Laila al-Wahdna is a 58-year-old retired principal from Jerash, the mother of six, and grandmother of two. Her story began once she had retired and began to feel an emptiness in her life that she had not known before. Her working life had been full of achievement and continuous work, which she devoted to the next generation. Upon retirement, she decided to research different art-forms, eventually finding that decoupage and home recycling interested her most. From there, she began to learn about production methods and materials needed to create an elegant final product. She started participating in a family association and slowly began to buy the necessary tools for the art form, which was not widely known at the time in her community.
Now, Laila has set up workshops specialized in the art of decoupage and recycling in schools, bazaars, and associations.
Laila explains a bit about her art form: "The art of decoupage is the art of cutting and pasting materials from the environment, or purchased at the lowest prices. to make art pieces, recycled home furniture, and more. We use surfaces such as wood, iron, stone, or even glass or cloth, and we paste newspaper, magazines, and tissue paper, painting them with watercolors to help save it from damage. We can create either recycled home furniture or new pieces such as boxes, wall panels, glass panel, houseware, and much more.”
As for the impact of her work, Laila says, "Because my financial situation was difficult, I started to work on the pieces in my house, and when I produced any piece, I was very impressed and delighted. I received constant support from my family, and with time, learned to buy the materials needed for this work. I felt that I had changed radically -- I became a confident person. I no longer felt that I was a burden on anyone. I became a human being with an active role in society. I started to participate in the bazaars and many other places where I can market my work, and I certainly faced a great challenge because this art is new to Jordan. So I decided to become one of the first trainers on the art of decoupage in the country. I started to train women and school students on this art, and I can estimate the number of people who have been trained is more than 100. Yet I still seek more because I believe that this art provides the potential to develop aesthetic skills and the skill of patience and appreciation.”