It's not often I get emails from what used to be Persia and is now Iran. Five years I got one from Mastanah Shakibi who was enthusiastic about intarsia and asked me some woodwork questions. Emails have been flowing between Australia and Iran ever since.
Most of the woodworkers I deal with are mature gentlemen. Not all by any means but the majority. Guys getting around to doing all that stuff they never had time for when they were working.
Now my knowledge of the Farsi language is non existent so I'd just assumed that Mastanah was a male name.
After a few emails I got around to asking Mastanah to tell me a bit about himself and could he send me a photo. Which I duly received.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mastanah wasn't a guy after all. She had just graduated as a biologist from an Iranian university. There being very little work available she turned to her passion, woodwork.
I traveled through Iran way back in the late 60s and found it a fascinating country. Friendly people with a long history in arts and crafts. I had been presented with this hand beaten copper dish in Tehran and had completely forgotten who it represented.
Now I know it is a likeness of Abu Ali Sina, philosopher and doctor, who a thousand years ago, would have been a dead cert for Brain of Persia. Or Brain of the Then Known World.
Check out some of Mastanah's intarsia, scroll saw work, and pyrography at her gallery.