasa, summarize this magical night:

“When we started The Dinner Series one of the first things we wanted to do was take people back to the Bali we grew up in. So, last night Melati Gaymans and the Elami and Co girls brought Bukit Campuhan and the river Wos to the verandah of my little cottage, my grandmother and I prepared some of our favourite Balinese dishes, Rudi and Bawa from Akademi Bar at Katamama had infused araks and local-ingredient cocktails on the pour, and then we jumped in a time machine, rewound 20 years and watched a frog dance in the garden. My Papa, Tjok Ibah shared some anecdotes about his life growing up and Balinese culture going forward. And in true Bali style, it rained right up until the guests (who were an incredibly special bunch) started arriving at this mostly outdoor event. An especially big thank you to my Niang, Anak Agung Rai, who surprisingly doesn’t have Instagram.”

dinnerseries_elementals 21.JPG

Flavours and folklore from the power of the elements

This evening was about tapping in to the many bounties of traditional Bali - the flavours, the sounds and the natural environment. Dinner was prepared by Anak Agung Rai, the 90-year-old mother of Tjokorde Raka Kerthyasa and a former palace cook, with the help of her granddaughter, Maya Kerthyasa.

2018-12-30 01.18.01 1.jpg

The dinner was held at Maya’s private home on the banks of the Wos River in Campuhan.

elementalsdinner_elami 05.jpg
elementalsdinner_elami 07.jpg

We worked with Melati Gaymans to create an incredible ‘edible landscape’ down the center of the table in the shape of the Campuhan Ridge, with the two (male and female) rivers running down each side. If you look closely you can see Pura Gunung Lebah (Campuhan Temple), the old Dutch bridge and the alang alang fields of the ridge. For the rivers we used agar agar, as well as taro leaves for the grasslands of the ridge, and pandanus leaves for the alang alang.

elementalsdinner_elami 13.jpg

For place cards, we wrote each guest’s name with rice grains.

elementalsdinner_elami 01.jpg

The menus were hand-lettered by Michellina Suminto on recycled paper to form candle holders for the table.

elementalsdinner_elami 18.JPG

The food

Anak Agung Rai, or Gung Niang as she’s known around Ubud, cut her teeth in the kitchens of the Puri in the 1940s. She was just a girl when she married Tjokorda Ngurah of Saren Kauh, who taught her much of what she knows about sacred Balinese foods and how to prepare them. Now in her 90s, she continues to cook the way she did in the palace, using wood-fire and completely natural ingredients. “Once you disconnect from nature,” she says, "you lose sense of what truly matters in life.”

elementalsdinner_elami 15.jpg

Gung Niang’s cooking is lauded across the island and has been studied by chefs, home-cooks and international television crews, alike. There’s something in the sincerity of her food that reconnects the diner to flavours of a bygone era – Balinese food in its truest form. You can taste the land in the leaves and roots she harvests from her garden, there’s a life-force from the animal she butchered with her own hands, and most importantly, in every knife-stroke, and mouthful – there’s a resounding sense of ritual and purpose.

2018-12-30 01.18.00 1.jpg

The performance

The house that hosted the dinner was once home to Cristina Formaggia, an Italian dancer who mastered Balinese topeng dance. We invited her former group from Pura Desa Batuan to come and perform in the garden by torchlight.

elementalsdinner_elami 22.jpg

Watch the video of the night below:

Behind the design: YSEALI Impact XL Bali workshop

We worked with the East West Center to create the visual identity for the March 2019 edition of the YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) for eco entrepreneurs here in Bali.

2019_YSEALI Impact eXL_Main Flyer.png

“Impact eXL is an innovative YSEALI Regional Workshop providing professional development to existing entrepreneurs to improve environmental performance and for environmentalists to incorporate entrepreneurship and modern business practices to their activities. This training will introduce attendees to startup incubators in Bali and incorporate sustainable development, innovation, leadership, strategic philanthropy, and other topics to emphasize how entrepreneurs and businesses can improve their environmental performance.”

