ARTE’s Artists

Moonberry Studios by Lene

March is the month of horse racing, art and literature in Dubai which makes me want to race on down to ARTE at Times Square, tomorrow, Friday, March 10, 2017. Do not forget our new hours: 10am – 6pm.  Looking for that special hat to wear to the races or a gift to share with your favourite jockey? Than ARTE is the place to be! Remember, our artists make what they sell and everything is handmade with love in the UAE. Plus, look out for ARTE this weekend at the Emirates Literature festival.

This week’s ARTE artist is Lene of Moonberry Studios

(Instagram: Moonberry_Studios, Facebook: Moonberry Studios1, e-mail:

Lene is originally from South Africa, but has been living in the UAE since 2005. Lene’s first ARTE market was in 2008. Shortly after her first market, Lene learned that she was pregnant with her first child. Lene decided ARTE would have to wait.  Today,  Lene  has two beautiful children who inspire her art work everyday.  In 2015, Lene decided to return to ARTE and she’s been with us ever since.

I asked Lene how she became involved with card making and she told me that one day she saw a page with a rose and writing on it. She loved it so much that she started talking to the artist, who introduced her to scrapbooking. Lene was hooked!

My photos do not do justice to her beautiful work. Lene creates each of her designs by hand. There is a great amount of love and care that goes into each card.

Lene believes in quality over quantity. A card is just as important as an art piece. This is why she uses pigment inks which are not heat dried. They take longer to dry but, are worth the wait.

She cuts out her images by hand, as well as using the latest embossing techniques.

Plus, Lene’s work is environmentally friendly, as she uses recycled books and paper to create her gorgeous cards.

Lene’s cards are perfect for holidays.  With Easter and St. Patrick’s day right around the corner, (and don’t forget all those birthdays!) you must come and check out her latest cards at ARTE.

Lene also handcrafts the most adorable gift tags.

for any occasion:

They even make great bookmarks:

Although Lene, loves making her cards, her true passion is mixed media. In 2008, Lene was a finalist in the Red Bull art show. When you visit Lene’s table, you will also see her art pieces for sale.

Lene describes her art as “historic ephemera”. She uses items from the past which would normally have a short term use like tickets to a movie, and transforms them into something beautiful. Here is an example:

If you look closely, you will see tickets. These tickets are from the 1970s. Originally, they were used to raise money for a trip to the fresh water angling world championships in Europe.

In this piece, Lene has taken pieces that her grandmother crocheted and incorporated them in her art. Lene feels that art is a way to connect our pasts and futures. If you are interested in learning more about her mixed media pieces or if you are interested in taking a morning mixed media art class, for adults only, Please stop by Lene’s table at ARTE for a chat.

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ARTE’s Artists

The Camel Lady by Darcy

Eid Mubarak – Here’s wishing you and your family a safe and joyous Eid Al Adha.

For those of you who are not travelling this Eid holiday, I invite you to join us tomorrow, Friday, September 9, at ARTE in Times Square Dubai. ARTE is the perfect place to work up an appetite before you go to your Friday brunch. ARTE starts at 11:oo, but many artists are open for business by 10am. There is plenty of FREE underground parking to keep your car cool while you walk around the gorgeous arts and crafts. What’s more, Biela and Caribou Coffee are open early for all your breakfast needs.

This week’s artist is the Camel Lady by Darcy (, Facebook ).



Darcy is originally from Los Angeles, California, USA, but has lived in the UAE for 17 years. She has been a member of ARTE for over 6 years. Darcy makes handmade papermache camels.



For many years, Darcy combined her love of theater with her love of papermache. Many of you may remember the yearly Christmas pantomimes that Darcy directed in Ras Al Khaimah and the myriad of set decorations and props that she made – from  palm trees to sea monsters. She even made a giant camel head so it was no surprise when she started making smaller camels.



Darcy’s camels travel well. Here are the two camels (Camill and Oswaldo) she took to the RIO Olympic games in August. They travelled around the country, often in just a plastic bag, and have returned home safely. Come meet them and learn about their adventure tomorrow at Times Square Center.



Each of Darcy’s camels is made individually by hand and has its own character. No two are alike.



Darcy’s camels come in many sizes and colours.



And are perfect for holidays, too.



Darcy decorates her camels using many textures:









and paper. Darcy has been collecting paper for years. Whenever she travels, she always checks out the local paper with her camels in mind.



Darcy welcomes special orders and is always up for the challenge of coming up with new designs. Of course, her camels take hours of work and orders take time. Being handmade, not every camel is perfect, but the flaws remind you that these camels are not made by machine or in a factory. They are made right here in the UAE and are exclusive to ARTE.



Stop by Darcy’s table tomorrow, near Etisalat, anytime from 10:30 – 6:00 and say hi.










