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Egyptian Artist Makes Kitsch-Cute Tawlas, Shishas, and So Much More

Strategic board games, shishas and furniture just got a whole lot more colourful with Studio Mariem's customized designs.

One of the many perks of being an adult (if any) is that we no longer feel the need to wear our bodies out and be seen at every party or at every happening event. So every now and then we like to stay home and indulge in our guilty pleasures. And if our guilty pleasures so happen to be chess, tawla or sheesha, we've found one studio that gives  these board game a little extra pizzazz. Studio Mariem - which is an online store - that showcases customized furniture adorned with vintage elements, pop culture icons or simply a dose of color. Recently though, they've added board games and hookah to their roster of customized pieces. 

Founder of Studio Mariem, Mariem Emad, paints whatever she can get her hands on. Having grown up with a passion for art, the young Egyptian decided to use the world as her canvas ( or as much of it as she could) and that's how her online studio came to life. 

"I love drawing. I always have. My grandad is the one who taught me how to draw when I was a kid. I used to draw on everything though, the wall, my sneakers, you name it,” says the young artist. “So at some point, someone suggested I paint furniture and I thought why not?”

Founding the studio in 2016, Mariem started off by painting on tables, closets, chairs and vanities. Once she exhausted all the range of furniture items, she chose to get creative with one of her favorite activities, strategic board games."I love tawla and I love beautiful artsy pieces. I’d initially drawn a galaxy on my friend’s wall and I thought of trying it on the backgammon board and once I tried it, I loved the outcome," explains Emad of the pieces.

Not forgetting about those of us who can't go without our weekly dose of sheesha, Emad also paints and customizes hookahs. While it took the young artist a year to learn how to paint on the furniture in a way so as to make the colors stand out, she now experiments with different designs. Emad initially started it off with painting on small piece such as frames and small boxes. Eventually, she started trying her painting skills on the bigger items and now she designs full sets of furniture for her clients."It depends on the client and what colors or the style they like. The process also depends on the furniture, meaning the nature of the item will decide whether we’ll do it all from scratch or whether we'll get a chair that's already built and work from there," explains Emad.

Choosing wood as her preferred canvas, due to its lasting nature, Emad finds her inspiration in painting patterns and styles found in different time periods. 

"Wood doesn’t get affected by water or anything. When I first started, I read a lot about the styles that were prominent in older eras. I love the different time periods and the art bred at that time. Basically, I love all things vintage so I try to mix vintage with different styles," explains Emad of her different styles. 

Excuse us now while we go challenge our frienemies to a game of strategy on our artsy chess boards. 

Check Studio Mariem out on Instagram and Facebook.

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