How the UAE and Bidwa Artisans Inspired Creative Design House, Penelope and Parker

Creative design house, Penelope and Parker are making waves with their fusion of digital art, design and fashion. Offering an exclusive boutique of products and services to the world, using fashion as a vehicle for their art. Penelope gives us an insight into her inspirations and love of the UAE culture.
My love and inspiration in fractals began right here in Dubai, on the beautiful sandy shores of the Palm Jumeirah. Always fascinated by nature and science, I began researching naturally occurring fractals in palm trees and aloe vera. I am surrounded by these plants, and I was intrigued to know more about how they grew and how they formed the golden ratio. I became fascinated with the science behind beauty, and realised that humans are seemingly programmed to enjoy the geometric occurrence of fractals in nature, we can’t help but be drawn to them. It’s a scientific fact, and perhaps that’s what makes the palm tree so appealing.
 Photo by so very on Unsplash
I began to seek out other natural patterns in my local environment, and found them everywhere. In seashells, peacock feathers, the horns of an oryx, the wings of a falcon and the ripples of sand in the desert. I even studied the snowflakes in Ski Dubai! I wanted to include these patterns within my own artwork and so taught myself more about the work of mathematician Benoit Mandlebrot as well as the many tessellations and geometry used in Islamic art and the surrounding designs in the UAE.
The innovative attitudes of the UAE leadership have always inspired me to innovate, to push my boundaries and to seek out the latest technologies. I first came to the UAE in the 80s, where I spent much of my time in Sharjah watching the traditional hustle and bustle at the markets in stark contrast to the new developments from where I lived in Chicago Beach Village, now gone and better known as the Madinat Jumeirah, and my favourite beach pier remains beneath the restaurant Pier Chic. I have seen a lot of change and rapid progress since the building of HRH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid’s personal project, the “New Chicago Beach Hotel” - Burj al Arab, and I have always marvelled at the speed in which change can happen here, there is always something exciting happening. 
The building progress of the museum of the future, on Sheikh Zayed road inspired me to look at programming fractals into sculptures, due its unique shape - which reminded me of a seashell - and it’s intricate details - reminding me of fractal details. So I began to teach myself how to program fractals. I taught myself to programme infinite equations to create 3D renders based on them, which I could turn into sculptures and intricately detailed pieces of art.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to work with local artisans and the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council in Sharjah. Where Bidwa artisans and trainees used their beading crafts to create bags for Asprey, London. An amazing collaboration that has always inspired me to create a fusion of art and fashion. When developing my own products I wanted to focus on not only reflecting the details of the intricate fractal designs, but also not compromise on the quality of craft, or fuel any more unnecessary fast fashion. So I took time to seek out the best leather artisans and craftspeople for my products. From Italian shoemakers on Alserkal Avenue to leather artisans in Abbey Road, I am always seeking bespoke artisans who have perfected their craft.
bidwa workshop