YSEALI Impact XL.jpg

For this event, we created a set of icons closely related to Bali and also symbolic of the places and people the participants would be visiting. We created designs for digital flyers, backdrops, standing banners, tote bags, t-shirts, notebooks, folders, and name tags, keeping in mind a strong sense of place and also the age of the attendees (under 30).

YSEALI Nametag.jpg

For the name tag design, we were very inspired by the focus on eco-entrepeneurship and environmental values held by the event. We decided to produce the name tag with Green School’s iHub, a green prototyping facility, and one of the host venues for the workshop. We chose bamboo for its sustainable and strong features as we needed to create a tag that would still look after 4 days of wear but was plastic-free.

We hung the tag on natural indigo-dyed organic cotton cloth sourced at Threads of Life. Threads of Life commits to full transparency for planting, harvesting and production, and their cloth was a perfect fit for the lanyards. The lanyards were produced by a local tailor in Ubud to support small local businesses.

YSEALI tshirts.jpeg
YSEALI bag by Elami and Co.jpeg
YSEALI Design by Elami and Co.jpeg

A few minutes of The Creative Refresh experience

The March 2019 itinerary included intimate studio visits, immersive discussions, hands-on workshops, unique culinary experiences and plenty of opportunities to soak in the best of Bali. In short, a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem that not many people get a chance to see.

Under the name The Creative Refresh, we design tailored programs for companies and individuals in the creative fields. We provide two different experiences:

1. Customized whole experiences curated just for you and your team (anything from 5 to 10 days) for employee appreciation programs, team retreats, corporate excursions or team building programs.

2. Three-day workshops for individuals (four times a year)

Learn more at thecreativerefresh.com

Get to know: Janur Yasa on sustainability, food and personal experiences

We talked with Janur Yasa, one of the founders of Moksa, a plant-based restaurant in Ubud, and a Bali native. Janur has worked with Elami and Co. and TEDxUbud from the very early days - the second edition of TEDxUbud! He’s been an inspiration and calming source of support for our team over the years. In the last few years, Janur has been bringing Moksa, his amazing garden to table venue into being.

Moksa Ubud Bali-2855.jpg

What inspired you to build Moksa?

I built Moksa with my business partner, Chef Made Runatha. We were working together at one of the healing centers in Ubud and we often talked about building a restaurant together. I was so interested because I always see Chef Made as a creative and qualified individual. He sees food as a medicine- what we eat is beneficial to our body. This bring us to the 4 principles that we apply in Moksa: learning, earning, sharing, and fun.

Moksa Ubud Bali-2998.jpg

What are the values that form the foundation of the brand?

We have a tagline, “to create a place of awakening the senses” and we want all the guests who eat here to feel this in every way. They see the food presentation, hear the sound of the tempe cracking, touch the crafted cutlery and the texture of the food, smell the cool atmosphere mixed with the kitchen, garden, and food smells, and, lastly, be surprised by the taste. We really want that to lead to a personal experience every time they come here, whether it is the first time, or the second.

Moksa Ubud Bali-2923.jpg

How you get the team to live your values?

My team and I are so close. I often spend my time here at Moksa, working and making new friends. There is trust between us so we respect each other. We share what we learn. We all have to taste our own food so we know what it is and we all can explain it really well. We have the garden and we bring the garden to the table, from table scraps we give back to the garden. The sense of belonging is built in and everyone in the end has each other’s backs because they are disciplined. Disciplines means respecting each other. Fun doesn’t mean ‘airy fairy’, fun is when you are ready to be present, working hand-in-hand, with good communication, that makes it fun.

What kind of events does Moksa support and why?

Always comes back to, ‘does the event support our 4 principles?’. We support Ubud Food Festival, TEDxUbud, and Slow Food events because we are aligned with their values. Especially, what make us sure is the sustainability and waste management policies of the event. We have this huge problem in Bali. Moksa really want to be part of the people who work to protect the environment. So, we want to support events who is in the same vision and mission. TEDxUbud has taught us how a well-organized big event can handle this issue.