ARTE’s Artists

Mehwish Riaz

May has arrived and with it the hot weather! With the return of the hot hazy days of a Dubai summer what better way to spend the day than a visit to ARTE! Today, Friday May 6th, ARTE is at the Oasis Center. Located off Sheikh Zayad Road, this cute mall is worth a visit and once you go, you’ll want to keep returning on the first Friday of every month!

This week, I want to introduce you to a young artist – Mehwish  Riaz.


Although her family is originally from Pakistan, Mehwish was born and raised in the UAE and considers Dubai her home. For 23 years, her passion has been drawing and painting. She started with watercolors and acrylics, but over the years has expanded her talents to include oil and ink mediums. It is not unusual for Mehwish to combine many mediums together.dsc_0008-copy-2-copy


I asked Mehwish how her interest in painting started. Mehwish is deaf and she found art an excellent way to help her communicate with the hearing world. Art allows her to use her imagination and to express herself.



I wondered if being deaf makes it difficult for her to work with customers at ARTE, but Mehwish just smiled and said her mother comes with her to The Oasis Center, Times Square and Al Hamra Mall RAK in order to help her communicate and share her more abstract art. Plus, the internet has made communicating with clients even easier.dsc_0003-copy-copy



Mehwish loves to paint and draw wild life, especially birds. She often uses ink, watercolor and acrylic to create her birds. She doesn’t like to just copy photos of wild life. Her images come from her mind and how she envisions her subjects. When I look at her work, I can see her struggle with the world and how her birds reflect the confusion and chaos of being deaf, but surviving in a hearing world.



Mehwish works contrast bright vibrant colors with a darker subject. They can also have a whimsical side which can be seen in her Arabic scenes like this camel:



Mehwish’s second passion is interior design. Blessed with good spatial order skills, Mehwish is the perfect person for ARTE customers to go to when they need advice on where to hang art in their homes and offices.



Mehwish can be found at ARTE, and you can contact her through Instagram : mehwish_art,  Facebook: Mehwish Riaz, E-mail:

Stop by ARTE and say hello to Mehwish.

#ARTE the makers market



ART at ARTE in April – meet Carl March

Carl March, born 1959, studied at Solihull College. Followed by two intensive years study and work with artist and master printmaker Oliviero Masi in Milan, Italy. His work is characterized by strong drawing and design elements. He likes to experiment with soft pencils, bamboo pens, and brushes. These mediums along with traditional painting and engraving techniques, help to create a distinctive subtlety to his images. Elected a fellow of the RSA, and a regular exhibiter at the RA Summer Show in London. His work is widely exhibited and collected. ‪#‎artemarket‬‪#‎wemakewhatwesell‬

ART at ARTE in April – Usama

Usama is a founding member of ARTE. Originally from Sudan, Usama has been living in Abu Dhabi for 15 years. With a B.A. in Fine Arts, Usama is greatly inspired by Monet and other impressionist styled artworks. His particular characteristic technique is applying oil paint in impasto style with a palette knife. The vibrancy and movement achieved in his works can be contributed to the fact that Usama loves to paint outdoors as it makes him “feel free’ and he enjoys painting “difficult, different scenes”. Up close, his works can be experienced as colourful abstracts, but its with stepping back a few steps when one can appreciate the scenes unfolding in front of you.‪#‎artemarket‬ ‪#‎wemakewhatwesell‬



The Rise of the Arte-san Man

When ARTE came into existence just over nine years ago, we only had a couple of male artisans as members, Colin Roberts (who was known for his Dirham coin bottle stoppers) and Paul Beaujangles (the silversmith and ARTE’s co-founder) to name two of them.  In recent years, we have seen the number of male artisans join our ever expanding family. Sadly, May 2014 saw the departure of the Roberts family (a blog story that traces their journey with ARTE is published here).

Do you remember Colin Roberts, our regular vendor since the beginning of ARTE.

Do you remember Colin Roberts, our regular vendor since the beginning of ARTE.

The Roberts' son Nicky of Pink Poodle used to design these bowties.

The Roberts’ son Nicky of Pink Poodle was known for his love for old Hollowood movies and musicals.


Paul Beaujangles is known for silver smithing themed cufflinks

Paul Beaujangles is known for silver smithing themed cufflinks

Here is a lowdown of some of the male artisans who make us proud.

Fluke photography


Of his photos, Fluke photography says, “One of the stand-out things about Dubai is the extreme contrast between tradition and the modern, such as the minarets and the fancy resorts.” In the photos below, he sought to capture this contrast by braving the 42 degree heat and high humidity. We think it’s a job well done!


fluke 2


fluke photography

Follow Fluke photography on facebook.


The Howlin’ Rooster

Basil, the cigar box guitar lover brings his unique handmade guitars to ARTE. Read more about his work in a separate blog post here.

howlin rooster


arte market

Follow The Howlin’ Rooster on facebook.


