Preparing for 2015 – ARTE reveals new bookmarks, new dates!

As 2014 comes to a close, we, at ARTE have many things to be grateful for. Our ever busy and committed core team of ARTE press officers, bloggers, administrators, and social media experts would like to take this opportunity to thank all our artisans who have been with us, serving up quality handmade treats to our customers. We thank the customers who have graced us with their presence and have regularly purchases our quality products made with our own hands and a pure heart and mind; thus supporting our handmade pledge.

2014 in review

We have also come a long way in terms of expanding our horizons in the UAE. While our popular Dubai Festival City Market was cancelled just before the summer, ARTE expanded into Mirdif’s Arabian Centre and made RAK Al Hamra Mall a permanent location for handcrafts. ARTE also happens twice a month at Times Square Centre. We even were part of the Winter Fun Fest at the Green Community. Yes, we have far-reaching impact on those that crave a bit of something handmade right here in the UAE.

ARTE Markets 2015 dates announced

The ARTE 2015 bookmarks are in! The ARTE management have locked down the dates for the full year of 2015 at Times Square Center, Dubai and Al Hamra Mall, Ras Al Khaimah. Beautifully combined with snazzy snapshots of the awesome ARTE artisans’ products, our bookmarks announce the 2015 dates. Bookings are open; be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

The making of the 2015 bookmarks

We want to share the ‘bookmark making’ fun we had, so take a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot for the new bookmarks. ARTE’s core team scouted the ARTE markets for a variety of products from various vendors and spent an enjoyable morning playing with toys, trying on accessories and indulging in freshly made cupcakes – quality control is crucial after all. From there, the process continued to the ‘final selection committee’: the graphic designer and ARTE management. While we wish we could feature all our talented artisans, we thank the selected vendors for participating and hope to inspire everyone to create their best work in 2015 and beyond.

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The history behind the bookmark

First conceptualized in 2005 when ARTE was founded, the logo and designs developed over the years with input from various graphic designers. The idea of the bookmark came from the commitment ARTE management made to promote the markets and its vendors.  The bookmark is compact, portable and useful. Here are a few images of the bookmark’s evolution, and if you want to delve further and see how far we have come, click on the links below and you will know!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year and lots of handmade love and luck come your way.

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New ARTE Bookmarks for 2013

ARTE bookmarks in weird and wonderful places – Tracey Marshall

ARTE bookmarks in weird and wonderful places – Eva’s CATS

ARTE bookmarks in Weird and Wonderful Places – Fruitbowl Workshops

ARTE Bookmarks in weird and wonderful places – Paras Creations

Featured Artisan – Glass engraving by Suzan Gathoni

A Dubai resident for six years, Kenyan artist Suzan Gathoni specializes in glass engraving. Trained in Kenya with a British Master Glass Engraver and a member of the Guild of Glass Engravers, Gathoni is now a freelance artist participating in the ARTE markets.


Gathoni specializes in the technique of intaglio engraving, which she explains is the art of hand sculpting a three-dimensional design on to a glass surface, creating a negative image. As the light falls and plays on the deeply carved designs, the image appears as though it is in relief.


Gathoni's glass engravings

Gathoni’s glass engravings


Safety precautions are vital to the engraving process as the glass dust is dangerous to inhale. Gathoni advises “using water during the process as engraving should not be done on dry glass. The work area should be kept humid at all times, preventing the glass dust to dry.”


Gathoni at work

Gathoni at work


Nature and culture are Gathoni’s biggest inspirations. Her work regularly features wild animals from her native Africa. Liking Dubai and its people and cultures more each year, she feels motivated to expand her horizons, which is why you will see local UAE designs incorporated into her engravings.


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With both locals and expats buying her works, Gathoni believes ARTE has given her good exposure, saying that “It is amazing how Dubai people love handmade things.”

Follow her Facebook page and visit her table at this weekend, Saturday 20th December, at the ARTE market in the Arabian Center, Mirdif. Click here for the location map.


Images courtesy of Suzan Ghatoni.


Interview with Polymer Clay artist Anne-Sophie D’Souza

French artist Anne-Sophie is known of her eye-catching polymer clay jewelry work. She has chosen this handcrafting form to work with because she finds it a flexible medium to creating something bautiful either to wear (for example, jewelry) or embellish one’s home (vases, cutlery and even light switches). “Working with polymer clay is like entering a new dimension. The possibilities of creating amazing art are so many, I could not list all of them,” she says.
Anne-Sophie's booth at ARTE.

