Artisans, over a course of time, need to stay creative and that they do by experimenting with new techniques, combining different techniques, or just move into a totally different field of art and craft. Creativity must be allowed to take its own course, so that the world gets to see creativity flourishing at its best.
When Diana Berisha-Mahmuti, also known as T’Dänes, moved to Dubai in 2011, she was already a great collector of different styles of jewelry, thanks to her travels. “I would even buy broken pieces because I found something extraordinary in every small part of jewelry. In time, I started to combine different pieces of jewelry to creative a new pieces. The jewelry piece resembled a souvenir, as each piece was reminiscent of a town or a country that I’d travelled to.” You can visit T’Dänes facebook page to see those symbolic jewelry pieces.
So how did papier maché come into the T’Dänes picture? Diana, also a big fan of recycling, says, “It was the sight of stacked newspapers that somehow triggered within me the need to reduce the amount of waste, if only in our household. That’s how I decided to try out the technique. I’m still learning it, but it is a lot of fun and gives me ample space for creativity.”
For Diana, papier maché allows her to see possibilities of creative interpretation beyond jewelry making. “I can see pottery and other home/personal accessories in my mind’s eye. Papier maché gives me the freedom to use colors as well, which is my primary call, being an academic painter. I love bright colours and bold forms. In fact I’m a great believer in any form of upcycling. One such upcycling creation is a brooch I made recently – I’ve turned a broken silver scarabee pendant into a lovely brooch, using paper- maché as a bug’s nest.”
If one allows Diana to talk about upcycling, she will be very happy to give you the whole history – how the best examples of modern day upcycling started in the thrifty 1930s where repurposing items was the only solution for families that had very little economic or material resources. She remembers her grandmother who, in her words, “had the hands of an alchemist. She would turn everything useless into something not only practical, but beautiful as well. She once made me a beautiful dress out of flour cotton bags.”
Living in Dubai and being a part of the ARTE community is very important to Diana. “Dubai is a very safe place to live in and in this safe place, as an artist, I can focus well on my work and get in touch with the best of the creativity inside of me. Moreover, safe and beautiful environments are crucial for one’s inner growth, especially when they allow one to transcend traditional ideas and patterns into creating meaningful new artforms of one’s own interpretations.”
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The first thing that happens at Well Preserved stand, is your mouth starts to water, the taste buds get fidgety and your hand automatically reaches to sample one of the Well Preserved chutneys or jams. You are not sure what you are going to get hit with: a sudden sense of minty flavour with the tingling floating from your tongue into the nerve cells in your toes; or a blast of Indian lemony goodness making your brain do a bit of a metaphorical topsy turvy while your body melts into lemon-land filled with goodness of mustard and curry leaves.
Simply put, want a sweet spot or hot spot in your life? Try Well Preserved’s chutneys, jams and pickles and you won’t be disappointed.
Well Preserved is owned by Keren Bobker and Jennie Bishop who have been friends for many years. In Keren’s words, “A mutual interest in making preserves of all types eventually led to setting up Well Preserved in the summer of 2011 with a view ot selling via the ARTE markets. We both have full time jobs and many other interests so we describe Well Preserved as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’!”
“We make everything by hand, at home, trying to use seasonal ingredents and local ones where possible too. We do not use any additives or chemical preservatives.”
Source of all photos: Well Preserved
When an artisan decides to combine her fine art talent with that of stitching, you have Mai Charles painted handbags.
Mai Charles identifies herself as a fine artist who has taken to stitching her fine artwork into fine handbags.
As as result, you can only expect one-of-a-kind bags with Mai Charles. No wonder, then, that her work is commissioned on a regular basis.
The products are not only for women and kids, even men can enjoy some of Mai Charles work, such as the boat collection below.
Visit Mai Charles website.
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The word ‘surat’ has many meanings in different languages. But when we refer to the word in ‘Surat Journals’ it means ‘write’ in one of the Philipino language dialects. At Surat Journals, you will find the ‘irresistible combination of leather and recycled paper’ as the proud owners and handcrafters say. The leather is imported from the Philippines, but the products are done right here in Dubai – the home of ARTE handcrafts.
It all started when two handcrafted journals were used to doodle coffee sketches and paintings. What evolved is what you can see in the photos below – an explosion of handcrafted leather journals to appease the ‘journalling’ appetites of those who love to journal whether by writing or sketching.
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Sources of Photos : Surat Journals
It is amazing how a well travelled member of human kind finds his journey back into the arms of his homeland, Lebanon. Where ‘the history of stone merges with the beauty of nature, where olive trees dance with the breeze of the valley’ (Reference, Wael Hamadeh’s biography.
The biography is as poetic and heavy with ‘dancing’ metaphors, just as Wael’s beautiful paintings are. The characters in his paintings are filled with nature’s way of expressive arts, whether that is the picking of apples or the gathering of fruits and herbes, whether it is the sweat of his father and forefathers, or the brightness of the sun wiggling its way through the harvest season.
When you see Wael at ARTE, you will notice that he is always painting. There is movement, liveliness, mermerism at its best. Wael believes in social consciousness, so he uses materials such as wood and even throw-a-away tin cans to paint on a make some great pieces of upcycled art. The rust from the cans is quickly covered with luscious dips of acrylic paint and with a flick of lacquer, the painting is sealed for good, never to corrode through the course of time.
Like Wael Hamadeh’s facebook page.
His website is worth looking at too. From exhibitions to commissioned work, from coffee sketches to sculptures, the website is replete with the creativity at its best.
The ‘Hand of Khamsa’ or the ‘Hand of Fatima’ has become quite popularised in jewelry, keychains and other accessories. Khamsa literally means ‘five’ in Arabic. While the origins of this symbol cannot be pin-pointed in history, it is believed to offer protection (from what some may call ‘evil eye’)
While the Hand of Khamsa is very often, seen in amulents and accessories, it is refreshing to see it used as part of artwork and paintings. And that is what you get to see at Marlene’s stand at ARTE.
Amidst the paintings of her blooming roses, you will see acrylic painted square canvases with the Hand of Khamsa. These make very nifty gift ideas. Marlene obviously has her ‘eye’ on the Hand of Khamsa (no pun intended). She fills the interior of the Hand of Khamsa symbol with 3 D paints or with flowers. No two are alike.