Where do you think Moksa is at right now and what is your next project?

I don’t think that our 4 pillars is the destination. It is a process. I would say maybe the 4 pillars is also the parameter, it is day by day journey. Always learning, sharing, earning, and do fun. Like today, I learn from your questions. I never looked at our work in that way before.

We are now in the middle of building a special facility for cooking classes. Also, I started a regular talk and brunch -- which I would like to also make yoga and brunch or other dojo class and brunch. The first one was 8 people but this week it’s already 16 people. So I am really excited. Basically we talked about the history of Balinese temples, the geography, daily culture, the food, and everything related. The other project we have is more learning, more earning, more sharing, and more fun!

Moksa Ubud Bali-3063.jpg

Get to know: Chloe Rose Quinn on traditional Balinese decorations and creativity

We spent an afternoon last week in conversation with Chloe Rose Quinn, the co-founder of Make a Scene!. We talked about her team of super weavers, her thoughts on creative events, and her recently joining the Elami and Co family.

Make-a-Scene-Bali8.jpg

What is the meaning of Make a Scene! and what led you to join the team?

Make A Scene! is a play on words. I come from a theatrical background where I was trained to make scenes from plays come alive. Here in Bali I want to make scenarios that bring Balinese craft to life.

The most important thing to me about Make A Scene! is that it is a celebration of two very different cultures joining together through creativity.

At Make A Scene!, it’s all about the shared intention of elevating craft. We transform spaces with Art. We don’t want to take anything away from the space, instead we want to engage with it. When we create new designs we want to bring a sense of theatre to a place. When you are around our ‘woven scenes’ you are inescapably in Bali- It’s a celebration of nature, skill and culture.

The team just happened organically. It really was because of the friendliness and openness of Gus Ari and his partner Ciknang. 3 years ago these two friends were the first two craftsmen who re-introduced coconut leaf weaving into Balinese Wedding decorations. They were the pioneers {of the re-green movement} in decoration. Their first experiment was for their friend’s wedding and I recall Gus telling me that they sat and wove for 4 days and nights straight! Everything was made from coconut leaves and it blew the minds of everyone who saw it. The installation received so much attention and luckily for me,I saw a photo on Facebook and that is how I discovered them!

It’s a total partnership between Gus Ari and myself. We have trusted each other from the beginning. I have an initial concept and share it with Gus. If he’s excited by it, then it goes to the rest of the team. Our team is up for any challenge. They are amazing. They never turn away from something unless the restrictions of the leaf deem it truly impossible. I am just so lucky to be a part of such an ambitious group of artists.

Make A Scene! specialises in weaving with one specific leaf- Slepan. We try not to get sidetracked by ‘glossier additions’, westernised luxuries. We recognize that our weaving is beautiful as it is and that we do not need to go in search of ways to elevate what we already have. As long as we stay innovative with our material and keep our very high standards we can continue to be so proud of the Art we offer.

Why do you think collaboration is important?

Collaboration allows you to learn, to be introduced to new ideas and share knowledge. I think sharing makes everybody stronger. In the western world people are very protective and scared of being copied and that is a shame. I prefer to be more open, welcoming a dialogue and feedback. There is a strong sense of being an artist and representing Bali, so why not help each other to bring out the best of Bali together.

Make-a-Scene-Bali13.jpg

However, sharing and openness can sometimes be a bit tricky and teams can unashamedly copy. At the end of the day we must be happy that people look up to our team as the leaders in this green movement. It pushes us to be at the top of our game. Other teams across Bali are becoming really skilled weavers now and so we cannot ever become complacent, we’ve got to keep moving forward and excite -Innovate.

According to you, what is a creative event?

An event that inspires people, opens their eyes to different areas of creativity, and makes them want to tell others about their experiences. For example TEDx - it’s people sharing a space, that gives them new information, there is art, different foods – they leave needing to process what they have experienced. The effect might not be obvious straight away but I think the right creative event can inspire the soul.

