We sent Karen Donald on a quest to find the best workshops you should join in Bali.
1. Bamboo U – Build & Design Course
Orin Hardy and Maria Farrugia launched Bamboo U at Kul Kul Permaculture Farm in 2014 to push the limits of bamboo architecture. Their team offers bamboo workshops five times a year with guest presenters such as Neil Thomas, Arief Rabik, and Gunter Pauli. Workshops are tailored to those studying or working in the field of design, architecture, engineering, construction, or carpentry: looking for ways to create a better world. In collaboration with Ibuku, the 11-day Emersion Course offers a complete bamboo learning experience. Part One covers the process of bamboo preservation, harvesting methods, sourcing, and how to design structures. Part Two is an open workshop offering hands-on opportunities to build with Balinese carpenters. The next course runs August 9-20, guided by master carpenter Jorg Stamm who worked alongside Simon Velez in Colombia. He is credited for developing the towers at Green School’s, the Heart of School.
+62 812 3759 6672
2. David Metcalf – Photography Culture Tours
David is an acclaimed International Photographer with many years experience. Through his workshops he creates pathways for sustainable, positive change in the indigenous communities, specifically in the legendary lands of the Dayak tribes of Borneo. David started offering photography workshops for the first time in Ubud during 2013, and over the past six years has completed 35 photo tours and workshops. He started to expand outside Bali in 2014 and has now held workshops in eight different countries and across Indonesia. In 2018 David curated the first Young Indigenous Filmmaker Project with Dayak run Ranu Welum Foundation. Although he runs popular day trips around Ubud, his most popular workshop is in West Kalimantan (8 days) with small, intimate groups of 5-8 people. The next workshop in North Kalimantan involves a trip into the forestlands with indigenous Dayak people. Students will capture amazing photographs and interact with local communities – leaving lasting impressions.
+62 811 1331 255
3. Mekar Bhuana – Balinese Gamelan Music & Dance
While studying classical gamelan on a scholarship in Bali, Vaughan Hatch became aware of how mass tourism was negatively affecting traditional performing art forms. In 2002 he met Putu Evie Suyadnyani, a talented Legong dancer and singer – who is now his wife. Together they formed the Mekar Bhuana Conservatory in 2004 offering a number of different workshop programmes in Denpasar for people who want to know about classical gamelan or dance in more depth. Their Vision is to document and reconstruct rare or extinct Balinese gamelan music and dance through research, study, workshops, lessons and performances. You can choose from one-hour, half-day, full-day or longer programmes with slide-show presentations (up to two weeks). They also handle special requests for study abroad/cultural immersion groups that need something custom-made. All workshops include historical and technical explanations in either English or Indonesian by researchers and experts. Central to the aims of Mekar Bhuana are tangible results, including audio and video recordings as well as reconstructed performances using antique instruments.
+62 361 470 1258
4. Bali Make-Up School – Program In Make-Up Artistry
Located in Tamora Gallery Canggu, Bali Make-Up School initially started free workshops to have fun with friends then officially launched a business earlier this year. Based in Singapore founder Ken Alcindor worked as an International Makeup Artist for LVMH DIOR from 2005-2017, travelling the world to train beauty consultants: he speaks fluent English, Chinese, French and Bahasa Indonesia. Bali Make-Up School workshops teach people how to create their own beauty signature and make-up products with natural organic ingredients that are developed to the highest and most prestigious international standards. The Master Program In Make-Up Artistry is a four-week intensive Beauty and Fashion training for up to five customers in one session. It’s a way for women to contribute toward the protection of the planet by living simply and being aware of organic products. From fashion, beauty, to backstage atmospheres, teachers are genuinely passionate about sharing knowledge and help students realise their dreams.
+62 813 5310 1203
5. W.S. Art Studio – Silver Jewellery-Making
When Mark Winans met his wife, Ayu she had rented a building, furnishing and decorating it to be a welcoming place, immersed in Indonesian craft works. The creator of W.S. Art Studio originally worked as a silversmith under the name Wahana Silver. They started craft classes and the new business took off. Ayu designed her new, spacious gallery and with the help of two local Balinese tukangs (skilled workers) she had a finished gallery in about seven months. They now offer several craft classes every day from mask carving, batik painting, traditional painting, traditional Balinese dance, bamboo weaving, and silver jewellery-making. And with five grams of silver provided per participant, you can customize your own individual piece of jewellery. Also included are pick-ups from your accommodation with great tea and snacks! The Ubud studio is compact and their small classes make for a private experience – great for the whole family or friends who can share in the creative fun. Their most popular workshops are: Silver Jewellery-Making; Wood, Mask or Stone Carving; Batik class; Fruit Carving; and Lontar Weaving class but also offer Puppet-Making, Kite-Making; Bamboo Carving, Balinese Dance and Gamelan with 14 different craft classes, two times a day.
+62 821 4689 5330
6. SmartMinds – Mindset and Culture Transformation
Mark Copeland started hosting live seminars in Bali during 2016 and has been able to inspire and educate thousands of attendees from different cultures and backgrounds through his creation SmartMinds. The free workshops like Mindset and Culture Transformation are called seminars. The 2+ day events are more like “accelerators”. Their most popular event is MasterMind Earth: a 3-day immersion to align global leaders around the resolution of the sustainable development goals. All of their seminars reach a very wide range of topics from personal, professional, technological and environmental. Each event is really focused on shifting the Mindset of individuals to best absorb and retain knowledge whilst experiencing vast personal transformations. The next event is MasterMind Earth – a private 3-day event (date and time yet to be finalised). This free event is a curated room of global leaders with the common goal of creating an implementation strategy for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
+62 819 832323
7. L’Atelier Parfums et Creations – Perfume Making
Nora Gasparini is both the nose and the brain behind “L’Atelier Parfums et Creations” a recognized perfume studio, where she, along with her team, teach the basics of perfume making. The French bespoke perfumer guides students from their first thoughts and ideas about the scents that excite them: helping them to explore the scents which best reflect their own personalities. Nora not only teaches guests how to combine different scents into self-made perfumes, but also gets them acquainted with the country that the raw materials come from – Indonesia has always been known as a centre for scents, the exotic Spice Islands of history. Some of the better-known essential oils include: vetiver and Ylang-Ylang, cloves and peppers, vanilla and sandalwood. During the 3-hour workshop: Perfumery Theory and Perfume Making, results are delivered in a 30ml labeled bottle of your own creation as a unique souvenir of your time in Bali, with a diploma as proof of your recently discovered knowledge and talent.
+62 821 4521 4045