Artisanal Ambitions

Three Bahrain creatives tell us how they turned their hobby into a brand Discuss this article

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Just as a huge percentage of the world’s population endeavours to one day write a book, many people also dream of making a living out of expressing themselves creatively. In big cities such as London or New York, opportunities abound for artists, but in Bahrain, finding a market for your passion can be a little trickier. But it’s not impossible.

We asked three inspired Bahrain residents, with their own adoring audiences, how they got started in the hopes of encouraging you to scratch your own creative itch. Here’s what they had to say…

Arts and crafts

Faiza Saeed, the mosaic maker

One of the few artists in Bahrain to focus on the craft of mosaic design, Faiza Saeed is becoming noted for her eclectic collection of stunning works. She first discovered her love for the art at museums in Britain, Italy and Spain, and her passion deepened when she met and learned from British mosaic artist Emma Biggs. Nowadays she crafts not only mosaic art but furniture too, and hosts regular workshops.

How did you get into mosaic?
I started with mosaics in 2009, but really, I’ve been an artist since I was a child. I come from a family of artists and I grew up in that kind of environment. I like 3D art and mixed media. I like working with my hands. So mosaics felt like a good fit. It is not very neat, unlike fine art, and therefore not intimidating. Anyone could do it, even someone who claims they have no artistic ability.

How have you developed your practice over the years?
That’s a good question. Over time I am moving towards more abstract designs, which reflect my internal state. I started mosaic by creating with wall hangings, but now I have evolved and create furniture such as tables. I started creating mosaic art with traditional subjects such as with the use of jars but I moved into focusing on modern and more sophisticated subjects. I am expressing more artistic ideas in my mosaic with more details and craftsmanship, which I continue to learn with practice. I also read a lot of books to increase my knowledge and attend frequent workshops to further enhance my skills. To evolve, you must reach a state where you are happy and content with the quality of your work.

Do you think mosaics will become more popular in Bahrain?
Absolutely! We have all kinds of options for indoor decoration, but none for outdoors because of the blazing sun and the humidity. Mosaics are a perfect option for Bahrain because they are so durable and can withstand all kinds of weather. In places like Ravenna, Italy or Barcelona, Spain you will find mosaics on buildings, houses and street signs. You will even find mosaics on pavements because pedestrian traffic does not damage them.

I think we should be making a similar effort here in Bahrain to beautify our public spaces. We could use them to decorate building facades, flyovers or pedestrian bridges.

What makes mosaic unique in comparison to other hobbies?
Mosaic art is very therapeutic and relaxing because you are focusing on one movement such as cutting, which gives you time to reflect on your life. Your mind can drift and you may solve your internal issues. It is like quality time with yourself. Unlike other types of art such as fine art, which requires high focus, working on mosaic there is room for making mistakes that can be fixed easily. In a sense, you are killing two birds with one stone because you are creating a mosaic piece while releasing emotions.

Is the Bahrain market big enough for so many new artists?
Most people who attend my workshops are not looking to pursue this as a profession. People usually just want to do it as a hobby, to spruce up their own homes, and perhaps make a few presents for friends and family. But yes, of course, there is room for everyone.

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

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