Anna Lewis

Nash, Mandy

Mandy received support to participate in the International Exhibition of Arts, Heritage and Creativity which formed part of the Muscat Festival in Oman.

Mandy said of the visit: "I exhibited my work and demonstrated my working techniques, colouring and forming anodised aluminium jewellery and felt making at the International Exhibition of Arts, Heritage and Creativity, part of the Muscat Festival in Oman. The event was open from 4pm to 10pm each day and was attended by a large audience from both the Omani and ex pat communities. The Omani people are unfamiliar with contemporary European craft, it was interesting to observe their reaction to my work – they were very intrigued by my use of anodised aluminium to make jewellery and were very complimentary and appreciative of my skills and originality – I have never been photographed so much!

Also exhibiting at the event were craftspeople from all over the world including Norway, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Hungary, Iran, Macedonia, Taiwan, Ghana, Peru and Russia. The opportunity to meet so many different nationalities together, to discuss our work and techniques was extraordinary – and of course the common language was English!

Mornings were free to explore Oman, although the lack of public transport and time restricted some trips (the desert was just too far!), by sharing taxis with the other craftspeople and the friendly hospitality of the Omani people I experienced a good taste of the region including visits to the Grand Mosque. The Centre for Omani Dress, the Muttruh Souk, the Bait al Zubair Museum, the goat market in Nizwah, plus sightseeing at Wadi Shab and Wadi Daqwah Dam.

All my initial objectives were achieved and more. I have amassed a large collection of digital images which will act as a resource over the next year or two as inspiration for new collections of both anodised aluminium jewellery and laser cut fabric cushions and lampshades.

Visiting Oman and exhibiting at the Muscat Festival was truly an amazing experience, far exceeding my expectations - I would not have been able to participate in the event or travelled to Oman without the support of Wales Arts International."

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