Perfect for some craft storage

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Perfect for some craft storage

I bought this a few years ago in Ikea in Edinburgh. Having left all my handy storage boxes in Saudi- for which some other crafters were more than grateful- I now have to start again. Luckily, this was stashed away in a cupboard. But it looks a bit ordinary. A paint job required I think!

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An inspirational artist.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be staying at the Shangrli La Resort in Oman and chanced upon an exhibition by the Omani artist Safiya Al Bahlani. I loved her mixed media approach and admired her even more when I read her biography and the challenges she has faced.

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Her pieces definitely reflect her culture and I was sorely tempted to buy one, but didn’t. Instead I bought some silver Bedouin jewellery as a momento of my visit. I hope I don’t regret my decision.

Biography
My name is Safiya Al Bahlani, I am an Omani artist, graphic designer, and inspirational and motivational speaker.

I was studying animation and graphic design, but was not able to complete my studies, but on a daily basis I try teaching myself through various tutorials and through practise.

I am a physically challenged young woman. I would like to draw the attention of Omani society to recognize that people with special needs, are unique, talented and able to contribute to the society.
I have been drawing and painting ever since I can remember, it has always been my way of expressing my emotions and communicating my thoughts to the world.

I was recognized for my skills when I was fourteen, then I started learning art under various teachers and artists.

At The American International School of Muscat, I took AP Art, which is an advanced program for art in preparation for studying art in college, where I started learning using different medias in art using various mediums and techniques.
During my college years in Jordan I held my first solo exhibition which contained thirty of my paintings. It was a wonderful experience, had many positive feedbacks that encouraged me to think of doing one in my own country.

In March 2011 in collaboration with an Omani fashion designer, we had combined fashion show and art exhibition. The theme was derived from His Majesty annual speeches which inspired to us to incorporate them in a collection of dresses, and paintings.

I have also been drawing on the I Pad, which I participated in Muscat Festival 2012 with ITA to promote technology as in COMEX 2012

I just had my third solo exhibition, with Bait Al Zubair, at the Shangri La, Bar Al Jissah “Beneath The Surface”.

Currently, I am trying to establish my own graphic design company, I am also a freelancer in Inspirational, and Motivational speaker.

Harris Artisans

Many years ago, when I first visited the Outer Hebrides there was very little in the way of art and craft items for sale. Possibly, there just wasn’t the tourist trade and anything made was very much for personal use and most people made their own knitwear and tweed items. Since then there has been a growing community of art and crafts in the islands and especially on Harris. Many of these talented people have settled there from mainland UK and have very much embraced the local way of life. Visiting in the summer when the days are long and the sun is shining it seems a very desirable option, but knowing how long and dark the winter months can be when the Atlantic gales are battering all in its way I’m not so sure I would last very long.
This summer, I visited a few new (to me) artisans and enjoyed some lovely chats about their work and general life in a remote area of UK. A shed definitely seems to be an essential addition and a great asset for a personal place to work. 3 sheds I fell in love with were-
The Scalpay Linen shed which smelt so good with all the wool that was being worked as well as the linen.

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The weaving loom.

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Hand spun art wool.
The food shed at Northton where you can be tempted by home baked bread, scones, cakes as well as fresh caught shellfish.

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All the purchases here are made on trust- loved the box which asks you to roll pound notes up tight to feed into the hole on the top!

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And thirdly this cheekily called ‘Northton Trading Co’ shed with an eclectic mix of items. Again, trust is an essential part of its success as you are asked to ring the bell if you want to buy anything!

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Handbags for sale.

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An inside view.
How heartening it was to think that there are still areas where people can live in harmony without taking advantage of each other so readily and that they extend this trust to us,the visitors, who come from very different backgrounds.
And how do they survive? I’m not too sure. I know that for some the Internet is a vital link for selling their goods, and perhaps for others, who have partners with regular paid jobs, the financial reward isn’t the ultimate goal. Whatever, I know I met some very happy, contented people living on the Island of Harris this summer and hope when I return next time they will still be there …and their sheds of course!