Tag Archives: bali

Bulgari Resort Bali

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Standing elegantly off a cliff overlooking the endless Indian Ocean is the amazing Bulgari Resort Bali. It is a luxury resort balancing the natural elements and Balinese traditions with the sophistication of the Italian design house complete with an Italian restaurant so wonderful it was awarded ‘Best Hotel Restaurant in the World’ by International Food & Beverage Forum.

An amazing juxtaposition of private villas and sprawling mansions sound like a mega resort but that it is certainly not. It maintains a personal sense of privacy, and most importantly for me, peace all while making nature the greatest design element of all. The natural tones and traditional building elements sit the resort comfortably into the lush green and dramatic rocky cliff location.

I started each morning jetlagged at 5am, watching the colors of the sunrise fill the sky. Always first to breakfast, I would sit and have a traditional Balinese soup of chicken broth and noodles with mixed vegetables (and A LOT of spice) to the distant sound of the ocean crashing below. Lunches down by the beach consisted of fresh squeezed juices and light fish while the afternoons were perfectly filled with dips in our private pool before a 4pm walk around the property looking for the resident monkeys to see what trouble they were getting into.

This is my second time visiting Bali. What draws one here mostly, in my opinion, is the culture. The peacefulness of the people and the spirit of the ones who have moved here to be closer to it. Yoga, organic juices, and nature are the commodities of Bali, and are served up here at Bulgari in this beautiful setting. On my first visit to Bali I explored all over the island from hiking to the the top of a volcano to shooting on the black sand beaches and sleeping in a structure made of entirely bamboo. Though on this trip we did venture out to Ubud, mostly I just wanted to stay here at the resort. The beauty and calm is what my soul needed.

So here is to another amazing experience on this little island on the Indian Ocean… 

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Greener Every Day

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When you think of green companies, you may not immediately think of jewelry. But John Hardy is absolutely a sustainable, environmentally focused company, and nowhere is that clearer than with their Bamboo Collection.

The John Hardy Bamboo Collection is inspired by nature and the wonder of bamboo. Bamboo is used in Bali for so many purposes – rituals, building, decoration, even fishing! It is a backbone of their economy and we saw it everywhere in Bali. It is no wonder this piece of island landscape is such a huge part of John Hardy’s identity. The company is very focused on their relationship with the surrounding community, as many of their employees come from it, and part of that relationship is making sure they limit their own impact on the environment and work toward making it healthy. Part of that promise involves bamboo: the prevalence of bamboo can spur the economy, and bamboo is also incredible for the environment – it limits soil erosion, grows quickly to offset carbon emissions, and helps maintain water levels.

In 2007, John Hardy began the “Wear Bamboo, Plant Bamboo” initiative, which allowed its consumers to help them plant bamboo by purchasing beautiful pieces of jewelry from the Bamboo Collection. This initiative has yielded 900,000 bamboo seedlings so far – in a space roughly 4 1/2 times the size of Central Park!

The pieces are special not only for their clean design and polish, but because each piece of jewelry is etched with the number of bamboo seedlings John Hardy was able to plant with the money paid. How wonderful to find a company creating such beautiful, peaceful designs and knowing that they work equally as hard to become greener every day…

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Below, an artisan begins working on a Bamboo Collection cuff, starting with the traditional French wax molding technique, after which the cuff is casted in silver and continues through the process of filing and polishing.

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NAGA

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You can’t help but be overcome by the romance of the NAGA story. All over Bali we kept seeing the face of the lovesick dragon in temples, as carvings and in the landscapes of the fable. As the story goes…

There is an ancient story of a dragon known as the Naga. He lives on the volcano peaks of Bali, but at night will descend into the ocean to see his true love, the Pearl. In the morning, the Naga rises up from the water and flies back to his peak. Water drips from his scales as he goes, nourishing the rice fields of Bali. During the day he keeps watch over the island, protecting Bali and its people, before returning to the ocean each night. Because of this routine, the Naga represents eternal love, prosperity, and protection to the Balinese people.

John Hardy’s Naga Collection takes this fable and brings it to life through dragon imagery: the scales along his body, his expressive face, and sometimes, glowing eyes. You can wear a Naga piece differently to mean different things – if you orient his head so it faces toward you, it represents eternal love and prosperity. Away from you, it means protection (this has to be my favorite application of a story to something wearable!)

Since the mythic dragon lives between volcanoes, we paid a visit to Mount Batur to hike up this active volcano which most recently erupted in 1963. Through volcanic activity over the centuries, a lake has formed from a collapsed crater. The visible activity of the volcano is a network of vents releasing hot gases – at the source, hot enough to warm food (in the case of our trek it was hot bananas!) It was my first experience on the top of a volcano, feeling its hot gases wrap around me as if Naga was watching the sun set, preparing his descent into the ocean to be with the one he loves….

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Weaving Life on Bali

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Bali is built on tradition and community, two aspects that permeate everything on the island from artisan’s work to religious practices and ceremonies. There is a rich heritage on the island of artisans, from jewelry making to weaving, and it is easy to see how these skills appear not only in the beautiful work made but also in the offerings presented at their temples.

Chain weaving, for example, has been going on for thousands of years in Bali. Women will work together, taking on different parts of the creation process to ultimately create a beautiful and intricate piece. This is mirrored in woven offerings, created with young coconut leaves by a number of women to make a detailed and gorgeous gift for the gods.

We had the most amazing peaceful experience on morning with our friends at John Hardy who wanted us to see the importance of tradition and community Bali is built around and how that influences the John Hardy designs, in this particular instance with Classic Chain. We rose before the sun to be dressed in traditional temple outfits and arrived at Pura Tirtha Empul, meaning The Holy Water Temple. People say it was built by Indra, a god of protection, and boasts pools of natural spring water for rituals. Water is the source of life and the Balinese use lots of holy water for blessing, drinking, and purifying – and you can even take it home with you! The temple is the biggest in Bali and people will come if something bad is happening to purify oneself or home.

Hinduism states that there are five elements of the body: water, fire, earth, wind and earth. Everything comes back to these elements in customs and rituals. In the ceremonies these elements are represented through the use of items such as incense and fire, which you see above in our offering the ladies created for us and below for the blessing ceremony.

The artisans at work in the ancient chain weaving manor:

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Just like women come together to weave the leaves into baskets for ceremonies, the community does the same with John Hardy’s approach to jewelry making and the classic chain weaving process. Like I mentioned before, John Hardy has a program where single mothers can work from home in their own communities in order to both make a living at their craft and raise their children.

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Below, the chains are later passed to another set of hands, continuing the creation process from one person to another, all working toward the finished product together.

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Community, ancient chain-weaving and ceremonies.

Below we witnessed the community of women working together on making the traditional offerings. These same type of techniques are passed down from generation to generation , showing up in spiritual practices, craft and trade and even as art pieces like some of the textile weaves we learned about from Threads of Life.

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