Monday, February 25, 2013

Mondrian Meets Paul Smith in the UAE

Gary and Lorraine head back to Zighy Bay in the UAE and make a surprising discovery.

This is our second visit to Zighy Bay, that very exclusive resort on the Indian Ocean.  Zighy Bay is a mountain-enclosed beach so nearly inaccessible by land that it's actually easier to hang glide than drive into it (and that is an option). 

So imagine our surprise on our second visit to find something even more unexpected - a budding - and undiscovered - artist.

Enjoying the laid-back zeitgeist at Zighy, we wandered into the resort gift shop one lazy afternoon (as you do), expecting the usual collection of kitsch and caftans. Instead, some of the most innovative and creative designs I have ever seen done in glass were on display in a quiet corner amongst the monogrammed beach towels. Haley Haddow, the artist responsible for these pieces, has done things you wouldn't believe possible with color, texture, and bold design.

It is important here to note that fused glass (essentially melting different types of glass together in a kiln), does not lend itself to the crisp geometrics that Haley has created.  Indeed, it is often the province of blobs and inchoate washes of color, since the melting behaviors of the various glasses are so hard to predict.  Haley has imposed a combination of discipline and freedom on the medium that enables her to create bold, colorful geometries that defy the term we would otherwise be tempted to apply to her pieces - pottery.  This is un-pottery.  This is Mondrian meets Paul Smith on a sushi plate.  Given her location in Fujeirah, facing the Indian Ocean and the east coast of the African continent, it's not surprising that you can also find Arab and African shapes and colors scattered across each of her one of a kind pieces.

We have not met Haley, but through the course of a few emails, we have learned that she is in the process of moving herself and her studio back to London, where she is originally from.  Her work deserves the larger audience she will find there, and we wish her the best.  Meanwhile, take a tour through her website and you'll see what I mean.

Photo Credit: Haley Haddow's Anatomy of Africa from 


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