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Amnah Al Fard: Emirati quilled doll maker on her dream

Emirati artist Amnah Al Fard speaks about how she makes her dolls

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:07 July 12, 2013
  • Gulf News

Emirati artist Amna Al Fard
  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • Emirati artist Amna Al Fard with her handmade dolls at Maraya Art Centre in Al Qasba, Sharjah.
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Dubai: When Emirati artist Amnah Al Fard stared at her 1,145th finished piece—a three-inch quilled doll or doll made of rolled paper—she could not believe her eyes. Before her stood a legion of colourful miniature dolls which she would use to hopefully create Umm Al Quwain’s first Guinness World Record.

“When I stood up, I got really overwhelmed. I didn’t expect to have made all of them. I thought to myself, those dolls represent two years of my life,” Amna, who comes from a family of artists in Umm Al Quwain, told Gulf News.

Amnah’s dolls were made using an ancient technique called quilling which involves rolling a thing piece of paper into a feather or a quill.

For Amnah’s project, she takes pride in saying that no two dolls in her collection are the same. All the 1,145 dolls are uniquely designed and each doll took approximately three hours to make. The smallest dolls, at two inches, to the biggest, at three, are all made out of paper.

“I love making three-dimensional creations but I’m more into paper medium. I wanted to do pottery, I wanted to do engraving, but then I didn’t have the time. Making the dolls made me able to create the 3D figurines that I wanted but with the medium that I love,” Amnah said.

Depending on the project, Amnah starts by cutting pieces of paper into thin shreds, usually at a width of three millimetres. She inserts it into a quilling needle and rolls it to make a ball. She glues it together and pushes the centre outward to form a shape—either the head, arms, or dress. She painstakingly makes sure that each layer is spaced out evenly so as not to create an unnecessary bulge on the finished product.

Amnah’s passion and dedication have not gone unnoticed. She has won several international recognitions, including when she swept the top three awards at the English Quilling Guild competition in the UK in 2010. Her Wizard of Oz collection bagged the first prize. The following year, she won the first and second prize at the North American Quilling Guild in the US for her Alice in Wonderland collection.

But the biggest honour she hopes to get would be the world record, whose results, Amna said, will be revealed later this month.

“To get the first world record on this art would be amazing. Another fact is, not everyone knows that I’m from Umm Al Quwain and we don’t have any world records yet in my city. So that will be the first, Insha’Allah, if I get it.”


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