The 1955 Porsche pops out of the black background, exquisitely outlined with different shades defining the wheels, the body and the mirrors. It’s hard to believe Amal Salah made it using nothing but nails and a block of wood.
Salah, an architect, started constructing artwork with nails after quitting her job three years ago to take care of her newborn boy. Bored one day, she decided to create a three-dimensional image of her small family. After experimenting with different materials and methods, Salah settled on nails.
After receiving compliments from her friends and family who saw her first piece, Salah made several nail pieces to decorate her house. She then decided to launch a business, called “Shuffle Designs”.
Salah designs and makes her collections at home. Her three-year old son accompanies her on trips to buy tools and material. While she works, she gives him toy pins and a pin board so he can make his own nail-art pieces.
“He is like a little craftsman,” she said.
Among other things, Salah has put together a collection of pieces depicting characters from popular movies, such as “Fight Club”, “The Godfather”, and “El-Kit Kat”. Her latest collection, set to launch this month, features motivational phrases spelled out in Arabic calligraphy.
People also order custom portraits or special pictures to give them to friends and family, she said.
The pieces vary from monotonic dark grey nails to colourful ones and between different colours of wooden backgrounds that she paints herself.
Salah buys the nails and special wooden boards that can hold them. She cuts the boards, paints them then outlines her pieces.
“I love what I am doing,” she said.
To get exposure and sales, Salah shows her work in bookshops, such as El-
Kotob Khan in Maadi, and art galleries.
“Not all places sell equally,” she said. The clients who come to art galleries appreciate this kind of art and are willing to pay for it, but in other places, people sometimes do not want to pay for “a bunch of nails”, she said.