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Nadia Abu-Ghattas, silver designer
submitted by This Week In Palestine

Since childhood, Nadia Abu Ghattas, the famous silver designer who was born in Beit Jala, showed talent and interest in arts and crafts. She practiced embroidery, sewing, painting on silk, and weaving and attended several courses in the fields of handicrafts, manuscript restoration, design, and marketing. This talent has often materialised through special and distinctive pieces of art.

It was not until March 2005 that Nadia decided to focus her talents on silver designing. Her creativity and innovation were provoked after joining a silver-casting jewellery course at Al-Kahf Arts and Crafts workshop, which belongs to the International Center of Bethlehem (ICB). A few months later, she joined another course that focused on hand techniques. Continuous success made Nadia more attached to this new talent and more determined than ever to transform this interest in silver designing and production into a real career. Nadia is now one of the most famous silver designers and producers in the West Bank.

Nadia learned to cast original silver pieces that are duplicates of original olive leaves taken fresh from the tree at the ICB. In the Palestinian context, the olive leaf is a symbol for peace, rootedness, and belonging. Each silver piece is unique as there are no duplicates in nature.

From the beginning, Nadia has taken most of her inspiration from olive leaves and created many designs for pendants, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, brooches, key chains, and other types of accessories. She casts olive leaves and combines them with beads, semi-precious stones, and olive pits to make them fashionable and stylish.

Nature has always inspired Nadia to produce new designs. The oak leaf was the theme of her second collection.

The oak tree is an icon of life and wisdom. It secures food, narrates stories, represents longevity, symbolises beauty, signifies spirituality, and suggests sanctuary. The idea behind the creation of jewellery from silver-cast oak leaves is to praise this tree, which is mentioned several times in the Bible, as it glorifies the magnificent landscape of the Holy Land.

The silver pieces of the olive and oak leaves are unique; each one is different. The pieces are handcrafted from the heart, with special attention to the smallest detail from its conception to its completion. The leaves are picked and each leaf is delicately fixed onto a wax column and then coated in gypsum to produce a replica leaf mould. Melted silver is then carefully cast into the mould. During the cooling process, the gypsum hatches giving birth to a magnificent silver leaf, which is used to design distinctive pieces of jewellery.

The secret behind Nadia’s success is her awareness of the importance of marketing and public relations. She participates in many exhibitions locally and internationally. She is a member of the ICB and a permanent exhibitor at its al-Kahf Gift Shop; she has a link on the ICB website and participates in all its exhibitions. Her arts are also exhibited in the permanent exhibition at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Dar al-Balad Gift Shop, Beit Sahour.

Nadia has also participated in several exhibitions organised by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Moreover, she participated in the two exhibitions of national products that were organised by the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce in Palestine; the first was in Ramallah in August 2007, and the second in Nablus in August 2008.

During the spring of this year, Nadia was commissioned to design and create gifts for the special guests of the Palestine Investment Conference. She produced 1,000 pendants using the olive-leaf motif. Nadia and the organisers of the conference hope that the participants will wear the pendants near their hearts as a meaningful memento from Palestine.

Nadia is currently preparing a new collection that she will release this spring.

For more information, contact Nadia Abu Ghattas at +972-2-... or by e-mail at nadia_mittri@yahoo.com, or visit her website: www.vag-club.com/nadia_jewels/home.html.

This Week in Palestine
November 2008

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