RIYADH: Saudi heritage and tradition are the inspirations behind artist Walaa Hosawi’s handcrafted decoupage art.
Hosawi will be selling planters, hand-poured candles and more at her booth at the Saudi Feast Food Festival, which runs until Dec. 9.
“I incorporate Najdi designs and textiles into my work,” Hosawi told Arab News. “The culture of our country has greatly influenced my work. It made me delve deeper into the cultures of the region and try to convey them in the form of a masterpiece. (My work) combines the authenticity of our culture, the beauty of its colors and geometric shapes, and the art of decoupage.”
After using the technique — which embellishes materials such as wood, glass and metal — to design planters, Hosawi pairs them with eco-friendly farmable pencils.
“I thought of this product for recycling, agriculture and to be environmentally friendly. After you finish using the pencil, take the upper part and plant it in the soil.” The pencils come in several varieties including parsley, basil and chili pepper.
Hosawi hand-pours her boat candles with a special personalized mixture of wax and scents, and then decorates them.
Speaking about the inspiration she finds in the Saudi landscape, she added: “I find myself greatly stimulated by nature and contemplating the landscapes of our country. This inspired me a lot and helped me produce artistic pieces.”
Hosawi also creates colorful multi-functional stands that can be used in different ways, such as a room centerpiece or perfume stand. She said: “The idea is whenever you purchase anything from my work, you could use it for more than one purpose.”
Hosawi said creating art gave her a sense of escape and tranquility: “I consider art a means that helps with health and psychological stability. Art is an outlet; it helps one find peace, calm and a sense of comfort, and that is why it is important for art to have a place in our society.”
A university course sparked Hosawi’s imagination, though she had been interested in art for some time. This also led her to explore various different media.
“I started designing fashion due to my studies in the college of textiles and sewing,” she said. “Then I delved deeper into the world of arts until I met decoupage. Here I felt I found myself and my passion began.”
Since designing her first decoupage piece — a wooden jewelry box that “still holds dear value” — Hosawi has seen her work change and develop.
She said: “All of this is thanks to God and the support I received from my country and my family to reach a better level.”
Through support from friends, family and other initiatives, Hosawi has prospered. She says such encouragement has been “the fuel that pushed me to continue producing unique artistic pieces through which I showcase the beautiful culture of my country.”
The Saudi Feast Food Festival features 13 zones that include culinary art heritage, theater, the Gourmand Awards, a children’s interactive farm and more.