Wedding bells and cards, the Bespoke way

Congrats to regular ARTE-san vendor, Bespoke Cards Dubai Owner Amanda Spriggs, on the joyous occasion of her lovely daughter’s imminent June wedding.  For this auspicious occasion, Amanda has shared with us the process of making the unique wedding invites for her daughter’s wedding.

The finished wedding cards by Bespoke Cards Dubai

The finished wedding cards by Bespoke Cards Dubai

So how did the whole plan about creating the cards come about?

Amanda says, “Our Daughter came over 4 years ago to Dubai for a holiday with us and as she was studying fashion design at University, we took her to the fabric Souk in Dubai to look for fabrics, lace, beads etc for her final fashion show at university. She saw a bolt of lace approx 25 yards long and she loved it. At the time, she said ” I don’t know what I can do with it but I will buy and keep it until the right project comes along.””

The right project did come along (the wedding!) and Amanda’s daughter decided to use the lace for her wedding Invites. “She decided that the theme would be shabby chic, so we started talking about colours, the size of invite. She knew exactly what she wanted  so the designing process was much simpler.”

It took Amanda around 5 months to create sixty invitations. “Each invitation card was totally handmade by me and every step of the making process was measured, checked and re-checked to make sure that every piece of card, lace and ribbon that was cut was identical in size down to the last millimetre. For me it is important to buy my card, envelopes and coloured card from factories that use trees from sustainable forests.”

Bespoke Cards Dubai stand as seen at one of ARTE souks

Bespoke Cards Dubai stand as seen at one of ARTE souks

So when did the ‘crafting’ life start for Amanda?

” I have been crafting  for about 37 years and tried my hand at all sorts of crafts but about 9 years ago a friend asked me to make a birthday card for her mum. Since then I’ve been hooked to the craft of card making.  When I look back at the cards I made in the beginning, to me they were not very good but I knew in my head what type of cards I wanted to make. With practise and learning from my mistakes I have come to the stage where I am very proud of and each card I make is made with love, great care and attention to detail.”

The lovely Amanda with our great looking stall at ARTE

The lovely Amanda with our great looking stall at ARTE

Amanda shared some sentiments about her relationship with her daughter which brought us to tears (just nearly).  She says,  “I have learnt that we may be thousands of miles apart but with technology we could keep in touch every step of the way through the wedding preparations.  Our daughter has kept me involved in all the decisions made for the wedding and asked my advice throughout. She even took a photo of the wedding dress she had chosen and emailed it to me and told my mum that if I did not like it she would choose another. But I loved it. I have so missed not being with our daughter in the run up to the wedding as I think it’s every Mother’s dream.  But I must say, I could not have been more involved with living so far apart. I am one very proud mother.”

Visit Bespoke Cards Dubai  on facebook.

NOTE: If you are a regular ARTE-san, interested in sharing your handcrafting/painting process and you have great pictures to share with us, please drop us an email.

It is very important, that the photos are of great quality (as Amanda has done) so that we can use these to illustrate the blog post, should we decide to carry your work on the ARTE blog.

Keen on Bags and Oil Cloth

I (Jan) never knew what an oil cloth was till Carinne Abou-Huguet, Owner of Keen Bags, explained to me.  The oil cloth is basically the plastic looking material that you see in most of the Keen bag products (note the shiny bits on the Keen bags in the photos below).

Photo by ARTE.

Photo by ARTE.

The Oil cloth actually keep the bags waterproof. Great idea if you are going to the beach or you live in a tropical climate (which thankfully the UAE is not, though a bit of rain doesn’t hurt in the winter months).

Match and Match a bit more! Love the little bag because you can slip your hand in and use it as a clutch!

Match and Match a bit more! Love the little bag because you can slip your hand in and use it as a clutch!

When asked why Keen Bags, Carinne mentioned that her mother used to call her Keen when she was a child. “And that’s how I decided to name my bags collection as KeenBags.”

Bags, wallets and pouches. Oilcloth, cotton, vinyl and velvet. Details for comfort and chic.

Love the unique patterned textiles that are used by Keen Bags

Love the unique patterned textiles that are used by Keen Bags

The little trinkets are made by Noor Absynthe, for a personalised touch.

The little trinkets are made by Noir Absinthe, for a personalised touch. Such a great way for artisans to pair up and help each other in personalising their work

Use a KeenBag to protect your IPad.

Use a KeenBag to protect your IPad.

Keen Bags have their own workshop in Dubai, where you can visit to have your own bags customised.

Visit the facebook page of Keen Bags

Fantastic ‘Artystik’ by Arthi Srinivasan

It is amazing how artists can use artwork as a way of demonstrating a point or an issue that is close to their heart. Arthi Srinivasan is one such artist, who, at this point in time is involved in raising awareness on the education of children in rural India. Her current series, titled ‘Emancipation from Distress’ showcases the ploys of rural Indian woman to provide for her children.  The following painting showcases one such way that the rural Indian woman would want to do so, even if it means asking for milk – something a modern woman blessed with abundant life would be able to afford without even thinking of it.

Arthi’s style of painting is largely abstract figurative, is reminiscent of pop art with use of vibrant colors and bold brush strokes.

'Got Some Milk?' In Acrylic

‘Got Some Milk?’ In Acrylic

The series of paintings may, at first instance, feel rather depressing because according to Arthi, “It reminds as that somewhere along the way, the efforts of NGOs are wasted because they are concerned only with garnering the votes of the rural Indian population. Subsequently, the focal point of education for the rural Indian children is left on the wayside.”

