Karma Malhas is Unbounded

The Jordanian/ Palestinian designer writes a letter to her younger self

FASHION 10/11/2022
Karma Malhas

I stopped painting for seven years after being surrounded by extremely talented people. 

I stopped painting for seven years until I realised I am an extremely talented person. 

I stopped painting for seven years until I realised I am the only one stopping myself. 

When I decided to study Industrial design I stopped painting. I found a different path to take and completely forgot about my previous one. I started seeing beauty in all objects, I started seeing things I’ve never seen before. Growing awareness about how objects were constructed was a bewildering and beautiful experience for me. I was able to explore my artistic talents with construction in wood and metal. I assumed that was the only thing I could do now. But it was not. The process these materials took me on made me think logically and structurally in a way I haven’t tapped into before, and I was fully focused on that. 

It took a while, and here I am, still learning and discovering new techniques, from jewellery design to graphic design to even managerial skills. I also realised that  you are not bound to be set in one box, but instead you can create in all modalities even if you are not an expert at it. I’ve come to realise that it does not really matter if you have no previous knowledge – if you are willing and able to learn, you can do anything you put your mind to. The restrictions that I put on myself, namely rooted in the fear of failure, makes me lose spontaneity in my work and art. Experimentation is the life source of all creation. 

Sometimes technical work can make you forget about being spontaneous and experimental. However when you are able to integrate both that’s when the magic happens. When you do what you love to do and when you are genuine and authentic about your craft, you’re going to come to appreciate the, while difficult, rewarding path you’ve taken that lead you here.

I started painting again, but I am also running my own jewellery brand, and managing the design store and the branding of Shams El Balad (our restaurant and design store in Amman). I am not either, I am both and I can be both. Taking a step away from my day-to-day life, to reflect on everything I have achieved thus far helps me acknowledge all of my accomplishments and failures. I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing what else I’ll be creating and producing in the future, because if I’ve learnt anything, it’s that – you are limitless.

Portrait shot by: Shukri Lawrence

Images of work shot by: Aya Atoui

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