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Colourfully crafty

August 26 - September 1, 2020

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly Colourfully crafty

Artistic Layal AlShafei has jumped on the 60’s bohemian bandwagon by creating colourful and crafty tie dye kits to keep families entertained and connected during Covid.

The 11-year-old Palms Primary School student launched the  @homeprojectbylayal Instagram business to spread joy among families stuck at home by keeping them active with one of 2020’s top trends, tie dye.

“Joy is creating and recycling clothing,” she said. “It’s fun and exciting and I wanted to share what I love with everyone. I love art and tie dye and have been doing this craft for a while now. With the encouragement of my mother, Samar Al Hiddi, I started my own business to create weekly projects to keep families entertained. There is no age limit for this. Only the magic of making your very own creation of clothes that you can wear.

“My aim is to bond families by giving them something fun to create so they can spend time together like I do with my mum. We always enjoy tie dyes together.”

Tie dye is one of the most ancient forms of decorating cloth with roots in China, India, Japan, Indonesia and West Africa. People used natural dyes from berries, leaves, roots and flowers to colour clothing. These natural items were boiled, and the fabrics then soaked in the hot, dyed water to take on a new colour. And while the fashionable fabrics first rose in the US in the roaring 20s, it’s more synonymous with the hippie hay days of the 60s representing peace and love.

The process of tie dye typically consists of folding, twisting, pleating, or crumpling fabric or a garment and binding with string or rubber bands, followed by application of dye(s).

The do-it-yourself craft is characterised by the use of bright, saturated primary colours and bold patterns. These patterns include the spiral, mandala, and peace sign as well as the use of multiple bold colours.

Layal’s kits include a shirt, gloves, a rubber band, a table sheet, a plastic bag, three colours and is good for up to four uses, priced at BD9.5. The shirt sizes vary from newborn to up XXL. Kits without a shirt cost BD7.

Aside from spreading smiles, Layal also dedicated 70 per cent of her proceeds from August 12 to 17 to support her  mentor Mohsen Falee, founder of Discipline Academy which promotes calisthenics. Mohsen, 27, is battling a rare type of cancer and is receiving treatment in Germany. He was diagnosed with Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors Stage 4 in May and has teamed up with Valour Apparel from Bahrain to sell T-shirts boasting a yellow ribbon that symbolises Sarcoma. He needs to sell 1,000 shirts to help cover cost.

Layal, from A’ali, wanted to help his plight. She said: “I am happy and proud to stand by him. He is not only my coach but also like a big brother and father figure to me and to all who trained with him.”

The tie dye kits are the first of many projects that Layal is adding to her Insta business. Her second  @homeprojectbylayal consists of canvas, tape, spray paint and gloves to create works of art.

She encourages other youngsters to launch their own businesses too and is thankful to her mum, a makeup artist, for helping her with the box designs and marketing. She said: “This is a great way for us youngsters to focus our energy and efforts on doing something positive instead of sitting around the house doing nothing. Plus, it’s fun. My next project will be a lot of fun too.”

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