Baraah’s Store : Reimagining home accessories

Baraah’s Store : Reimagining home accessories
Mansi has been drawing and painting since she was young, seeing beauty where others find none. Now, she turns that beauty into products for people to cherish and relate to. (Photos: Handouts from Baraah Al-Mansi)
Thinking of kicking your home accessories up a notch? Looking for a gift that is both reasonably priced and authentic? Not feeling like going to a big-box retailer? Baraah’s Store is an online shop that offers a cohesive collection of products adorned with artistic designs that seamlessly combine woodwork and resin. اضافة اعلان

The store launched in 2016 by Baraah Al-Mansi, a self-taught artist with a keen eye for artistic detail and an understanding of identity building. Mansi has been drawing and painting since she was young, seeing beauty where others find none. Now, she turns that beauty into products for people to cherish and relate to.

“In my freshman year at college, I was trying to earn extra pocket money and I employed my hobby to my benefit. My first ever product was a space-themed notebook. I was always on the lookout for the next big artistic thing, challenging myself in order to grow. YouTube was always there for the rescue; it was as holding a magnifying glass to the sparks of creativity within me and nurturing it,” Mansi told Jordan News.

Mansi experimented with different materials, including painting with acrylics, which involves a lot of patience and deft hand movements.

“I did everything from T-shirts to caps and phone-covers. I once drew ‘The Starry Night’ by impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh on a seven 7-cm-diameter medallion,” she said.

It was not until 2019 that Mansi immersed herself in an art form completely new to her: resin. This garnered some attention in Jordan at the time.

“Resin was unlike any other material I had ever tried to work with,” Mansi said.

“I was on a reasonably unfamiliar territory there. It was an uphill battle to get my hands on the material. I discovered a substitute with comparable properties: polyester resin, which is not used in art, has a strong odor and is extremely hazardous to use for extended periods of time. I ultimately used it for a full year.”

When the pandemic hit, Mansi took full advantage of the lockdown to hone her art, master her craft, and explore new techniques for working with resin. She says this phase caused a paradigm shift in her work.

She discovered a substitute for polyester resin which was easier to handle. She also began hosting workshops to teach the fundamentals of dealing with resin.

In July 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions started to ease, she held her first workshop in Irbid. Her practice evolved into monthly workshops where she would teach different skills during each lesson. She learned from her students as much as she taught them. The connection between artists is what keeps their perspective on the world crisp, fresh, and vivid.

Registration is now open for new workshops about mastering the skill of creating resin waves: the most commonly used technique with this medium.

Her products are designed on AutoCAD, cut using a laser machine, hand-painted with acrylics, then covered in resin. The base material of her products is wood: “My uncle is a carpenter and it gave me room to be creative because it is so much easier when you have someone who understand exactly what you want.”

“I dislike copying already existing products. I am against products which are entirely made of resin, particularly trays and coasters. Although resin is sturdy and does not break easily, it is not compatible with such products as it arches with time. Also, I always seek to be the extraordinaire; when someone sees a product of mine, I want them to immediately recognize it is mine,” Mansi explained.

She only works with acrylic paints in primary colors. She mixes them to create various shades and hues, which proved to be difficult when transforming a prototype into a final product.

Her products include clocks, jewelry boxes, Quran stands, and car chains. “The car chains were first made specifically as a special gift, customized for people I know. They are made of a wooden frame, which is then filled with resin, refurbished, and given additional protective coatings. The camera shaped chain was a gift to my wedding photographer, but people took a liking to it and orders sky rocketed through the roof.”

“Each artwork has a story and a journey of trial and error, then utter amazement that it worked. Never having sought fame as an artist, my primary motivation was to satisfy my curiosity and sense of adventure,” she said.

Mansi draws inspiration from nature and all that surrounds her, making her Baraah’s Store a quality online shop that never fails to exceed expectations.

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