Featured Artist: Artzest

One of the best parts about blogging and selling on Etsy is all of the incredible artists that I have met (at least virtually). Interacting with other artists and crafters from around the world always inspires me, not only in my own crafts, but in life.

I don't know why, but it still surprises me how similar all of our artistic stories are. No matter where we are from, artists all have an inner passion that drives them to create and share beauty in different ways.

Today I am excited to introduce you to one of my Etsy friends, Roohi. You can find her elegant jewelry designs and more in her Etsy shop, Artzest.

Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Roohi and I live in Karachi, a beautiful city with a hub of activity. I have two wonderful daughters that are also potential artisans, an adorable son and a supportive husband.




What do you create?
I make jewelry and decorative items. In fact, I make almost everything that is creatable - anything that I get the raw materials for. Crafting is a hobby and I enjoy putting things together. I am always interested in things that I can use in crafting, and I have a collection of many odd things in my home. I recently discovered polymer clay and that opens up a versatile array of things that can be crafted, but I might limit it to flowers and jewelry.

What is your favorite craft or hobby and how did you learn it? 
I don’t have any particular favorite. I make anything that is beautiful, be it a decoration piece, a jewelry item or a dress. I learnt most things by trial and error. When I was a kid, we lived in a remote area in Africa where I had very limited access to proper crafting materials. I used to learn by just experimenting, and from any magazine that I could get.

When did you realize your creative passion?
I have always had this passion, I can say, for as long as I can remember. I always used to observe things closely and if I found out that I could make something, I would try to find the materials and make it. Making crepe paper flowers was one of my earliest crafting successes, when I made it into a nice decoration piece in my home.

What or who inspires you in your crafting and/or your life?
All beautiful things, any material from which I feel something can be crafted becomes an inspiration for me. Sometimes a need becomes a reason to create. I needed storage space for my crafting materials and I designed a small shelf with wheels so that I can take my crafting materials in any room, especially when I wanted to work in front of the TV.

What’s your philosophy about crafting and/or life?
Crafting is an expression of one’s ingenuity. It combines the flair of creativity with the strength of passion and one gets a sense of satisfaction when one creates something beautiful. It gives us an opportunity to escape from the stresses of this life, into a world ruled by our own creativity.

Why do you create?
I enjoy creating; I like the beautiful things that I end up making, I like the appreciation from people when they see my creativity. Crafting keeps my creativity alive.

What other interests do you have?
I enjoy reading and sewing. I sew almost all of my daughters’ clothes. Apart from this, I am interested in social service. I had the opportunity of running a school for underprivileged children and I enjoyed doing it.

How does culture influence your work?
I belong to an area that has a very rich culture. Culture shows the originality of the ideas that evolve in one particular place and these, I believe, should be reflected in the work of artisans. I love using the things that are typical to my culture in my creations. I would love to spread them in the world, and I also love to see the typical artwork of different cultures in the world.

Is crafting a hobby, business, or something in between?
As yet, it is a hobby. I am giving more time to it now and it might go some way beyond that.

How did you choose your brand or shop name?
I wanted a name that combined ‘art and craft’ with passion. I tried many names and finally settled on Arzest. RMS are the initials of my two daughters and me, and Flair might evolve into the brand name.

What is a typical day for you?
These days I have taken a break from my job, so I am at home. After sending the children to school, I spend some time on the computer and then I prepare lunch and do some house chores. In the afternoon I tutor students, and I also do my crafting or sewing on my free days. I have some free time again after dinner, which I spend helping my children with their studies.

What is an ideal day for you?
When I have all my chores done, and some time to spare- for reading a book or an outing with the family.

What projects are you the most proud of?
I recently made a pendant in which I used a purple polymer clay rose that I made myself, some beads and amethyst gemstones. It is a unique item as it is a combination of three items- clay, beads and gemstones. It looked quite pretty as well. I liked it when I made it, and I think it was nice as it is the second item that I sold- it has now gone to America, and I hope the owner likes it too.
I do some sewing as well. I made a gown as a prom dress for my elder daughter. It looked really nice, and people appreciated it.

How do you deal with crafting failures?
I learnt most of my crafting by trial and error. With every failure, one learns something new, discovers a new material, or finds a new way of doing something. I try to figure out new ways of doing a particular technique or I keep on trying new materials till I get the required result.

I was making some glass slides recently and was figuring out a way to make it stand. I tried sticking a small rectangular piece of glass at the back to make a stand. I used glue that is normally used for glass. It seemed to work at first but it wasn’t strong enough, and the piece came off after sometime. I tried another type of glue, but the same thing happened. I have now discovered a new type of glue, which I had seen in woodwork shops - it is made by mixing two materials - and that I believe will work as it dries really hard.
As yet, I have found another use of it. I have used it to fix beads, shells and clay flowers on the slides. They are fixed quite strongly and the glue dries to a transparent finish. I made beautiful decorative slides using this glue. I have yet to fix the glass at the back, but I believe this glue will work.

Where do you do most of your crafting?
I have a corner in my room where I have some of my crafting materials, I do my crafting there, or sometimes I bring the materials in the TV room and do it there. I have a spare room which I have to set up yet, as a proper crafting place.

What keeps you busy when you are not creating?
The house chores keep me busy. I spend quite some time on the computer also these days. I also spend time with the family, helping my children with their studies and other activities.



Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your craft, or business tips to help others with small crafting businesses?
Till now I have been crafting just for fun, making small pieces that could be used at home. I discovered these online shops only recently when my daughters started crafting and used the internet to get ideas. They discovered Etsy and wanted for us to have a shop as we could make so many things. So we started giving more time to crafting and have set up this shop. However, being in a completely different culture, it will take time for us to understand things in the other part of the world- the holidays, the seasons and the demand of different items along the year. We learnt many things this year, and with this experience, and the cooperation of the Etsy community, I hope I am successful in running this shop.

I think setting up a small business as an independent crafter needs a lot of patience and hard work, but, as it is driven by one’s passion, I believe it is bound to succeed one day.

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