Muneera Hamed Alsharhan, a participant in the Pretty Little Things event in Kuwait that's running till the 1st of May and which we featured here, is an artist who focuses on producing 3D tangible art. She specializes in creating contemporary and art jewelry. A graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, her designs are works of art all made by her own two hands; no jewelsmiths or metalsmiths included.
According to Muneera Alsharhan, "Jewelry has always fascinated me. The powerful connection people can make with them; their capacity to hold and represent our secrets and dreams. I enjoy creating a world, a story or a history through these objects. I hope that people who wear my work will be creating their own stories as well. The things we choose to put on our body say a lot about who we are."
She has debuted a her first for sale special collection for Pretty Little Things, that is exclusive to the event and was made using “lost wax casting” and other hand fabrication methods, that have given birth to one of a kind pieces inspired by Beit Sadu.
We needed to know more, so we chatted up with Muneera Alsharhan at the Pretty Little Things Event.
How has your background and education in jewelry and metalsmithing from Rhote Island School of Design shaped your artistic talent?
I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011. As one of the leading art universities in the US, RISD always focused on encouraging students to create new innovative designs using different materials and techniques. I was trained in traditional jewelry making, rendering and drawing techniques, but RISD drove us to move towards exploring contemporary jewelry. That encouraged us to focus more on the design and concept behind our art pieces rather than just the worth of the material. So we had the chance to use and explore new materials and techniques and use them to our benefit in making our ideas come to life.
I can say I am the first person to be trained in contemporary jewelry in Kuwait. And I also make my own jewelry using metals and silvers through casting and hand fabrication.
What inspires your designs?
My inspiration comes from my surroundings, from different textures, colors, and scents. I try to portray a whole story through a line of jewelry or I create one piece that evokes a specific emotion. Recently I have been very inspired by past Kuwaiti heritage. For some reason, while I was away during my university years I connected to that time period more than present-day Kuwait. So many of my university jewelry projects have focused on designs inspired by old Kuwait.
Whats the strangest/most innovative thing you've designed?
My degree project for my senior year at RISD, focused on my nostalgia to a past I never knew, which is Kuwait’s past. The collection was called Mukani, because I was trying to figure out my place in Kuwait. So I wanted to create pieces that would look like they came from the past but people of that time would see them as something completely foreign. One of the materials I choose to use was camel hair because it was a very significant material at the time. It was used for shelter and clothing but never for jewelry. I used the raw camel hair to make rope and used it to link the different components in each jewelry piece. I also used unglazed porcelain clay, which reminded me of the white facades of the old Kuwaiti mud houses. The porcelain components had very architectural shapes yet still were organic. I thought a lot about textures during this project, the roughness of the camel hair compared to the smooth surface of the raw porcelain. This project started as a challenge as I was trying to make these two materials look like they belonged with each other. In the end, I felt that they portrayed my vision.
How has the feedback been towards your designs?
I have had a lot of positive feedback. Most people were very curious and interested in the fact that I was making my pieces by hand and that the designs were not traditional or fashion jewelry. Instead my designs came from a new category of jewelry, which gave me the chance to introduce what contemporary jewelry is. People where very open to the idea of jewelry being viewed as works of art rather than just adornment.
I first exhibited my university jewelry projects at MAWAHEB in Avenues. Then, my first collection to sell was the Sadu Collection made exclusively for the Pretty Little Things event at Bait Sadu. These two events generated a lot of interest in my work and gave me the opportunity to explain to people what direction I am hoping to go to in the future.
What's in the future for your brand?
Currently I am not a jewelry brand, I consider myself a studio jeweler. Since I make all my pieces, I like to give myself the freedom to explore new styles, materials and designs. I hope for the future that I will get the chance to showcase my skills in more substantial pieces that would be presented as art jewelry.
Where can people buy your designs?
I will be creating collections from time to time and will keep updating my website of future exhibitions and events I would be participating in.
For more information about Muneera Alsharhan and her creative artistic endevours in jewelry design, check out her website.
You can also pop into Pretty Little Things, that's still on and in it's last day of exhibiting at Bayt Sadu, for more information click here.