ArtAliA the creative space

Saint-Gély-du-Fesc, Occitanie

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Announcement    Welcome to the creative space of ArtAliA where all of the creations are unique and hand-made from naturally occuring materials mostly of vegetal origin.
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Last updated on Sep 19, 2017

Welcome to the creative space of ArtAliA where all of the creations are unique and hand-made from naturally occuring materials mostly of vegetal origin.
Join me on Facebook :
And on Pinterest :


Bob Brightman

Contact shop owner

Bob Brightman


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
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Quality 2 Customer service 3

About ArtaliaNature

Sales 78
On Etsy since 2017

Artalia, from a dream to reality

I am originally from a charming town called Abingdon close to Oxford, England. Despite having an artistic tendency I decided to go for a scientific career in Chemistry after finishing my studies at Oxford. For sentimental reasons I left my home country to form a family and work at Montpellier in the South of France. Up until 2009 I worked in a pharmaceutical company as an analytical chemist and then took an early retirement opportunity. It was the moment to at last consecrate my time to artistic creation and Artalia was thus created in 2010.
As soon as I had arrived in France I continued artistic activities in my spare time doing amongst others: greeting cards with painted silk, mirrors with painted wood frames, mini frames with dried flowers, mini greenhouses, coloured sand lamps,painted stones, decorated eggshells and carved gourds. Quite an array but I decided on coconut and gourd carved lamps to start my new professional activity.
I rapidly appreciated carving coconut shells, despite being extremely hard (even more dense than ebony) the results were impressive, rather like an exotic wood. My first attempts were simple carvings and the idea of creating lamps came later. I was pleased with the results but never thought that It would be profitable because of the time it took to complete. I have now created over 500 lamps and not only have I reduced the time needed to complete a lamp I have also enormously improved the quality of the carving complexity of the designs.
It's very important for me to create an object which has a dual aspect; in daylight a low relief carved object and in the darkness a beautiful light source with amazing light /shadow projections. My inspirations come from many sources like Aboriginal Art for example; I give my lamps rather exotic names and try to maintain a harmony between the shape of the coconut shell and the motif I am carving. I like to think that I am enhancing Nature's work in a very modest way. It's also great to create beauty from an object that is normally broken and discarded. In deciding to work with coconut shells I have rather unwittingly renewed an very old Art of coconut carving which was popular in the 18th to 19th century. Sailors would carve floating coconut shells for their leisure as well as banished prisoners in unsavoury jails. These objects today sell for handsome sums in antique auctions and are researched collectibles.
It's true that a coconut shell has an almost unlimited lifetime as the wood is does not rot. I use a variety of different types of coconuts but I have a preference for young white shells which are thinner and allow more light to pass. The colour of the shells is totally natural and depends on the degree of maturity going from white (young) to dark brown (mature) and many shades between and even mottled. Low relief carving on a pure white shell is particularly aesthetic and looks rather like carved ivory or ostrich eggshell. To create a lamp it takes many hours of minute work with numerous different steps; with each hole is drilled the shell becomes lighter, more fragile and more precious but the moment when the lamp is first lit is always magical. Despite the large number of holes the shell remains very solid and temperature resistant.
Another interesting aspect of coconuts is that everything is used, nothing is wasted, a great example of valorising. For example the fibres are used for growing, the flesh is used for making virgin coconut oil ( I make my own), the water is a great energy drink and of course the shell for making lamps or carves objects. The coconut water can also be fermented to give a probiotic kefir and the left over from oil production as animal food. I even recover the coconut shell sawdust which is great for growing seeds. Of course in the coconut producing countries there are many other uses and the coconut tree is also exploited.
As well as coconuts I work with gourds calabashes which look alike but are in fact quite different plants. The dried shells are much softer than coconut shells and more fragile to work with. I had to adapt my carving techniques to this new medium using diamond tipped burs for example. The advantage is being able to have large volumes and more interesting shapes. I work with French and Chinese gourds and African calabashes from Togo and Mali.
My lamps are created in a workshop which is part of a garage and is equipped with high speed drills and countless accessories and safety equipment to protect against wood dust. I exhibit my work several times each year in France during Art and Craft shows and also in Switzerland, Italy and Holland. My Etsy shop is recent but I have been selling my lamps since 2012 on a French website which was taken over by Etsy. This shop had a good sales record, good following and excellent evaluations. (Available on request).
I enjoy teaching coconut, gourd and eggshell carving in classes and also in underdeveloped countries. I have trained young people in the Philippines and in Togo with rather mixed results. It's a very satisfying and enriching experience and one I would like to continue in the future.
I hope you will enjoy my work as much as I have enjoyed doing it, thanks for reading

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