Melissa Reid

Melissa Reid
Courtesy the artist


Melissa Reid is a jeweller based in Iqaluit, NU, whose artistic practice focuses on silver metalworking, incorporating elements like baleen, ivory and animal claws. She got her start metalworking as an apprentice with jeweller Dan Wade, and rented studio space from Aayuraa Studios’ Mathew Nuqingaq, where she created on her off days while working full-time for the government. 

Reid started making jewellery as an extension of her own experiences giving gifts throughout her childhood. “Growing up, I made handmade things...even handmade gift boxes for people's birthdays and Christmas presents,” she says. “I like the thought of putting yourself into something that you've worked on while thinking of someone else. I feel like it gives a piece more meaning.” [1] The jewellery she creates now is inspired by the works of Inuk Barbie, or Barbara Akoak—”she's just always been so unapologetic and fearless in what she does,” says Reid.

Following a recent trip to Ottawa, where she was able to purchase new jewellery tools and supplies like wire, Reid started to notice the way men labelled herself and other women with negative words and labels. From this experience was born a new series of wire word necklace charms: “I decided to make those words pretty and wearable but also removable,’ she says. “If I decide to wear that label, it'll be even on my own terms and not someone else's.”

In 2021, Reid quit her job to focus on her artwork fulltime, creating out of her home in Iqaluit. For her next project, she wants to start a line of self-defense jewellery for women, planning to incorporate animal parts as well as brass and copper into functional self-defense tools that can be worn as art.

This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.

Artist Work

About Melissa Reid



Artistic Community:

Iqaluit, NU

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.