Why do you think joining Elami will bring good things to Make a Scene?

Elami are all about ‘The Best of Bali’. Everything is so carefully sourced, hand-selected and really carefully curated-. Their events are delivered sensitively and in a conscious way. Elami will enable us to continue proudly representing Bali to a wider audience . Elami is ‘from Bali’ and ‘for Bali’. They are fully engaged in the Balinese culture, landscape and sense of place- as non-western as possible! We at MAS! want to be part of that.

Tell us 3 words that spark creativity

Joy : You have to have joy in what you’re doing.

Commitment: You have to commit because sometimes you have to fight for something you create, and argue for it, and push it. Good things don’t come easily.

And possibility! ‘A child would say. ‘I want to be a princess in the day time and hairdresser in the night time and a vet on Sundays. ‘Anything is possible!’

I guess I haven’t let go of my inner child as I wanted to be a creative and to live in Bali one day and look where I am now- actually living my dream!

The most important word for me is the commitment. I think you can have possibilities and be joyful but if you don’t have the drive or the correct tools to get the job done, your ideas will just remain in your head.

Make a Scene Bali Event decor3.png

The Indigo Dinner, December 15 2018

There’s a seat with your name on it.

The Dinner Series is about connection and immersion. We’re inviting our most creative friends on a string of dining journeys which shine the spotlight on Bali’s innovative flair.

Each meal, setting and decoration has a story of its own. Every evening takes a surprise turn. We want you to talk, learn and share—but most of all, we just want you to have a good time.

Indigo Dinner by Neyna Rahmadani-02100.jpg

The Indigo Dinner: Honouring and preserving an ancient art form

Our second Dinner Series event took us into Threads of Life’s natural plant-dye studio for a sensory exploration of all things indigo. Chef Fernando de Souza from Mana Uluwatu designed a vibrant menu with a nod to the various cultures that work with this wonder-plant.

There were big flavours, great conversation and, yes, lots and lots of indigo.

Indigo Dinner by Neyna Rahmadani-02150.jpg

Our collaborators

Threads of Life

For over 17 years, Threads of Life has worked to conserve the precious basket and textile arts of Indonesia by commissioning local weavers. Founders William Ingram, I Made Pung and Jean Howe work with over 1,000 women on 11 islands across the archipelago. They help them to manage their resources, form local coops, recover and preserve the skills of their ancestors and work in fair environments. Their Ubud Gallery offers a deeply educational insight into Indonesia’s myriad textile traditions. At their studio in Petulu, they take the learning experience even further, through immersive workshops spanning batik, dyeing and weaving using all-natural fibres and dyes.

Mana Uluwatu

The latest venture from Drifter’s Tim and Seewah Russo, Mana is just the kind of sharp, thoughtful restaurant the Bukit has been waiting for. The kitchen, headed by Fernando De Souza, draws from the various cuisines of Asia and South America. The result was a menu that’s equal parts fresh, soulful, and sophisticated, with a healthy dose of laid-backness thrown in for good measure. De Souza has a stellar repertoire, having cooked aside the likes of Jean-Georges at New York’s Perry Street and Bali’s own Agung Nugroho At Chandi, Fat Gajah and Arang Sate Bar. For The Indigo Dinner, he touched on the flavours of India, Japan, Indonesia and Peru.

We created table settings featuring indigo dyed threads, handspun cotton from Java, indigo placemats created by Threads of Life, hand-painted place settings, and traditional clay dye pots, all under a canopy of indgo-dyed cloth. The menus were hand-lettered and then screen-printed onto cloth.

Indigo Dinner by Neyna Rahmadani-03076.jpg

Jasmine Okubo performed and held the audience spellbound as she danced a specially created piece inspired by the human-nature connection.

The Dinner Series is co-curated with Maya Kerthyasa.

A compendium of creativity

We are forever intrigued by the questions surrounding creativity: where does creativity come from? Can we grow our creativity? Can creativity be measured? Is everyone born creative? What happens when you run out of creativity? What role does creativity play in the workplace? (What are other words we can use instead of creativity? 😝)

Below are some great articles, resources or sometimes just thoughts and quotes we’ve come across over our years of creativity chasing. We will be adding to this list as we come across new musings and analysis.

