Mt. Airy resident Laura Cohn is celebrating the 25th year she’s been running her holiday pop-up store featuring handmade gifts from Bali with a long list of events, starting now and running …
Mt. Airy resident Laura Cohn is celebrating the 25th year she’s been running her holiday pop-up store featuring handmade gifts from Bali with a long list of events, starting now and running through Christmas Eve. The store, located at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Evergreen Street, will offer gifts for all ages and price points, with a portion of every purchase benefiting Indonesian non-profits.
Cohn, who speaks fluent Indonesian, has been working with fair-trade craftspeople she’s known for more than 30 years. She said she uses her store to educate people about Indonesia’s rich culture, and curates the store with the colors, smells and sounds of the country she loves.
“You may come to our colorful Germantown Avenue storefront to shop, but you will most certainly feel like you visited the magical island of Bali itself when you leave,” she Cohn. “I love it when visitors walk in the show and immediately feel transported, to somewhere far away, exotic and wonderful.”
The opening celebration last Saturday featured performances by the Modero Indonesian Dance Company, accompanied by live Gamelan (Indonesian orchestra). Other events scheduled include a Balinese cooking class and feast, film screenings and travel talks, traditional instrument classes, a batik fashion trunk show, modern pop music, and more. Other events range from a Play-the-Angklung music night for all ages to Stretching and Sipping “Jamu,” an herbal immune booster.
Cohn lived and painted in Indonesia for six years, learning the language and building relationships. Her relationships with artisans, which she’s maintained for 30 years, 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.
Last year, Cohn created a new online store, frombalitous.com, that lets shoppers browse and purchase everything from jewelry to sculpture from the comfort of home. The storefront, From Bali to US, provides a deep dive into Indonesian culture with Cohn as a guide. A portion of every purchase benefits Indonesian nonprofits that support women’s health, environmental clean-up and pandemic relief for artisans.