When we talk about wooden crafts, we automatically assume some sort of carving and kniving going on over a piece of wood. But there is much more to wooden crafts. In today’s artist spotlight, we’ll get to know more about modern-day wooden crafts, and meet our artist, Meem, of wooden dreams.
Bangladeshi culture reflects diverse history and religion, representing the craft that comes alongside. These crafts add great value to our heritage and create a line of legacy. Wooden crafts are no longer viewed solely as a means of adornment; they are now competing in the commercial sector, architecture, interior design, furniture pieces, and products. Although carving is still the most popular form of wood-craftworks, modern artists have been experimenting by using beads, mirrors, and paints with wood.
Meem is a crafter of modern days. She has been introducing the craft savvies to the various new formats of wooden crafts. By using paint on wood fragments, she creates eye-catchy ornaments that are not only popular among Gen Zs but also are craved by millennials and boomers. She also paints on lighters and sunglasses to give them an artistic touch.
Today, we will learn a bit more about Meem and get acquainted with her beyond the barriers of Instagram and Facebook.
Content Writer and Editor: Rifah Nawar
IG handle: @parchmentstains
Artist Spotlight Interview: Meem of Wooden Dreams
Q. Tell us a little about your creative journey, how and when did it spark a start?
Painting was a place of solace for me from childhood. I have always loved creating new pieces of art and paintings and they have been my source of expression many times. I always wanted to do something related to art and crafts; be the medium of expression for others (maybe). But because of a lack of knowledge and experience, I took some time after joining the university. I first started making wooden jewelry out of interest and slowly expanded it into selling different artwork, accessories, cards, logos, and posters. I am still continuing the job since creating art still remains a place for solace for me.
Those who know Meem only as of the founder of “Wooden dreams” should also know that she has an art account where she regularly dumps her creative output. She also paints on commission. It’s good to see that Meem has been continuing the activity that opened doors of the craft world for her.
Q. What are your indispensable tools and materials for painting and illustration?
There are tons of materials that I can list now which are essential for me. Woods, acrylic color, oil color, canvas, pins, hooks and chains for jewellery, business cards to add with the packaging. To keep a touch of personalization, I write the Thank you cards myself. Tools that are always in my huge bag and regardless of how heavy the bag gets I carry them with me all the time. My iPad, a small notebook, pens, and pencils. There might be some inspiration hidden in a dark alleyway that will spark a new idea in my head. But drive and inspiration are the most important tools for my work. If I do not feel inspired or do not get the drive to work for the next project then the day is dedicated to my cats and mugs of tea in search of zeal.
Now that are some unique tools we have found in Meem’s stash! Honestly, before any sort of materialistic tools come drive and inspiration to create something. If those are lacking, no matter how rich one’s toolbox is and how many hours one puts after the works, the output is never going to be satisfactory.
Q.Where do you look for inspiration?
I am inspired by the smallest of things. My favorite movies, songs, poems, stories, people. The list might as well never end. I try to capture the overall feelings behind the separate prices of art and create my own piece. Sometimes, I revisit my favorite artists. Sometimes if the project is taking a long time and is draining my energy, I share my creative process with my friends and family. In this way, I am not particularly seeking validation from them but I find the motivation to go on with the same project. Sometimes I am inspired by different popular art forms like rickshaw painting and folk art and different typographies. I try to incorporate them into my products so that people who are buying from me, especially youth, can find their own personal style into things that they own.
Getting to know how Meem finds inspiration in the most ordinary and mundane stuff itself is a beautiful experience. And not going to lie, but it’s a rare skill to be able to able to find something special in random objects. Also, not many people realize this but the people and relationships we are surrounded with can be great drivers for our passions. Their direct and indirect words can influence our willingness to do something in both ways. If you are reading this and you have someone art-enthusiastic within your circle, always try to be encouraging through your words and actions. You never know, your words might give rise to the next generation Frieda!
Q. Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5 years? Do you have a vision?
