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Shuffle Designs: Nailed It!

It's pop art made entirely out of drilling nails into boards of wood - or even walls - and the results are iconic decorative pieces that give an edge to any home. We speak to Amal Saleh, the mastermind behind Shuffle…

Sometimes the most unconventional of things can be used to create incredible pieces of art. And this precisely is the case with Shuffle Designs, a local brand that creates seriously cool pieces using nails – like hammer and nail nails. Drilled into wood to form images, the nails are used to create everything from streamlined, simple silhouettes, to iconic images, to busy, personalised pieces.

The company was founded three years ago by Amal Saleh, an architect by trade. The entire concept came about as she was trying to find an innovative way to create a family portrait while she was on maternity leave. "I experimented with a few different materials at first, until I finally settled on nails," Saleh explains. After that, she started looking for a subject for her first collection. "I was just thinking of some of my favourite things, and Fight Club is one of them so I made a silhouette of it for my house…eventually I decided to do a collection inspired by movies."

The out-of-the-box aspect of the nails instantly gives familiar faces and images an edgy upgrade. It's Marlon Brando's infamous image created entirely out of nails drilled into wood boards and the 3D dimension of the pieces immediately makes a classic image more interesting. Saleh also customises pieces, transforming photos of people into cool, monochromatic renderings. Some of the final art pieces are more abstract while others are near perfect imitations; the nail spacing differs depending on the photo, from tightly packed to widely spaced out, some of the looser formations then linked with string.

Saleh does the majority of the work herself, hand-making each piece. "I had to go to naggareen and ask them what wood to use, how to paint it, which types of wood would be able to handle all these nails…" After getting the basics down, the artistic architect figured out a system to make the pieces, but it's still a lengthy process. "It can take up to a month to make a single piece if it's super detailed, like The Joker one for instance," Saleh tell us.

Regardless though, you end up with a unique, edgy piece. Shuffle's forthcoming collection will focus on Arabic calligraphy, but right now Saleh is working on installing a nail art piece directly onto a wall. "A client wanted a portion of his living room wall to have the artwork on it, instead of a board that he hangs up, so we're working on doing it straight onto the wall now – this is the first time we do this!"

You can check out their Facebook page here or follow them on Instagram @shuffle_designs.