Photo GT – Motorsport Photography


If you are a motorsport afficianado, and you love photography, then Photo GT is your man. This photographer has an ‘obsession’ as he calls it, with capturing razor sharp images of fast cars, “while the rest of the world screams by in a blur of confusion.” Check the photos and see if you don’t agree with what we say.



Follow Photo GT on facebook.


IntentionS by Paul Mercer

We have already blogged about IntentionS collection of essential oils and creams by Paul Mercer, here. Some of his latest inventions include the divine blend of essential oils with seaweed and Vitamin E. Hmmm, that already feels so wicked and good on the skin! Try some at the next ARTE market.




Follow IntentionS on facebook.


Stefano’s Jewels

Jewels by Stefano range from rings to earrings are hammered to perfection. We covered his handcraft in a separate blog post here.



Follow Stefano’s Jewels on facebook.


All photos used as owned by the artisans unless otherwise indicated.

If you are an artisan, making your own crafts right here in the UAE, and you would like to sell your work at ARTE, all the application details are on our website.



We know what they did last summer

ARTE may have taken a short break during the month of August, but our artisans have been as busy as ever. We take a look at what some of the artisans did over the summer to refuel that flickering oil lamp of creativity.

Bright and Beautiful – Creative Fabric Ideas

Carla Bygrave, Founder and Designer of Bright and Beautiful did not have much time to create many of her popular bag creations, but her tote bag travelled all over the world with her. From Vegas to LA, from Cebu to Malibu beach, from Dubai international to London Heathrow, her large tote bag has bagged quite a bit of air mileage.  She also captures colourful ‘craft wonderlands’ (as she calls it) where ever she travels, most of them heaped with fabric and wool that make us at ARTE-sans hunger for more of such craft shops in the UAE to whet our arty appetite.

carlas tote

Packed to the brim, the tote bag comes to Carla’s rescue at the airport while travelling.

carlas tote1

The Bright & Beautiful tote bag is spotted yet again at Houston’s George Bush airport.

carlas tote2

One of the many photos Carla takes of craft shops and shares with her fans. This one is at Michael’s craft wonderland in Pasadena CA.

carla commission - 2 days

Customized buntings and bags by Bright & Beautiful. Carla whipped these up in a matter of two days, before she got onto that jet and winged away to Scotland.


T’Danes also travelled during the summer. Her favourite destination happens to Istanbul.  “This city made me realise that that one time beauty stays a life-time beauty,” she says.  This philosophy is incorporated into T’Danes beautiful pieces of work. No wonder they sell like hot cakes – after all, who wouldn’t want a piece of Istanbul beauty around her neck?
bijou tdane

Photo by T’Danes encapulates Istanbul’s handcrafted inspiration through the power of recycling.


Turquoise-ptember collection by T’Danes.


Each pendant is a memento marking a special past event in someone’s life.

Doesn't this 'Marina' necklace by T'Danes look awesome?

Doesn’t this ‘Marina’ necklace by T’Danes look awesome?

Like T’Danes on facebook.

Janys De

Spending time between India and Dubai this summer, Jan D’Sa, Owner and artist-designer at Janys De, started working on pocket squares to compliment her handcrafted cufflinks collection.  Leaving the pocket squares and her cufflinks behind in Dubai, she went off to India and had a great time having the space to work on her fiction stories, doodle spontaneously and take insect and floral photographs to capture her love for nature. She says, “I did not travel as much as I would like to, but time spent on my parents’ garden-farm, dabbling in hobby photography, doodling and writing served to be a great introspection time where I travelled deep into my creative being.”  We can be certain to witness her cufflinks collection steeped in this newfound creativity  at ARTE.

Jan loves the time after the monsoon rains, where the raindrops sit immaculately on the flowers and leaves. Captures on her parents’ garden-farm.


Balancing the arthropod and the tear drop. Captured by Jan on her parents’ garden-farm.


Spontaneous doodling with her non dominant hand has become one of Jan’s favourite past times.


Handcrafted cufflinks by Jan in polymer clay and resin. The designs are made, following the intricate patterns in doodles created by Jan.

Like Janys De on facebook.

Dollie Day Dreams

Another artisan who has seen the world and has lived in different countries spanning South America to South East Asia, had a pleasant surprise waiting for her in the English Countryside. Maggie, Owner and Designer of Dollie Day Dreams, says, “I was re-introduced to the pleasure of picnics in the English countrysides, long walks and endless rows of gorgeous flowers. The weather was great to just wander off the beaten path and lose myself in memories of things that I miss when I am in Dubai.”
Her Dollies are well known collectibles that are quite the rage among ARTE’s visitors.
Flowers in Maggie's mother's English garden.

