Sweet dreams are made of this
Nahed Eid was a hyper kid until her father handed her some tools and introduced her to jewellery making.
She spent almost every spare moment beading earrings, head jewellery and necklaces; her masterpieces were given to loved ones or sold at street fairs in her home town, Beirut, Lebanon.
At 48, she's still passionate about creating jewellery. Her works are on display at Bermuda Society of Arts until January 6.
How'd you come up with your exhibit?
It's called the Kingdom of Dreams because whenever I came across an idea it was usually in the middle of the night. I'd wake up and think, ‘This piece needs to be designed this way'. I'd get up out of bed and get the sketches done. I find once the idea is there the execution is fairly easy, but if the idea isn't there then it takes a lot longer.
What inspires you as an artist?
Definitely colours. If I'm trying to create something that's blue I drive along North Shore and that's where I get inspired. I'm also inspired by watching the children I know. I love their innocence and naivety. I try to tap into that space of being a kid when I'm creating my art. I feel that's better than being pretentious about it. I try to see the beauty in everything, even the mistakes. I like when you can see the artwork and it still has the pencil drawings underneath. I don't like to cover those up. I like to see beyond the perfect piece. I find art to be like therapy. I can be absorbed in my own world for hours and hours and it's calming. Some people do breathing exercises or yoga, I choose art. It teaches me a lot.
How did you get started?
My earliest memory with art was when I was a girl. I was very hyper and my dad gave me some tools to make jewellery just to keep me busy. That's how it all started. He had a hardware shop back in Lebanon that carried these huge generators and tiny tools as well that you could use to make jewellery with. I started making some small pieces of jewellery and decided to sell my work at street fairs back in Lebanon when I was 14. I don't know how it happened exactly, but I was the youngest vendor there and got a lot of attention. They had me pictured on one of the magazines. My mom still cherishes that. I sold a lot at that fair and after that my dad said, ‘This money is going to buy you some supplies. If you're interested in continuing with it, you should invest'. By that point I was making necklaces, head jewellery, earrings, everything really.
What did you enjoy about it most?
I think I was just fascinated with the beads. I still am to this day. I've collected all kinds of beads and semi-precious stones from my travels all over the world and even here in Bermuda. If I find anyone selling beads I buy them. I like everything — opaque beads to very thick ones. It's definitely a passion of mine.
Have you had lessons in jewellery making?
Yes. I went to an American university and studied fine art at age 22. I started taking jewellery classes in parallel to my art courses. That's probably why my jewellery is asymmetrical — it's more like collage art. Some of it is a bit chaotic. After art college, I settled in New York and started looking for a career. It was really tough. I couldn't find anything, so I started trying different things and even owned my own gift shop, selling my art and other people's art there. It was a tiny consignment shop. We sold all types of different products — from fine art to jewellery. I ended up moving to Bermuda with my husband five years ago.
What was it like growing up in Lebanon?
I loved it even though at the time when I grew up the country was going through civil war. I had my whole family around. As a child I loved the outdoors and spent most of my time at the beach. There wasn't much emphasis on watching TV. I feel like the best time in people's lives is their childhood and teenage years because you can go crazy and have fun. I loved that time. I lived in Beirut, in the city, and it's similar to Bermuda. It's very small and all the people know you. Whenever I would go to the jewellery shop to buy more pieces, someone would see me and pass on the word to my mom. She always knew where I had been. I miss Lebanon very much. I only visit every now and again.