Questions and Answers

Who, what, where, when and why?? These questions come naturally to visitors at the market. At my table in particular, the Who? comes up often as we have art tiles deeply etched with complex and beautiful Arabic calligraphy. “Who does this work?”  While we work on the art together, “my husband does all of the calligraphy. It is all hand copied, as is the tradition, and he has been doing it for 20 years” is my answer. “Do you know what they say?” is a natural second question. “Yes, I do. We put a label on the back with that information.” I love speaking my not-so-perfect Arabic aloud as it always seems to delight the person asking the question. Each one of our art tiles has an explanation on the back. It is the added value that we offer ourselves and to our customers. The added personal interest to our process.

Islamic Art Tiles
Bismillah (shown at the bottom of picture)
The first and foremost characteristic of Islamic art is the universal usage of Arabic script. A beautiful artistic expression of faith in Islam is the scripted Bismillah :
Bismillah-er-Rahman-er-Rahim
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful

“What is this design?” Whether it is an Arabic sura, a Sanskrit mantra or the Greek word ICHTHUS, a Lamb or an IHS on a Christian piece – the What? question is another that I am always happy to answer. The first “What?” though, is quite often directed to the art itself. “What are they?” They – are art. To put on your wall. On a stand. To simply enjoy. Our designs are inspired by the ancients. Spiritual. Deeply personal. Each line and space between the lines, thoughtfully considered. But in the end – just art.

The Fish Symbol (Ichthus) This symbol represents the oldest Christian symbol of Christ.  The Greek word for FISH-pronounced ICHTHUS - is formed by using the first letter or each of the words in Greek - Iesous, Christos, Theou, Hyos, Soter - 
which stand for Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior
The Fish Symbol (Ichthus)
This symbol represents the oldest Christian symbol of Christ. The Greek word for FISH-pronounced ICHTHUS – is formed by using the first letter or each of the words in Greek – Iesous, Christos, Theou, Hyos, Soter – 
which stand for Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior
The Gayatri Mantra 
(Rigveda 3.62.10)
 The Gayatri Mantra invoking the Deva Savitr is considered 
the highest and most important of all Hindu mantras. 

Translation by Swami Vivekananda reads:
“We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe, may He enlighten our minds.”
The Gayatri Mantra 
(Rigveda 3.62.10)

The Gayatri Mantra invoking the Deva Savitr is considered 
the highest and most important of all Hindu mantras. 

Translation by Swami Vivekananda reads:
“We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe, may He enlighten our minds.”

“Where?” In Maple Valley. Just over an hour south east of Seattle. Within 25 minutes of leaving the market I am on my tree lined country road homeward bound. Our studio is part of our home and while private we do also meet up at the local QFC or Starbucks with our “close to home” customers. Nothing like sitting down for a cup of coffee, transacting a sale, then doing my errands. Making the best of our chosen life style.

“When?” Is often asked as “when did you start doing this?” About 20 years ago.

“Why?” as in “How did you come to do this art?” There is a long story that could be inserted here. Let’s just say that “We lived the corporate life. Now this one. We like this one better”

So…What have you discovered?

Who? My husband Jeff and I. What? Handcraft decorative, display art tiles of inspiration and awareness. Where? In Maple Valley. When? We started nearly 20 years ago. (While we do have a website that you may access at any time,  we are at the market 4-5 days a week). Why? Because we love what we do.

Kat Allen
Symbols in Art

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