Personally, I am very busy with academics for the next few years at least. But I have always tried my best to keep my business unharmed by all the instabilities or the changes in my life. I hope to continue working hard on the growth of my business. Merchandising ‘Wooden Dreams’ in a larger way, works on the retails of the business. Someday, in the far future, I wish to have an art studio where I would be able to work. There will be a small physical shop attached to the studio where people will be able to buy things of their choice. But this is a dream for a very far future so I do not have a particular plan to share at this moment. For now, I only wish to continue working hard for my online shop.
Such a beautiful dream to dream! We really wish that this vision of Meem becomes successful someday. At the same time, we wish that she aces in her academic life through and through.
Q. Among all the things you create, what is your favorite piece of art?
Among all the creations, I love the coasters that I worked on. Especially the series where I worked to capture specific famous classic paintings by Micheal Angelo, Van Gough, Claude Monet. It’s almost like I was able to see the world in their eyes through a smaller lens.
What better way to pair craftworks than with tea-time accessories Being big fans of Meem’s works, we followed every coaster of her famous classic painting series closely and we thoroughly loved all of them.
Q. Other than crafting and painting wooden pieces, what other hobbies do you have?
It will sound boring, but my hobbies are not extraordinary. Apart from painting, I love watching movies, binge-watching my favorite series, reading books, cooking pasta, and photography. I spend a huge amount of my time at home with my cats. Spending time with my cats should not be categorized as a hobby though. This is a lifestyle I chose.
To be honest, we don’t find these hobbies boring at all! Rather all these compose an interesting catalog. We are pretty sure that many of our readers have already started coveting Meem’s lifestyle.
Q. Is there any special memory or event related to your business that you would like to share with us?
There’s no one special memory but there are a ton of different random events that made me appreciate my hard work and be a bit more proud of myself. I was once in TSC at Dhaka University, talking to one of my friends and there was a group of friends in front of us. One of them was wearing a pendant made by me with a Pink Floyd logo on it. There were several other such random incidents when I crossed someone on the streets or in a restaurant and they would be wearing jewellery made by me. Every time something like this happens I start to appreciate my own work a bit more and any doubts that may have popped in my head get cleared out.
That’s a proud moment for any crafter. The joy as a crafter we experience when we see someone appreciating our work through interacting with them; be it wearing it as an ornament or using it as an accessory – it’s unbeatable!
Q. Tell us a little bit about your journey with Wooden Dreams.
My journey started very suddenly. I decided to work on art and crafts and initially was selling them from my personal social media accounts. After one or two months, seeing that people liked my work, I shifted everything into a business account. Wooden Dreams is handled solely by me. From buying woods and materials for the crafts to making them, packaging them and posting them for delivery, communicating to the customers- I do everything on my own. It is tiresome at some points but the reaction from people who buy my products helps me keep going. This is not my full-time work and sometimes because of academics or other personal reasons, I cannot deliver the orders in time. Even though their deliveries are late or there are some other problems, I would get texts that are so kind and overwhelmingly sweet that I realize I must be doing something right with what I am doing.
Having a considerate and understanding customer base, who recognize your hard work and empathize with your effort is a true blessing. The journey of “Wooden dreams” seems like a sweet saga to us and we hope that this sweetness always keeps on prevailing.
Q.What is your advice to newbie crafters/artists who aspire to have their own business someday?
I am not a highly experienced artist myself. I also make mistakes. But I think that owning up to one’s mistakes is the best quality that one can possess. Being authentic is very important; being true to their own style of work. It is very important to seek inspiration but it is very important for everyone to understand the fine line between creative works inspired by something and copying someone’s work. Finally, just try to focus on doing what makes them happy rather than anything else.
The line between imitating and getting inspired is a thin one with a lot of grey areas in between. Being an artist or a craftsman kind of makes it imperative to always remain careful about it and make sure that the boundaries are maintained. This advice of Meem is indeed an important one and all craft enthusiasts, irrespective of experience should keep this in mind.
There was a time when the divine duty of introducing the local craftworks was in the hands of rural craftsmen only. But those days are gone. The legacy has been passed upon the Gen Zs and millennials and experimenting with local crafts has been permitted. People like Meem are playing the leading role in this procession. We wish Meem very good luck with “Wooden dreams” and we hope that she gets to achieve