During the “Lift as you climb in Arts & Crafts” session; Dalia Shurrab – a social entrepreneur discussed with our uprising guest artists, Noor Totah, a 21-year-old ambitious artist who had stated her online crafts shop 3altakeh, and Cedar Hussein, a 27-year-old who discovered her talent later in life and opened the Cedar Macrame online shop.
Noor Totah has been into arts since a young age. She would participate in exhibitions all around Jerusalem. Yet, after going to university, she drifted away from the world of arts as she was studying Business Administration. One semester the artist has found some time on her hand and decided to buy a small wooden box to draw on and fill her free time up. That’s how it all started for 3altakeh. Her friends’ and family’s reactions has motivated her to make more pieces and share them online, and one day she made her first sale! Noor combines the art of mandala and Islamic calligraphy with wooden kitchen gadgets, and her unique style and creativity caught the eyes of people. And she started joining street markets and sharing her art more and more. Being a business Administration student, Noor has found her knowledge in business to benefit her a lot, making that transition from a hobby to a business wasn’t that hard for her as she has already had the knowledge of managing a business.
Cedar Hussien comes from a family full of artists, but she has always thought she was the black sheep of the group as she couldn’t find her talent. Yet, it was never too late for her to discover her artistic side. After graduating from university with a degree in accounting, Cedar has found herself stuck at a dead end with a degree in something she didn’t enjoy. Being an honor student, her plan has always been to get her masters degree, but after thinking about it, she didn’t want to waste more of her time doing something she didn’t find herself in. to get her mind off of it she spent a lot of time on Pinterest and on the platform, she got inspired to poll a modern touch on Macrame, which is a traditional Arabian form of art, of making decorative pieces off of cotton threads. Cedar found herself really good at this type of art and with a modern boho twist, she was able to generate a good number of customers that admire her arts.
Both artists have explained how they found crafting as a form of therapy for them, to deal with whatever inner complications they’re going through. As Cedar explained, “When I get upset, I put that energy in a piece, when I’m over thinking, I get my head off of those thoughts with the macrame”. Noor described how she finds this super detailed calligraphy styles she specializes in that requires a lot of focus, to give her own time. When she’s working on a piece helps her fast-paced personality to slow down and take her time with every detailed to perfect her lines.
Having shared good experiences, Noor and Cedar had shared similar struggles as well. Living in country where the handmade culture isn’t that appreciated, as always found customers trying to bargaining with their prices and make comments how they find it overpriced. “This made me feel discouraged at some point, it makes you feel like since your piece is handmade, it definitely lower in quality, which is not true. I make sure the materials I use is the best quality because I want my pieces to last, and my customers to be satisfied” This makes the artist feel that their time and talent isn’t appreciated, which drove Cedar to seek international markets through online platforms and communities, such as Holly Land, a website the ships local handmade Palestinian artists crafts to worldwide customers. Which she found amazing and never had a bad experience with one customer so far.
“Despite what anyone tells you. You’re born with a talent! You just have to look for it, and try different things! You can do it for fun as a hoppy or sell it if you want to!” Cedar explained. And Noor said you just have to get started! if you’re good at something share it! get it out there! you will definitely find someone that appreciates your art, and it will make their day”