Flowers in Maggie’s mother’s English garden.


Maggie Tuite, seen with her Dollie creations on new ARTE posters.

Maggie Tuite, seen with her Dollie creations on new ARTE posters.


Maggie’s Mr.Bunny keeps her company when she makes her dollies. She says, “She likes my button box, thankfully, I caught him in time having a sniff and not a snack.”

diva dolls

The Diva Dolls sell like hot cakes at ARTE.


Don’t you love this doll Trapeze Artist – each Dollie by Maggie exudes her own character and personality.

Like Dollie Day Dreams on facebook.

Eva’s  Cats

Bright and spunky Eva Yumshanova, designer at Eva’s Cats,  spent time in the west of France camping with the family during the summer. Amongst all the expected camping gear you may find in camper’s backpack was (no surprise) threads and needles. Eva says, “I could not take my sewing machine, but I could sneak in some fabric, needle and thread. I zipped myself in the tent which made me feel I was inside a sleeping capsule of a star ship. I loved it.”  It was in the midst of viewing the night sky, the milky way, breathing fresh air and pine trees, visiting Brittany and Le Croisic (known for its snail farms, salt plantations and more ) that her cat keychains were born.


Eva in France, enjoying her ‘starship’ abode while piecing the cat keychains together.

eva keychains

Buy these cute cat key chains by Eva at ARTE markets.

Evas cats

A preview of some of Eva’s cats and dogs, foxes and camels.

Who can resist these animals made by Eva?

Who can resist these animals made by Eva?

Like Eva’s Cats on Facebook.
All Photos used in this blog posts are used with the permission of the artisans.


Celebrate Spring with Sayofles Sandals

It’s time to say Ola Kala Tha Pane (in Greek) to mean All is Well.  What with the UAE winter softly sliding away into the past, pave your way into Spring (literally) with handmade sandals by Sayofles Sandals. Alexia, the lady behind this brand, uses real leather from Greece and actually stitches the sandals herself (ask her to show you her hands that have seen leather, needle and thread and you will know).

After stitching the sandals, Alexia uses various embellishments to adorn them. Swarovski crystals to delightful Walt Disney characters. Flowers to colourful beads.

Sayofles Sandals are available in different colours, sizes and for men, women and children.

Sayofles Sandals are available in different colours, sizes and for men, women and children.

If you don’t like colours and prefer neutral shades of beige and browns, Sayofles Sandals can customise for you.

What's amazing about Sayofles Sandals is that they come in various designs of the actual sandals skeletons (even before the adornment is added)

What’s amazing about Sayofles Sandals is that they come in various designs of the actual sandals skeletons (even before the adornment is added)

Mickey and Minni Sandals.

Mickey and Minni Sandals.

She also makes sandals for men. You can be sure that if there is a particular size that you want to order, then she has them all.  Once a (male) passerby asked her (pointing out to her hello kitty sandals for kids), “Can you make the same for men in my shoe size.” She replied, “Yes,”
in all seriousness.

The point we are driving at is that , there is no size too small, too big; no colour to glitzy or staid; no order too ostentatious or boring for this young Greek lady to work your sandals appetite.

Tutti Frutti sandals for Spring.

Tutti Frutti sandals for Spring.

Join Sayofles Sandals on facebook.

Soap-erman Abraham

“Normal is boring,” was the first statement Abraham Shibu made when asked why soap-making instead of other forms of art. This is, of course, one of the fido-sophies that he has borrowed from 7UP’s mascot, Fido Dido (the others being: It’s cool to be you; Your best friend is your head; Dare to be different; and Life is short, live it up).

What he meant to say, of course, that soap-making, blended in with music, soothes his soul. As a printing technologist by profession, he loved colours. Moving quickly into advertising, his love for colours intensified and a general awakening to handcraft his own works of art began. For Christmas, he is working on the ‘cinnamon’ series of soaps! He is probably the first male artisan at ARTE to make soaps. Talk about MAN-made soaps.

Research into making soap took around three years. Abe (as his friends call him) was not impressed to find that soaps, in general, contain a lot of chemicals. His brand of soap called Aura soaps, is passionately handmade for the skin.

“The next time you walk down the soap aisle at your favorite store enjoying the fresh, clean scents and the bright colorful packaging, pay attention. Look at the labels. The vast majority of the products on the shelf don’t say ‘soap’ on their labels. They might be called beauty bars, cleansing bars, moisturizing bars, or body bars, but not soap. That’s because these bars aren’t actually soap and can’t legally claim to be; they’re detergents. The manufacturers have removed most of the ‘good’ stuff that occurs in the soap making process, and replaced it with synthetic lathering agents and harsh chemicals. These cheap, plentiful detergent bars are not only bad for your skin, but they’re also bad for the planet, too.”

Find Aura Soaps and like them on facebook.