24 Years in this beautiful city called Dubai, and I’m still in love with the spirit of this city. I believe, Spirit is not defined by tall, fancy structures, sophisticated transport system, exuberant hotels or a show of unimaginable wealth. But the spirit of a city engulfs, the culture of its native inhabitants, the simplicity of their existence in a rapidly growing and glowing environment. It is also characterized by how quickly, it can adapt to change while preserving its hospitable nature as hosts. The maintenance of regulations, the observance of discipline and respect, the conservation of its fauna and flora are just a few to name. Infact, today, I feel, this vivacious city, bloomed right before my eyes.
From harsh unforgiving dunes rose a mighty tower that attracts more visitors from all over the world – by the hour !!! From a trading port, today, it is recognized equally for being a tourist haven. Dubai has changed perceptions. Dubai has challenged and accepted challenges. Dubai has morphed from a transit city to a tranquil dwelling for thousands. It has smoothly flourished and enabled thousands to burgeon as well.
15 years back, I started toying around, with the idea of crafting with my toddlers, reawakening a latent passion for arts. However, there were no classes, workshops or tutorials to cater to the craft enthusiasts. (ie non-art academic students) And neither were there, any specialized hobby stores.
Ofcourse, where we’ve been fortunate with some excellent stationery stores like Dubai Library distribution, Farouq Stationery, Al Furqaan, which, carry basic school, office, art supplies in addition to kits for various activities eg. knitting, jewelry making, cardmaking and such .. but there were limitations … infact plenty of limitations back then.
From an ‘era’ where internet was about the long and erratic wait to a dial up connection and where, skills were limited to enrolling in specialized classes, the average ‘crafting Joe’ struggled with realizing his potential quirky element !! Infact, names of some supplies were still unheard of then ! While rubberstamping was a rage, soon scrapbooking and Card-making followed suit. Dozens of hobbies became easily attainable and convenient for the avid but non-art-student with the advent of the ‘world wide web’ like quilling, decoupage, mixed media, paper-making, mosiac, print-making, flower making, sewing, knitting, origami, photography – just to name a few !
However, an optimistic craft enthusiast and an ardent shopper, has been a beastly concoction brewing within me ! My pursuit to explore and ‘gather’ (notice I used the word, ‘gather’ which gradually qualified into hoarding !!) rubber stamps, embellishments, die cuts, decoupage sheets, quilling needles etc, had me rummaging through the bustling nooks and crannies of a ‘more tame’ and much more smaller Dubai and Sharjah ! Stores in Deira that would stock laces, beads and buttons – the local haberdashery, mainly for fabric and textile purposes – but it was an adventure and when I would finally land on an ‘ideal’ store – it was like hitting jackpot !!
Paper lane, Creative Hands and Elves and fairies were one of our first sources for scrapbooking and card making supplies.
While Wasco White star in Jumeirah, was a teacher’s paradise. They hosted top quality, costumes, party ware and school supplies, all made in USA.
I bought my son’s first craft kit from …………………………………….. Toys r us !!!! (In all honesty, my little guy never got to use it – It was mine from the moment we got home 😉 )
If you ever google “hobby crafts” – it would lead you to stores which carry motorized toy cars, helicopters, boats and hummers ! ( you get, which ones I mean, right ?)
Fast forward 2016, we are spoilt for choices !! Some amazing stores that have been providing a vast variety of scrapbooking, paper crafting, decoupage, fabric, textiles, paints, canvases and other hobby supplies are :-
- Creative Hands
- Creative Minds
- Culture & Co. A new contender worth visiting – especially since Sharpies are only dhs 8 here !!
- Emirates trading Establishment
- Paper chase
- Wasco White Star (Jumeirah)
- Al Habtoor Art showroom
- Specialist Craft UAE
- Art Stop – Jumeirah plaza
- Elves and Fairies
- Office One
- Virgin Megastore
- Clas Ohlson
Three stores that carry a wide stock of art and craft supplies as well as ready made products are :-
- Tchibo / Brands for Less
- Dollar Plus store
- Day to Day (The Middle-eastern dollar store version)
I would not like to belittle the importance of the dhs 1 – dhs 10 stores, scattered all over the city, much like the Day to Day stores, these outlets can also act as catalysts for the innovative mind. (Their only shortcoming limited to their quality)
Ofcourse, Ace Hardware is every DIYer’s paradise ! But I also loved the DIY section at Clas Ohlen .
Naif Road and the back alleys of Gold souk still remain my favorite hotspots for buttons, beads, lace, fabric and embellishments. However, these are stores that are wholesalers, hence if you are looking for only a dozen buttons, its not worth struggling in this area – the store keeper is not going to entertain any quantity, lesser than a carton !!!
There has been a positive shift and crafters are utilizing the convenience of online shopping as well !!
- Creative Crafts
- Desert Cart
- The Good stuff (for sharpies)
- Specialist Crafts UAE
My previous post on the same subject was nearly, 4 years back. Its pretty obvious how many more outlets have opened doors and virtual doors to creative individuals.
One of the most common comments, I receive on this blog are not comments – but questions !
Questions about where to buy supplies from, what material is durable, which glue is best for which surface, what are my go to stores for which items, which paint for what project, how to design a small garden etc. These are some of my most asked questions I receive.
I hope to be able to enlighten you with all the answers in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I hope you take advantage of all the above information and enjoy, shopping and completing creative projects.
Thank you for visiting me today. Trust you will stay a while and leave some love in your comments.
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