"Educate Us." In Acrylic & Gouache

“Educate Us.” In Acrylic & Gouache

Arthi has used quotes from Mahatma Gandhi and Russian philosopher, Eli Khamorov, on the subject of education to help express her feelings and translate them onto the canvas as well as into Hindi and Tamil, her own native language.  “I want to  draw parallels to affluent children whose parents can afford basic education. There is nothing else different between these children except that money rules in favour of the latter and forces the former to live under impoverished conditions.”

"Working Mom." Acrylic with translations in Tamil

“Working Mom.” Acrylic with translations in Tamil

A bit about Arthi herself. She is a self-taught artist who has been inspired by various artists that represent different art genres such as Van Gogh, Modigliani, Raja Ravi Verma, Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko.  Her work has been showcased in group exhibitions in Dubai and Mumbai.

Join Artystik facebook page.

It’s Raining (stuffed) cats and dogs!

In the creative world, we can give ourselves permission to be any kind of creative thing we want to be; or do amazing things that rock the creative hearts and minds of all.  In real life, summer may be upon us, but we allow ourselves to imagine that rain does away with creative blocks we artisans we may face.

Especially when it is raining cats and dogs.

Thankfully, at ARTE May markets, we report that it rained stuffed cats, dogs and more. Here is a sample of handcrafted, stuffed and glorious depictions from the animal world.

 Eva’s cats

Eva’s cats are magical. They elicit a smile from even the moodiest mall visitor!

Eva's cats

Those with a backache on a stool? Eva's cats will solve that back problem

Visit Eva’s cats website

Visit Eva’s cats facebook page

Namali Weerasinghe

When Namali first took part at ARTE markets, she was heavily into embroidery. Needle Craft Heaven was born.   Over the next few years, we were lucky to see her kiddie collection with the ballet tutu line, called the Little Princess Collection.

Dulani Lakmali

Her sock monkeys under the brand name of Sandustar Socks Toys created a rage the first time they were displayed at ARTE.  To this day, they continue to cause the usual furor so often seen in the monkey world, with the sock monkeys sitting coyly in the trees, or swinging about aimlessly.  The main ingredient of the Sandustar sock monkeys is, as the name depicts, socks!

Other sock toys are available like this sock elephant.

Jolly Good Products by Jo Catton

We have seen Jo Catton dogs at ARTE. Sadly, we can’t locate them. Can anyone help? Thanks!

One Card To Rule Them All…

One Card to rule them all,

One Card to find them,

One Card to bring them all

and always have a card on hand, no matter what.

Meet Clara Townsend – a Dubai College student who recently began her very own laptop fund from the sales of her unique handmade greeting cards at ARTE.

Between school and playing drums for an indie band called Rainhouse, Clara needed a quick yet smart way to raise money for a Macbook Pro. With her goal in sight, Clara decided to create something that was unique yet cost-friendly. Using her friends and family as inspiration, she quickly realized that most people in Dubai lived very busy lives and often forgot small things such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Enter All-Occasion Cards

For the common multitasking Dubai-resident, Clara created funky yet simple wordsearch greeting cards with a plethora of sentiments (Sorry, Congratulations, Merry Christmas) and phrases (Thank You, Missing You, Welcome Home) that can easily be customized for any occasion.

A picture of a “last minute” gift accompanied by Clara’s All Occasion card sent in by a customer

Clara suggests, “Just store a few cards in the office, at home or even in the car. Then, on your way to a last minute  party, pull one out, highlight/circle the right occasion and you’re good to go. For extra points, you could consider dropping by a flower shop for a bouquet.”

Clara’s all occasion cards are available as a single piece or in sets of 5, for only AED 45.

Lego Heads

It has been over a year, since Clara raised enough money for her Macbook Pro. However, having caught the ARTE bug, she is far from being done with creating Greeting Cards.

Today, Clara’s card collection has expanding to include new Lego-Head cards, with her bestseller being the ‘Ghitra Lego Head’. The new collection was well received by customers as well as fellow crafters, which also gave her the idea to use it in her GCSE art final piece.

To find Clara’s unique handmade cards, visit her at the ARTE Market in Times Square Center on the second Friday of every month.

Mummy’s No. 1 Inspiration

Bahraini-born, Mona Al-Alawi is the lucky mother of a beautiful little girl who is also the inspiration behind her baby accessories line, The.Little.Lady.

Mona Al-Alawi with her daughter

Specializing in handmade hair accessories for little ones, her collection currently ranges from hair clips & hair bands to luxurious ribbons & sashes, specifically made for a baby or toddler’s fine and wispy hair. Mona makes it a point to keep an eye on high street trends and tries to make sure that her designs compliment the seasonal clothing ranges in the local shops.

When creating her unique one-of-a-kind pieces, Mona takes extra care to ensure that each item is safe for babies. This entails making sure that all embellishments are firmly secured using non-toxic glue, and lead free materials. On occasions, these accessories could make it to a child’s mouth, so she makes sure that the parts are not going to easily come free, posing a choking hazard, or that any of the components used could make a child sick.

A customer visits The.Little.Lady booth at the ARTE Market

A happy customer

To learn more about Mona and her cute line of baby accessories visit The.Little.Lady facebook page or just drop by her booth at the next ARTE Market in Festival Centre and Times Square Center.