FATEMA, the paper artist who’s got a gift for Paper Quilling

http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Woman-turns-paper-into-creative-and-beautiful-designs/-/1248928/1881914/-/na374/-/index.html.//// Woman turns paper into creative, beautiful designs/// By MARGARETTA wa GACHERU Posted Thursday, June 13 2013 at business daily, nairobi Like many Kenyan women brought up in homes valuing traditions of family and femle domesticity, when Fatema Qureish chose a career along this lines. When she got the chance to go to college, she chose to study domestic science. It seemed like the right thing to do, especially as most women in her Dawoodi Bohra community were homemakers and she was also expected to follow suit. But it was at Bohrani Women’s Finishing College that Fatema discovered that though she enjoyed learning about ‘home management’ and ‘child development,’ it was ‘arts and crafts’ that captured her imagination. Training: “College is where my love for the arts began,” said Fatema who met and married Qureshi shortly after her graduation. She didn’t forget her desire to develop her skills as an artist. The opportunity came when she was accepted at a craft training institute in India. Located in Mumbai near where the community spiritual leader is based, “So Quriesh was able to come see me often during my course,” Fatema says. Techniques; The course was relatively short—one year—but intense and ‘hands on’. “I learnt many techniques, handled a variety of tools, and worked with multi-media—everything from papers and paints to wood, clay, glass and glue.” Today, Fatema describes herself as a Paper Artist. Paper quilling is the technique she uses, which requires patience, precision and focused energy. Workshop; Working with thin strips of paper, a quilling needle and deliberate dabs of white glue, she works wonders creating two and three dimensional paintings and sculptures purely made with paper. She also has a flare for painting on everything from clay pots to kitchen windows. But it’s her paper quilling that Fatema promotes, offering workshops in both basic and advancing quilling, most of which are held in her Karen, Saifee Park Estate, home. What’s remarkable about Fatema is that while her workshops are mainly based in her home, allowing her to retain the traditional image of a good Muslim woman. She has built a reputation and increasingly attracting women, mainly, from around East Africa who are looking to attend her ten-day ‘basic’ workshop. It costs Sh5500, including art materials, while her two week advanced workshop is Sh8000. “I also have a lot of teachers who can only come on weekends, so I run Saturday workshops for them.” But to my mind, her children’s holiday workshops sound like the most fun: “I’ve found you have to give them a different challenge every day,” said Fatema who teaches kids from five to ten years for almost two weeks for Sh4,000 (art materials again included). Skills: From painting on pots, mugs and glass to paper quilling, candle and card making, Fatema’s two children are also beneficiaries of her work, learning all their mother’s skills. Fatema has even named her small business Amathus Arts by combining her children’s names—Amatullah, 10 and Husain, 3.


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