From a George Monbiot essay:

“In her famous essay the Ecology of Imagination in Childhood, Edith Cobb proposed that contact with nature stimulates creativity. Reviewing the biographies of 300 "geniuses", she exposed a common theme: intense experiences of the natural world in the middle age of childhood (between five and 12). Animals and plants, she contended, are among "the figures of speech in the rhetoric of play … which the genius in particular of later life seems to recall".

Studies in several nations show that children's games are more creative in green places than in concrete playgrounds. Natural spaces encourage fantasy and roleplay, reasoning and observation. The social standing of children there depends less on physical dominance, more on inventiveness and language skills. Perhaps forcing children to study so much, rather than running wild in the woods and fields, is counter-productive.”

Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity. — Mahershala Ali

Hurry Slowly Podcast

An incredible set of topics that all link back to creativity and creation.

For example, “Philosopher Renata Salecl on how choice anxiety damages our creativity and why we need to embrace the idea of chance.”

Your brain on crafting

“Crafting is also unique, Levisay says, in its ability to involve many different areas of your brain. It can work your memory and attention span while involving your visuospatial processing, creative side and problem-solving abilities.

Scientists are beginning to study leisure activities' impact on the brain. Playing games, reading books and crafting could reduce your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by 30% to 50%, according to a 2011 study published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry.”

Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye  — Dorothy Parker

The most in demand skill of 2019: creativity

This is the first year that creativity made it onto LinkedIn’s list and Paul Petrone, editor of LinkedIn Learning, says that this year’s list reflects a change in employers’ priorities.

“Interestingly, the newcomers to our list were uniquely human traits,” Petrone told CNBC Make It via email. “Employers recognize the importance of embracing modern technologies as well as recognizing those things technology can’t do: connect with other people, engage in out-of-the-box thinking and quickly adapt to new priorities or problems.”

A gathering in honor of the Creative Economy

Bali recently hosted the first World Conference on Creative Economy, where policy makers, industry leaders and creatives came together to share experiences and ideas from around the globe. At Elami we tend to be immersed in the world of practitioners, so it was an eye-opener to listen to discussions of our industry by high level government and private sector superstars like Grab and Bukalapak.

World Conference on Creative Economy Elami and Co--7.jpg

The theme was one of the best we’ve seen in ages- Inclusively Creative. A perfect description of the event in terms of bringing together different sectors and an inspiring call to action. Standout speakers included architect turned West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil (who left us wishing we could clone him to develop Bali’s creative scene), filmmaker Lisa Russell, and Mileva Stupar of the Audiovisual Institute of France.

The conference also created an exhibition area where we spotted Make a Scene!’s gorgeous hand-woven life sized tree draped in beautiful indigo creations by local fashion designers.

World Conference on Creative Economy Elami and Co--2.jpg

The Danish Embassy came armed with the power of Lego and we spent time creating some (interpretative) Lego ducks before heading off to see the Grab installation of painted helmets, a collaboration between the transport company and local artists.

World Conference on Creative Economy Elami and Co--5.jpg
World Conference on Creative Economy Elami and Co--3.jpg

Looking forward to attending more events like this and watching Indonesia’s creative economy grow and develop in the years to come.

World Conference on Creative Economy Elami and Co--4.jpg

An excursion to ART BALI 2018

Congratulations to ART BALI on their first art exhibition at AB • BC building, Nusa Dua. The event was held with the support of the Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy (BEKRAF) from 9 October to 9 November 2018. We closed the office one Friday and headed all the way to the end of Bali to explore the exhibition with a few of our friends.

Art Bali with Elami and Co--3.jpg

During the exhibition period, ART BALI offered a regular tour, with curators Rifky Effendy and Ignatia Nilu. We took the opportunity to join their final curatorial tour. The curators told us they picked the “Beyond The Myth” theme to explore phenomena and perspectives behind the socio-cultural framework of the artists’ empirical experiences and discourse in Bali and Java.

