Miriam Walsh & Paul Townsend

04 Mar 2013
By Ahlanlive.com

Founders of ARTE

These two crafty characters have built up the biggest marketplace in the UAE dedicated to local artisans. As a monthly event on Dubai’s social calendar, ARTE enoyed its most successful year yet in 2012.

How popular is ARTE?
PAUL: When we held our first Christmas market back in 2005 we featured 15 local artisans and attracted less than 100 customers. In 2012 it was a two-day event with over 340 of the UAE’s top artisans attracting over 40,000 customers.

What was the inspiration behind ARTE?
MIRIAM: Often as market buddies during our beginning years as artisans, Paul and I felt let down by market organisers, when we realised the hosts did no marketing, allowed for cheap competition with imports from other countries and generally were lacking focus. It was from here that the Artisans of the Emirates was born.

When and where are the events held?
PAUL: On the first Friday of every month in Dubai Festival City and on the second Friday of the month at Dubai’s Times Square.
MIRIAM: The different locations appeal to different vendors and customers.

Are you both creative yourselves?
MIRIAM: I am a felt maker and I love working with natural sheep’s wool fibre. I make felted wool and silk scarves and feel proud when someone buys my creations.
PAUL: I love silversmithing. I have been commissioned to make items for the UK Royal family, and a pair of my cufflinks was given to the US Secretary of State when George W Bush was in town.

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