Laila Al-Whadnah

Laylac Handmade

Jordan / Jerash

Laila al-Wahdna is a 58-year-old retired school principal from Jerash. 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 generations. Upon retirement, she decided to search online to learn about different forms of art, eventually choosing decoupage and home recycling as her primary interests. From there, she began to learn methods to help her make the art and what was needed to produce pieces of final product. Because her financial situation at the time was not good, Laila began to use what was available in her home, developing the method of work that would provide a tangible income. She started participating in a family association and slowly began to buy the necessary tools used 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, overcoming many difficulties, the largest of which is marketing.

The Challenges

Laila al-Wahdna is a 58-year-old retired school 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 generations. Upon retirement, she decided to search online to learn about different forms of art, eventually choosing decoupage and home recycling as her primary interest. From there, she began to learn methods to help her make the art and what was needed to produce pieces of final product. Because the material’s condition at the time was not good, Laila began to use what is available in her home, developing the method of work that would provide a material income. She started participating in a family association and slowly began to buy the necessary tools used 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, overcoming many difficulties, the largest of which is marketing.

Impact of work

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 said: "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.”

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