Bahrain Arts Magazine's Sara Madan spent a little time at The Art House in Budaya, chatting to its owner Ilse Viljoen about her love of art and mosaics, and her motivation for setting up a workshop platform for other artists on the island.
“I believe that the passion to express oneself creatively is one of the most important of human needs,” says Ilse as she shows me around her lovely little Art House, situated in Mohali Garden on the Budaya Highway. “Even if at first I didn't realize it, I've lived with this real passion of art all my life; I was always passionate about colours, imagination and emotional expressions, but I had always looked at all kinds of arts being more of a pass-time, a hobby - the pleasure one gives oneself once some free time becomes available.” The challenge for Ilse was to create something new, so that this creation became part of her daily life.
One night Ilse saw a program about mosaic art work in the Palace of Granada, Spain, which printed a lasting impression on her mind and inspired her to want to learn and explore this art form more intensively. “Needless to say, our next holiday was booked for Spain which is, in my opinion, the capital of mosaics. I could not get enough of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, a ground-breaking genius and recognised as one of the most prodigious experts in his discipline of his time, as well as one of the top exponents of modernism. This is where my addiction to mosaic artwork started!”
For almost a year, Ilse learned how to make mosaic artworks and all about the different kind of tesserae (tesserae is an individual tile, usually formed in the shape of a cube, used in creating a mosaic), that can be used in this form of art work. “My styles changed many times during this period though, and in no time at all my entire house was converted into a mosaic workshop, driving the entire family insane; wherever you sit, eat or sleep, you would find tiles and artworks lying around.”
To get rid of some of the work she had done over that year, Ilse started displaying and selling her art at local markets and bazaars, and soon discovered that she was not alone in the mesmerizing and refreshing attraction of mosaics. Many people asked her for guidance and advice, and for her to run her own mosaic workshops. “And that started the thought process of me teaching this addictive art form to the public.”
Ilse soon realized there were so many other artists who, just like her, would love to share their own specialized art and craft to the public, and so her initial idea of running her own mosaic workshops developed into something much bigger: “I needed a haven, a place to share this fantastic art form with others, and this is when I decided to make an Art House; not just a place for mosaic art though, but a place where all crafters and artists can come together host workshops and share their own art and knowledge with others.” And so, in 2016, Art House was established by Ilse and her mother, Kotie Nason. “In the beginning my mother was only a supporter in the form of encouragement and advice, but she too loved art and mosaics and, at the age of 80, developed into an amazing artist herself.”
The Art House is not a gallery, but more of a sanctuary; a working artists' house showcasing different crafts and arts, and is open to any artist who would like to share their talents with the world in the form of workshops. It is a haven for all ages; somewhere one can relax, have a coffee, be creative and mingle in a laid-back friendly atmosphere. To date The Art House has hosted a large number of arts and crafts workshops including: mosaic, painting, batik, shabby chic, clothing design and jewellery workshops.
For Ilse, The Art House was a dream came true: “My mosaic art captured my creative soul so profoundly, and now I want to pass it on to others,” she says. “I am both a teacher and yet still a student of mosaic art, and I would like to invite anyone, anywhere on the island who is interested in any form of arts and crafts, to come and visit us here at The Art House and experience yourself the real joy of creativity.”
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The Art House
Villa no 5, Budaya Highway,
Near to Ruyan Pharmacy,
Opening Hours: 9.00 - 13.00 Sunday – Thursday and Saturday 10.00 - 15.00
Tel: + 973 3925 3943