Art Bali with Elami and Co--7.jpg
Art Bali with Elami and Co--5.jpg

The political is never far behind when we shine the light on the socio-cultural values of Indonesia so it was not surprising to see so many intense and relevant pieces. For example, Wayan Upadana created a poignant piece on the fantasies surrounding tourism and harmony here in Bali through miniature figures half- drowning under the waves of Bali’s sea. This was a firm favorite of everyone in our group.

The work from Syagini Ratna Wulan, featuring Bandu Darmawan, focused on the rise of hashtags in the public agenda. Jompet Kuswidananto’s installation took the form of a tent filled with chandeliers, in a reference to the stealing of curtains from the houses of colonial officers so that the villagers in Madiun in late 19th century could peek and see what the residents did, especially at night. According to work’s description, the chandeliers represented a looting of knowledge and culture, thus setting this foreign knowledge free.

Art Bali with Elami and Co--6.jpg

In the past 2 years, there has been a mushrooming of creative platforms (such as studios, collectives, and galleries) and events (exhibitions, discussions, artist talks, workshops) in Bali. ART BALI contributes to this movement and has been met with great excitement by all in the creative community. ART BALI will be held annually and we’re looking forward to seeing how the artists continue to explore the cultural-social-political situation, and reflect it through their own visual language.

As Nina Simone said, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

Art Bali with Elami and Co-.jpg
Art Bali with Elami and Co--2.jpg
Art Bali with Elami and Co--9.jpg

The Origins Dinner, October 14 2018

There’s a seat with your name on it.

The Dinner Series is about connection and immersion. We’re inviting our most creative friends on a string of dining journeys which shine the spotlight on Bali’s innovative flair.

Each meal, setting and decoration has a story of its own. Every evening takes a surprise turn. We want you to talk, learn and share—but most of all, we just want you to have a good time.

Origins Dinner IBUKU KAUM 2018-5610.jpg

Our very first Dinner: The Origins Dinner

We wanted to celebrate thoughtful ingenuity. The people and businesses who are taking sustainable practices seriously and transforming them into something beautiful.

The stars of this evening were Wayan Kresna Yasa, executive chef of Kaum and Ijen, Potato Head Family and Elora Hardy, founder and director of IBUKU.

Both Potato Head Family and IBUKU are strongly committed to working with, not against, the precious environments from which their businesses have blossomed. Elora has been instrumental in the growth of Bali’s ever-popular bamboo architecture. Her otherworldly designs have taken the architectural world by storm, proving to the skeptics that eco-friendly building doesn’t have to compromise on style.

Origins Dinner IBUKU KAUM 2018-7015.jpg

Potato Head Family incorporates sustainability into many facets of its operations – from the materials of its buildings, to the stages and art installations at its events and, now, the food at its restaurants. At Chef Wayan’s latest venture, Ijen, not a single piece of waste goes to landfill. His flagship restaurant Kaum, too, draws on traditional Indonesian cooking techniques that leave a minimal footprint on the planet.

Our inaugural Dinner Series event brought these two pioneers together under one roof – the spectacular leaf-shaped roof of IBUKU’s new Eclipse House, to be specific, where Wayan serving a host of his planet-friendly dishes, hand-picked from the menus of Kaum and Ijen.

In honor of the theme of sustainability and returning to our roots, we created table settings using traditional Balinese dulang trays sitting on hand-woven mats, naturally dyed napkins (with turmeric and onion skins), local centerpiece arrangements (starfruit, marigolds, banana stems, and torch ginger flowers) and served Isola wines produced here in Bali.

Krisna Floop serenaded us as the sun went down with his beautiful guitar playing. We enjoyed an evening of amazing conversation and hopefully generated lasting connections between the 15 guests! And there’s much more in the pipeline, but we won’t spoil all the fun – see you at the dinner table.

The Dinner Series is co-curated with Maya Kerthyasa.