How To Make Wood Art
May 17, 2017 | 7:41 PM
by Ashish Dubash

Creator of the AvArt Studio art page on Facebook Avanti Arethna is an architect and interior designer by profession who showcases her handmade art and decor. Avanti came to the Sultanate from Singapore five years back and fell in love with the quality of life and the natural beauty of Oman. Today in the Muscat craft community she is well known for her unique creations and decorated wooden letters.

Having specialised in wood art, she talks at length about this art form and inspires readers to try their hands in making them.

“Wood art is a vast subject and the art-form that I am doing is a part of it. I make handmade decor or artefacts using wood as a base material,” said Avanti who uses wooden elements in various forms and sizes to make decorated wooden letters, wooden name plates, and rustic wooden signs using wood.

Avanti was always interested in using different materials to make art and being an architect, wood seemed the most natural choice.

“It has such a special appeal to it that it attracts everyone in using natural wood as a finish or as a material. I am drawn to the natural feel, look, and texture of wood to paint on. Its earthy tones are very soothing to work with,” she added.

Sharing the techniques that she uses in making the products, Avanti said that depending upon the concept her techniques vary to get the required effect; starting from the basic techniques like sketching or drawing on wood, painting with acrylics or chalk paints, 3D lining with acrylics, paper craft, decoupage art, layering, and stencilling in making these creative decor.

While making these wood art, one can use different kinds of wood, be it Ply from natural wood, pallet wood, MDF, primed or buffed, depending on the requirement.

Other than that one would need wood paints, acrylic colours, chalk paints, craft paper, handmade sketches, decorations like paper flowers, crystals, ribbons, fabric, and many more. Depending upon the size of the piece and the type of detailing needed for a concept, it takes one to two days.

Each creation is handmade and crafted to personalise it to match the individual’s preferred concept. There are endless possibilities as you can make a variety of themes, concepts, and customise it by adding detailing, names, quotes, messages, match the design to your existing home or room décor.

While for Avanti the designs and ideas come as part of her imagination and art style, this self-taught artist feels that one can get naturally inspired. “Your surrounds and environment definitely shapes your sense of design, proportions, and balance,” she said.

Currently she is more focused on making decorated and personalised wooden name letters or initials like Handing and Freestanding letters in different themes and concepts; custom designed ‘Marquee’ letters with lights and ‘monogram letters’, and handcrafted hand painted rustic wooden signs.

When asked about how she has developed her unique style she says, “Every artist or designer has their own vision and style that reflects in their work. It is our background and life experience that moulds our creative thinking. If my artwork looks good and makes others happy as well, I know it must have come from a positive mind and a happy heart.”

Avanti reminisces that while growing up she was very close to her father and she would sit next to him to paint or make art. Her father pointed out to her to observe how every artist uses or masters their techniques. She used to observe people around her carefully and learnt from art teachers, books, and television programmes.

Avanti used to quickly put her energy into making a gift at home and would give it to her friends and surprise them. Till date, she has the same love of making personalised and unique handmade letters for a person or their family and likes to make them special.

As an architect she is experienced in understanding client’s requirements and design accordingly. Due to her professional background it is easier for her to develop upon a theme that someone wishes to have and make it even better than what they had envisioned.

Her creations, the decorated wooden ‘letters’ and wooden signs of different themes, have been used for various events and functions and people like to have them as a part of their space or home décor.

The floral theme, Superhero theme or a movie based idea, hand painted custom designs, rustic and wooden signs have been very popular in the past year. Children love that she can incorporate their favourite theme, characters from movie or a superhero into their name letters and it goes very well with their birthday theme.

Avanti also makes their birthday cake table around the same idea and later these special letters can be displayed in children’s nurseries, and bedrooms forever. Not only for children but parents also like to gift their partner with their names or initials combined. She has a lot of local friends asking her to do letters for themselves or as a gift to their family for an engagement or wedding functions and so far, she is glad that they have loved each and every one of her pieces she has made for them.

Realistic floral decors have been very popular to match a wedding reception theme. Various themes and the letters have flown to many countries and European cities including in the UK, Germany and also to the US, Singapore, Bali, Australia, Qatar, UAE, Jordan, and India as gifts.

In Oman, it all started with the preparation for her son’s first birthday party that she started making personalised art and her local friends have been very supportive and encouraging her to continue on this creative journey since then.

For creating her decorated letter, which are standing or hanging letters, Avanti uses 15 or 20cm tall wooden letters size usually or manufactures a custom designed style, font and size in woodwork in the local wood factory or workshops.

To create a particular theme she assembles her décor, handmade accessories, colour theme and puts design together. At times she designs various images on the computer to incorporate in her theme. She visualises the design in her mind, so when she actually sits down to start with it, she has a clear idea of how the final look should be. Once she starts she just goes towards making what she has in her mind.

“There has always been a lot of interest in handmade and artisan work here in Oman. There is a thriving art community here locally who exchange their creative ideas and showcase their recently made artworks with each other on the social media. Soon after I made few art pieces in wood for my son’s birthday, my friends and fellow mums started noticing and requesting to show them the various art pieces I have been making at home as a hobby. They insisted I should make a page on social media to showcase pictures of my work. I made AvArt Studio art page to showcase my art pieces, decorated wooden letters and my love for all things Design.”

Don’t hesitate to show your creativity and follow your heart’s imagination. And yes “Do more of what makes you happy,” said the artist.

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