Magical blue coasters set from Galerie Kariman.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
An online homeware gallery specialising in fine handmade resin homeware pieces, including coasters, trays, serving boards, with more inspirations to be added in near future — all made or to be made in the UAE — was launched last year by Kariman Ahmed at her eponymous gallery, Galerie Kariman.
Ahmed graduated from Alexandria Fine Arts University, Egypt. She then worked as a teacher for 10 years; however, the world of art and painting have always been her passion.
During the pandemic, she had her second baby and decided it was the right time for her to quit her job and take a break from teaching to follow her passion for art.
Launching her business during the pandemic was not planned; but, she says, it felt like puzzle pieces magically falling into the right place.
She found herself going back to art, which she says is a place of limitless boundaries to unleash creativity. Ahmed was inspired while watching a resin art video, and without prior planning, she found herself buying all the necessary materials she needed to start and launch her small business.
She decided to dedicate the little spare time she got at home, to start building her gallery. She recently also launched her workshops, so she can spread her love for resin and share her experience with those who are interested in the art.
Kariman Ahmed talks about the aesthetic and business aspects of her venture.
What attracts you to resin?
I got attracted to resin art and I wanted to get creative with this mesmerising medium, which encompasses different artistic techniques like pouring, mixing, casting and more.
The beauty of resin art is that it keeps artists eager to learn and experiment. Every single detail about resin is interesting for me, starting from the chemical reaction when you mix the resin itself with the hardener, moving to the beauty of pouring and how it is soul soothing.
Why do you focus on homeware?
Personalised homeware transform ordinary living spaces to extraordinary ones — it also adds a personal touch and a unique look to any living space.
I also love the fact that you can preserve anything dry in resin. For example, you can preserve your flowers in decorative shapes and they will last for years for you to recall all your special memories when you look at them.
Without formal training as a home products maker, how do you get the shapes and lines of your brand right?
As a self-taught resin artist, I learnt from my mistakes; every failure added a new milestone to my journey. I really believe in the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ and I work hard and practice a lot to reach a satisfying end result, when working on each of my art pieces.
I also recently launched my series or workshops where I teach eager beginners and help them navigate through the obstacles I faced when I first started, as I truly believe in spreading knowledge.
How will you compete with homeware majors, who have vast inventories and marketing departments?
To be honest, I don’t compete with homeware majors: my pieces are very personalised, handmade with love and designed according to client requests. Every piece is unique and has its own spirit and soul.
What is unique about your products?
Each piece in my collection has its own story and carries all the emotions and love it was handcrafted with, to its forever home. I put a huge amount of effort on each piece’s details and focus on quality and finishing, which translate to eye-catching and unique pieces in the end.
Mother, teacher and artist — how have these roles shaped your life?
Each role touched my life in a different yet connected way, shaped it and helped me be the person I am today.
All three roles are intertwined, starting from the day I chose Fine Arts, Alexandria University, Egypt, as my major study, which helped me improve my emotional expression and be open to new ideas and experiences.
Moving to teaching, because I have been a teacher before being a mother, teaching helped me develop my personality, it gave me confidence and made me more patient and happy.
Teaching and engaging with students throughout the years helped me with my children in so many ways; it also made me understand my children’s different areas of development and how I can work on nurturing them.
Do you incorporate Emirati inspirations into homeware? If so, what are they?
Yes, I do — I have launched a new line of coasters and trays in the form of continents and maps. One collection in this line is dedicated to the UAE, which I will launch soon to celebrate the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.
What are the compliments you have received as an arts person/craftsperson?
Thankfully, I have received many compliments from artists and clients, during exhibitions about how my art pieces, whether wall art or homeware, are very unique and how they are so happy with the finishing quality. I am very keen to receive feedback from my clients.
How did you discover you had an eye for art?
My family discovered that I’m into art since my early childhood. They were very supportive and helped nurture my talent by taking me to art classes. I used to spend hours painting and drawing till I was at the university age, and I felt that art was my true calling and it is what I was meant to be doing.
Do you intend to work at a future date as a designer for a home products company?
I would love to collaborate with home product companies and have my signature customisable designs as part of their special lines on offer one day!
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