Entering Studio Clay is like entering a world where time slows down and the rhythmic hum of the pottery wheel becomes a melody of creation. With a deep understanding of the transformative power of art, Noura Al Dhaheri, an Emirati artist, has created a community where people can disconnect from the outside world and immerse themselves in the meditative process of working with clay. Noura’s studio has become a refuge for those seeking art as therapy, especially during the turbulent times brought on by the pandemic.
Born into a culture where traditional career paths often take priority, Noura’s journey began with a divergence from expectations. Educated at a prestigious British school in Dubai, she was fortunate to have an extraordinary arts department that nurtured her budding talent. Despite her artistic talents, her parents envisioned a business future for her. However, a dedicated art teacher recognized her inner calling and encouraged her parents to let Noura follow her passion.
Noura’s academic path led her to study fine arts and painting for her bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s degree in art business. This combination of artistic skill and business set the stage for her unique trajectory in the art world. However, social expectations and cultural ignorance of the arts posed challenges. Noura’s decision to study abroad initially raised eyebrows. Only with the appearance of cultural landmarks such as the Louvre in Abu Dhabi did her family begin to see the potential of her artistic pursuits.
Upon returning home, Noura faced the harsh reality of a limited job market in the art industry, compounded by the challenges of the pandemic. Undeterred, he turned to his roots and set up his home studio to reconnect with clay, a medium he had explored during his college days. With determination and commitment to his craft, he transformed his home studio into a creative sanctuary.
Studio Clay evolved from a one-woman experiment to a thriving community. Noura, reflecting on the early challenges, noted: “It took me three months and a lot of failures, a lot of wasted clay to learn how to center the clay in the wheel.” Undeterred, she envisioned Studio Clay as more than just a studio; It was a space of self-discovery, a paradise for artists. A space where people could not only learn ceramics but also find solace, unleash their creativity and connect with their inner self.
“In our religion we believe that we are made of clay. So I used a lot of symbolism, and even the sink is designed to look like a sacred ritual. As you wash the clay off your hands, it’s like you connect with yourself. You will see many arches in the studio. Islamic arches. Arcs basically mean entering a new chapter and renewing yourself. So when people come in and out of the arches, they generally feel like they’ve released stress or let go of an old part of themselves, or found something new.” Noura collaborated with a friend of hers who is an interior designer and they built the studio together, which saved Noura a lot of excessive costs.
Venturing into new dimensions, Noura explored painting on ceramics. “I’m already good with my hands. I studied cooking. The skills are transferable,” she said. This additional layer infused life and energy into each creation, making Studio Clay a space where art and life converged.
At its core, the process of working with clay is transformative. “It’s not just about the final product; It is about the journey of creation. “Through ceramics, people discover a new aspect of themselves, and that is what Studio Clay aims to encourage.”
For Noura, clay is not simply an artistic medium, it is something alive. “I think clay is something that is alive and has its own energy. It absorbs negative energy and you can put your positive energy into it and it teaches you patience. “It’s just very beautiful material.”
Each in-studio workshop invites and encourages guests to experiment and play with clay. There’s no limit to what they can create, and the oven is always filled with the most innovative pieces born from the studio’s inclusive environment.
Noura Al Dhaheri’s clay studio is not only a haven for artistic expression; is a living testament to the power of one woman’s vision to reshape the narrative and redefine what is possible. In the quiet corners of her studio, echoes of Emirati tradition resonate and the wheels of creativity continue to turn, transforming dreams into tangible works of art.