Not all the hobbies are only restricted to drawing, music, shooting, etc, but they may also include innovative atypical hobbies.
Mariam Marzouk, a 26-year-old Egyptian female, has a different hobby: she heeds people’s favourite quotes, decides what distinguishes their personalities, and then crafts customised gift pieces for them, through pebble art.
Marzouk graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 2016, with a specialisation from the animations department. She worked as a graphic designer for a while, and then decided to open a new business for pebble art in 2017, called Picolina.
Furthermore, she explained that Picolina means the ‘little one’ in Italian, as she seems younger than her age, so she decided to name it Picolina to convey her appearance.
Marzouk narrated the story of creating her project with a glint in her eyes, “One day I started drawing on stones for fun, and then I envisioned that these stones could be used in making frames (tableaus), therefore I searched online for this type of art, and I found it available in countries outside Egypt, but unfortunately in Egypt no one is engaged in this art form, which meant I had no competitors.”
The tableau idea is determined according to the person who needs it, hence she always asks them few questions such as who the present is for, or what their favourite quote is, she explained.
Regarding the tableau’s implementation, Marzouk elaborated that after grasping the required idea, she begins to sketch the image by pencil in order to show the draft copy to the client, then she sorts out all the stones to decide which ones are suitable to use in this concept.
“Every stone delivers a message. In some instances, we need a small coloured stone, and other times, we may need a big neutral stone. Therefore, the stone choice is a very important phase in pebble art, also in terms of creating a contrast between used stones,” she described.
The use of materials from nature like stones, tree branches, sea glass, and other materials were the main goal behind Marzouk’s project idea. She said that Picolina always tries to succeed in linking nature and beauty together through adding a unique natural touch to your place.
Concerning the uniqueness, she stated that she creates an art piece only once, and never repeats the same idea again.
“I think the person who receives the gift is always happy that the gift is custom-made especially for them,” she said with a smile on her face.
Marzouk stated that she gets her raw materials from various places, adding that she procures sea glass from South Sinai.
“I get the stones from different places, including South Sinai, Ras Sedr, Alexandria’s beaches, and stone quarries, I also get some from America,” she said.
Meanwhile, concerning tree branches, she cited that she buys then it from locations which trim natural tree branches. On the other hand, she purchases the frames from a carpenter and then she paints them herself.
“I get the nails and screws form Al-Attaba,” she added.
Concerning her clients’ feedback, and how she markets her products, Marzouk said happily that “While inaugurating my project, I thought that my clients will only be from the upper classes. However, I got surprised that lower socio-economic classes purchase my art pieces much more than upper classes.” She deduced that currently people want to buy something new and unique, and quite understand the value of her art products.
With respect to her project’s marketing, she declared that she only markets her products online, through various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.
In terms of the prices of her art pieces, she announced that prices range from EGP 50 to EGP 600, depending on the art piece.
“I hope to further develop my project, and to open my own gallery,” she concluded.