By Hajer AlAlwan
Meet the minds behind Millefiori Gallery.
A family business of four women, driven by pure talent and passion for art, Hala Al Khudairy and her two daughters Zainab and Nouf divide their time to manage the gallery. Having full-time careers has not stopped the Khudairy women and their interior designer cousin Dhuha from doing what they love.
The Story Behind the Name
The name is inspired by the popular Italian glasswork technique which means (mille) million and (fiori) flowers.
The Gallery’s Beginning
“We saw art all around us as children,” said Zainab. “My first time noticing my mom making art was when she painted Mickey and Minnie on a canvas for me. I was truly delighted.”
Their mother was one of the founders of a self-directed art group in Saudi Aramco. After retirement, she decided to take things to the next level and start their own gallery. Nouf makes jewelry, glass paintings and funky glass musical instruments as pendants; Zainab paints glass cups and ceramic; Hala paints eggs and makes glass rugs; while Dhuha paints Iraqi culture-inspired pieces on canvas.
When It Began
Nouf: It all started with my love of music. I first started playing the piano when I was 11. In college my friends and I formed a music band and I made a glasswork guitar for each one of them as a gift.
Zainab: The first memory I have of making art is when I was around 14. It was Nouf’s birthday and I painted Disney characters on t-shirts and cards as a gift for all of the house members.
Source of Inspiration
Nouf: Music plays a huge part in my inspiration, but also the nature of my work as a pediatrician is very stressful, so working with fused glass and putting my heart into it gives me great relief. Sometimes we also make art for good causes, such as our last Pink Art campaign where we made pink pieces for Zahra Breast Cancer Association.
Favorite Type of Art
Zainab: The urge to make something comes to me in waves. Sometimes I’m in the mood to do silk painting, or I feel like doing glass or ceramic painting. Other times I’m not in the mood to make anything at all.
Nouf: I feel like people don’t appreciate the value of the originality in each piece. It’s difficult to make people understand that the pieces we make don’t just require effort, but also a lot of time, expensive tools and dedication.
“Precision is key when working with glass and ceramic.” – Zainab Al Khudairy