Exhibitions. Have you ever been to one?
It’s embarrassing to say that that was my first one, or to be more accurate, the first one where I went in and actually started looking around at everything with a critical eye. I used to walk in and look at everything that’s pretty, talk to the people with the pretty things, and then leave without any gain; it was just a time pass, I didn’t go there to feed my inner designer.
This time I attended as a designer on a mission *cue the music*, I wanted to see how many of those pretty things actually fall within a certain criteria that I’d be actually interested in; natural, artistic, and handmade. I wanted to see those exhibitors that catered to unique tastes; those who create for the sake of making something beautiful and not necessarily appealing to the general masses, but to those unique individuals who will see the beauty and value that they represent.
As soon as I entered the exhibition, I ran into a gorgeous wooden mermaid flanked by a wooden rearing horse and a wooden Timor god; the detail on those three pieces drew me to the rest of the items in that stall where I found a collection of whimsical, tribal, and classic wood carvings scattered around. The attendee at the stall grabbed my attention from the pieces long enough to tell me that those pieces were hand carved and unique; each piece is one of its kind. I did a little happy dance in my head and started exploring every piece in that stall and asking a ton of questions to the owner of that gorgeous collection, Khalid Al Tahmazi.
While talking with the owner I noticed a sense of pride for his collection; they are all made out of 100% natural materials and all of the pieces are handmade by various artists from around the globe, the collection was very diverse but equally captivating. When I asked Mr. Khalid how did this all start, he told me he was businessman who traveled a lot due to work and painted in his free time. He always had a soft spot for art and artistic creations that are unique with culture and history; he attended and participated in a lot of exhibitions and symposiums related to his passion:
“I love nature and I love art, so whenever I travel I love to explore the very native things, the very hidden parts of every culture; even the food. At some point, I started to collect pieces from every country I went to, while maintaining some basic principles like quality and high standards and that’s when I started Spirit. Why I chose the name Spirit is because these pieces give a space spirit; an interior is walls and furniture and without art it is soulless. Adding art to that interior gives it a soul, a Spirit. We need actual authentic artistic elements in our lives without having to go to galleries, so when we provide a collection like this within reach, people will automatically be drawn to it. Also, a lot of people think that adding art is just hanging a few prints, people who KNOW what art is are limited, so Spirit is here to provide a broader view on things by appealing to a human’s curious nature; every person, no matter what they’re like, will have a piece calling out to them.”
It wasn’t until early 2016 that he opened the doors of ‘Spirit’, his antiques shop in Bahrain. I love the message behind Spirit. They have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a website where you can check out their collection (their website is still under development, though), and they’re located in Enma Mall, Riffa.
After I left Spirit’s booth, I kept taking rounds and seeing what else was on display, until I ran into this little cute corner filled with Terrariums!
For as long as I’ve been in Bahrain, I’ve never seen someone sell terrariums at all! So it was a bit of a nice surprise. I zoomed in and started touching and poking to see how they were arranged and what kind of creative elements were put there; they were mostly succulents, and the little adorable figurines were just so.. adorable!!
I asked the owner of this beautiful project, Mona Haji, about her business and she said she operates online; she showcases her creations on Instagram and even does custom ones on demand.
Mona was a housewife who wanted to do something for herself, she went through some tough times and found her solace in gardening. At first she started creating terrariums as a hobby, but then friends and family started to ask her for some of their own. When she realized that she can make a business out of this, she created an Instagram and spread the word:
“I was so happy that people started coming to me asking for these little gardens to give as gifts and to decorate their homes. I even get orders for New Baby gifts and birthdays! I went through a tough time and these little creatures gave me the energy I needed to heal and start over. I’d get new ideas at 2 in the morning, get up and start working on them; it has become a passion. Just touch those tiny little leaves and tell me that doesn’t warm your heart.”
Mona’s work and drive is something to be inspired by, and being all about Girl Power myself, I have a lot of respect for her strength to start over and build something to call her own.
The few hours I was there at the Gulf Interior Exhibition were well spent. Those two booths I visited were the only ones I fell in love with, but that doesn’t mean that the rest were bad; there was an exhibit of wooden Sheds, Cabins, and Mobile Houses by Log Home that caught my eye. They assembled a small cabin with soft lights and cozy furniture that was inviting, we couldn’t resist going in and exploring what they had to offer.
I just felt a connection there; their exhibits spoke to my inner designer and that’s the main goal anyone should have when visiting a place like that. Feed your creativity with what matches you and what you believe in, otherwise you’ll be just passing time and it’ll be as if you were never there.
I tend to write about things that could help inspire the inner designer in all of us every now and then, so don’t forget to Subscribe for more of those 🙂