INSIDE THE ARTIST’S STUDIO/ Sculptor Nohad Sabbagh
The first things you notice about Nohad Sabbagh are the warmth of her sparkling brown eyes, great smile and animated personality. When you first see her sculptures, you’re struck by an impressive body of work. But, when you really get to know her, you discover that this dynamo is, in fact, the Energizer Bunny, the White Tornado AND Wonder Woman – all rolled into one. She dabbles in photography, sews for her church, makes theater costuming, grows fruit trees on her property, creates custom food sculptures for special events, teaches cooking, sewing, ceramics, mold-making and sculpture. She is involved in a large number of charitable organizations. And, she builds puzzles – in her spare time.
It’s not surprising, then, to learn that the second-year Laguna Art-A-Fair Artist is both a ‘morning person’ and a ‘night owl’. She maintains studio space both inside and outside the sprawling Yorba Linda home she shares with husband Harold and son David – whose unwavering support provides the foundation of Nohad’s busy life and artistic success. According to Nohad, “All this would be nothing without family.”
Sculpting has been in her blood from an early age. Eighth-grade Nohad was awarded a scholarship to Pratt Institute during which time she learned carving techniques with soap and sculpting basics with aluminum foil. High-school Nohad learned fiberglass and latex mold making techniques on dinosaur bones at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. It was also during her high-school years that Nohad co-authored, “The Big Book of Fabulous Fun Filled Celebrations and Holiday Crafts”, an instructional book of life-sized functional sculpture projects.
And, speaking of bronzes, Nohad recently received an invitation from the Vatican expressing interest in her prized bronze bust of Pope John II. She and her sculpture will be presented to the Cardinals later this month.
“Nohad works in resin, bronze, clay, plaster and concrete. She also makes her own molds – a process that not all sculptors are qualified to do. Planning out her work involves several key decisions. Choice of material is usually based on available lead time and the conditions under which a piece will be used: how and where it will be viewed, whether is will be functional or decorative, ambient weather conditions (such as temperature, wind and humidity) and so forth. She employs a variety of sculpting and mold-making techniques and executes nearly all phases of sculpting herself. The one exception is bronzing – which must be done at a foundry. Nohad closely oversees the critical patina portion of the process with foundry personnel to ensure that the finished piece achieves the desired outcome.
“Nohad uses a small converted bathroom to prepare pieces for lost wax casting (the process used to making finished bronzework).”
In addition to demonstrating her process in Laguna Art-A-Fair booth space #A12, Nohad will also be teaching a summer workshop in sculpture every Tuesday throughout the 2016 season. Workshop students will have an opportunity to create small bowls (for non-edible uses), sculptures or figurines using a special air-dried clay which can then be finished with an application of oil or acrylic paint. Call the Laguna Art-A-Fair office at (949) 494-4514 for complete information and to reserve your workshop space.
Make sure to see Nohad Sabbagh in action and purchase some of her work during the 2016 Laguna Art-A-Fair season (open daily from June 24 through August 28)!
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