Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 11, 1445 H
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The Art of Loving Oman!


FOR Fairus Husain, quilling or paper filigree comes at ease. A self-taught artist, she uses paper as a medium comprising of colours, texture to come out with decorative designs.

Passionate about art of typography, she aims to take it to the next level. At present, her main focus is on techniques like paper quilling and paper cutting as well.

For the 48th National Day of Oman, this Malaysian expatriate’s artwork showcases her expression of Oman as a peaceful country. The colours represent the flag, enveloping the map of the Sultanate and the fireworks as a form of expression for the special day.

Fairus who recently hogged limelight when she created letter ‘G,’ (Google’s logo), joined the #MySuperG challenge through its Instagram handle. The ‘Super G’ was displayed on their profile picture and promoted the artist immensely through the social networking community. She received global attention and had a large following with messages praising her work.

When Fairus first began quilling, she learnt the art is done mainly as craftwork or hobby by people around the world. The ancient art also known as filigree, began centuries ago using silver or copper wires. When these metals became scarce, they used paper cut into strips as an alternative.

Traditionally, the strips used were only 3 mm wide and the shapes involved were mainly tight rolls and loose scrolls which then pressed and bent to imitate shapes of flower petals or leaves.

About how contemporary quilling differs from paper quilling, Fairus says contemporary quilling is similar to drawing the intricate details with lines and geometrical shapes rather than circles. This technique, she believes, started recently when the art was picked up by creative minds and given a new approach. The size of the strips used now varies from 3 mm to 10 mm wide.

Her style of quilling leans more towards the contemporary and uses mostly 10 mm paper strips. She uses acid-free papers and hand cuts each strip manually. Acid-free papers help to preserve the artwork for longer period as the colours do not fade over time. “I believe the aesthetic values of quilling lies in the intricate manipulation of the paper strips, neat and tidy finishing with vibrant colours.”

The ‘World Map’ series, through which she aims to go global, will be her first-ever attempt at making large piece quilling. She is used to making small pieces between 15 cm x15 cm up to A4 sizes. It will be her impression of the world map rather than an accurate map showing each country.

Anyone can learn quilling for fun, she says, but however, in order to create excellent quality artwork, it requires patience, precision and persistence.

Quilling as a hobby overcomes depression and makes one focus while playing with colourful paper strips, she mentions. Papers used are easily accessible materials and are affordable but not intimidating.

She is busy trying to re-create World Map using quilling techniques but using different shapes, lines and series. Calling it a ‘dream project,’ and the largest in terms of size (about 45 cm x 60 cm). The World Map uses will involve different perspectives on the world map.

“It is my hope that in future, this will be featured in major galleries in the Sultanate,” she gleefully wishes.

Fairus is also enthusiastic about the 36-days of type challenge run by a group of graphic artists based in Barcelona, Spain. It is an open call inviting designers, illustrators and visual artists to share their views on letters and numbers. Run once a year, for 36 days (one letter per number each day), it is now in its fifth year running.

The participants have increased over the years and have helped upcoming and inspiring artists of all medium to build their reputation online.

The most creative works will be re-posted on their Instagram handle (36 Days of Type) which becomes source of ‘reference’ for other designers. Her work on letter ‘R’ was selected during this year’s challenge.

Her next big step is to commercialise her artwork and actively seeks an agency which understands this niche looking out for opportunities and collaboration. She aims to gain recognition as a handmade illustration artist for commercial purposes.

‘An amazing piece of art will never fail to imprint a lasting memory,’ she adds as now all images or illustrations are done digitally. ‘While digital illustration is all about limitless imagination, tactile illustration is gaining interests as it can evoke our senses,’ which is a powerful tool in delivering messages.

Presently, Fairus is busy working on corporate projects on a series of botanical plants and installation arts involving jumbo size paper flowers. A reinsurance professional turned entrepreneur, she moved to the Sultanate from Bahrain two years back.

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