Anne-Sophie’s booth at ARTE.

She gains her inspiration from world leading polymer clay artists such as Donna Kato, Sara Shriver and Alice Stroppel. Hailing from Maine et Loire, France, a region known for its castles and history, she also gains inspiration from nature.  If you were to pop by Anne-Sophie’s studio, you will not only find polymer clay and liquid polymer clay but an array of other tools and materials which may be trash to others, but remain invaluable to her work. “I use alcohols to enhance my work. Apart from pasta machine, cutters and tools that are part of the polymer clay art creation process, I keep every single thing that I feel I may use in some project or another. Things like glass jars, bulbs, spoons to shape a bead. For creating impressions on the clay, you may find that I use a cap of a pen, or even a kid shoe print with flowers.” She smiles smugly and declares, “I have become a collector in my own home!”
Pretty Polymer Clay Flowers made by Anne-Sophie

Pretty Polymer Clay Flowers made by Anne-Sophie


Earrings that look like butterfly wings, ready to fly away!

Earrings that look like butterfly wings, ready to fly away!

Like many artists, Anne-Sophie loves working in other art forms, stitching and painting being on top of her list. “But only second and third to polymer clay,” she reminds us. While she invested in her first pack of colourful polymer clay way back in 2006, she only started to work with the technique in 2009. Eventually, this led her to participate at ARTE in early 2011.  “I love Mokume Gane technique, which involves having several layers of different colours and then impressing with tools of your choice (either stamps or sharp tools). Then you slice delicately and each slice is a different pattern with different colors. You use these slices to cover your core beads or shapes.”
Autumn and winter leaves?

Autumn and winter leaves?

Find Anne-Sophie at ARTE this Friday, Times Square.
Her website can be accessed here.
Follow her work on Facebook.

Rocking the UAE the handmade way this Christmas


With the holiday season upon us, ARTE is pleased to announce that we are participating at the Market and Winter Fun Fest, an event put together by the fabulous folks at the Green Community.  This in addition to our regular markets at Times Square Centre, RAK Al Hamra Mall and the Arabian Centre, Mirdif; making it so easy for you to catch up on your last minute shopping the handcrafted ARTE way at different locales around the UAE. At the Green Community festive event, there will be a Santa’s Grotto, a fashion show, dance performances and the lighting of the Christmas tree with carol singing. So, mark your diaries – Saturday, 13th December, 12 – 7 pm, and pop by to buy some colourful festive decorations.

Speaking of which, decorating is always a fun and festive activity.  Making decorations are even more fun.  That’s why the artisans at ARTE offer an array of handmade items to transform your home and entertain your family, friends and special guests like Santa Claus (and his Mrs.). Here are a few examples for festive decorative inspiration.


Wreaths  by The Flowerful Project

Welcome guests to your home with these natural, fresh wreaths by floral designer Alisa Sokoliuk. Serving as door, window or table decorations, they bring the distinctive pine smell of a traditional Christmas tree to your home.

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Images courtesy of Alisa at The Flowerful Project.


Knitted decorations by Marjan and Bahar

Iranian sisters Marjan and Bahar knit these nifty little tree decorations. They also have a selection of Santas in all shapes and sizes to fit into any nooks and crannies. You can view more of their knitted works here and read an interview with them on knitting for success.

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Textile and quilts by Tessa

For a warm and cosy Christmas feel, have a look at South African crafter Tessa Jahnig’s textiles and quilts.  See her selection from wall hangings and stockings to dinner tableware to add a festive flair. More of Tessa’s work is available on her blog.


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Christmas crackers by Wayne

Have some fun around the dinner table with these imaginative crackers by Wayne. Customize the colours, the words, the sizes, as well as the fillings, to entertain everyone. Wayne’s crackers also contain Whimsies by Wade (collectible figurines from the UK). They were even featured in the film “Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets”. To read more on the history of crackers, see Wayne’s website.

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Nativity scenes by Miriam The Felt Lady

Iconic to a traditional Christmas celebration, every home needs a nativity scene. For a variation on conventional sculptures, Miriam Walsh fashions these intimate scenes from felt and wood. You can find more information on Miriam here.

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Once again, here are the dates for ARTE markets in December:

There are three more official ARTE markets before Christmas:

Friday 12th December at Times Square Center,  Dubai

Friday, 13th December at Green Community, Dubai

Friday 19th December at Al Hamra Mall, Ras Al Khaimah

Saturday 20th December at Arabian Center, Mirdif, Dubai.


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Images taken by Stephanie Neville unless otherwise credited.