A green revolution is underway in Bali, led by the innovative minds behind Make a Scene Bali (MAS). Founded by Chloe Quinn, a stage and theatre designer from the United Kingdom, and Ida Bagus Gede Ari Artana (Gus Ari), an expert coconut leaf weaver and a green movement activist from Bali, creation studio Make a Scene Bali is redefining the boundaries of traditional leaf weaving craftsmanship. 

They do this all while promoting sustainable event decorating through their use of biodegradable organic materials, which minimizes the one-time use of non-sustainable materials like plastic and styrofoam. By harnessing locally sourced natural materials and traditional weaving techniques, they minimize environmental impact while maximizing creativity, reflecting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production.

Photograph of Chloe Rose Quinn (far left) and Ida Bagus Gede Ari Artana (far right) with other artists in the Make a Scene Bali workshop. Image courtesy of Make a Scene Bali’s website.

Bali’s leaf-weaving craft has persisted through generations as a daily necessity deeply ingrained in the local culture. From crafting offerings for rituals and ceremonies to decorating wedding venues, palm leaf weaving has been an integral part of Balinese life. However, it was Artana's creative vision that saw its potential in elevating this traditional craft into a form of artistic expression.

Artanai's intricate tableau of woven coconut leaves at his friend’s wedding caught the attention of Chloe Quinn, which sparked a collaboration that would change the landscape of leaf weaving in Bali. Together, they founded Make a Scene Bali, a design studio dedicated to transforming palm leaves into stunning works of art, blending contemporary design and even fashion with traditional craftsmanship.

Event decoration in the form of a majestic weaved gateway by Make a Scene Bali. Image courtesy of Shibui & Co.

What sets Make a Scene's creations apart is the design studio’s ability to transform flat, 2-dimensional palm leaves into breathtaking 3D structures. From intricate gateways to majestic mythological creatures, their sculptures push the boundaries of what is possible with this once considered “humble” material. The team's innovative approach has also sparked a green movement across the island, inspiring many Balinese crafters to return to all-natural materials, especially when making decorations for weddings and events.

Event decoration in the form of a Balinese dragon by Make a Scene Bali. Image courtesy of Shibui & Co.

Their dreamlike creations captivate audiences and challenge the perception of what is achievable with leaf weaving, landing them commissions from prestigious events such as the G20 Summit in Bali, at which heads of state from 20 of the world’s largest economies gathered. For the event, they crafted five sustainable large-scale sculptures, including a family of Balinese turtles and a Balinese dragon.

Kura-Kura Bali (Balinese Turtle) by Make a Scene Bali, event decoration for the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. Image courtesy of @make_a_scene_bali_/Instagram.

Through their collaborations with local craftsmen and women, Make a Scene Bali aims to inspire a new generation of artists and artisans in Bali. By showcasing the possibilities of sustainable craftsmanship, they hope to revitalize interest in traditional skills and promote a culture of innovation and creativity.

Make a Scene Bali's impact extends far beyond the shores of Bali and traditional decor, as they continue to explore new avenues for creative expression, including an exploration into jewellery and wearable art. Their collaborations with international jewellery brand John Hardy have brought Balinese craftsmanship to the global stage, showcasing the beauty and versatility of woven coconut leaf to audiences around the world. 

Make a Scene Bali’s silver and leaf collaboration piece with John Hardy. Image courtesy of @johnhardybali/Instagram.

This recent foray into jewellery design, using lontar leaf, has allowed Make a Scene Bali to open up new opportunities for export and international recognition for Balinese craftsmanship. Not only that, by diversifying their product range and exploring new markets, they are demonstrating the potential of sustainable craftsmanship to thrive on a global scale.

As Make a Scene Bali continues to push the boundaries of leaf weaving and sustainable design, they remain committed to their vision of creating a more environmentally conscious and socially responsible world. Through their innovative creations and collaborative spirit, they inspire others to embrace the principles of responsible consumption and production, paving the way for a more sustainable future for events in Bali and beyond.

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