interview by Mónica of NiuTallerAfter the long and cold winter we had, it is a breath of fresh air to introduce you to the work of this excellent artist. Her pieces are full of everything that Spring promises: color, flowers, joy and love and like a Springtime advertisement, her shop name: “TheJoyofColor,” says it all.
Hi Yael! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi Mónica. Thank you for that lovely introduction! I am a textile designer. I’ve been married for 26 years (and I hardly believe it myself!) and I have 2 wonderful grown up sons of whom I am very proud.
Back in the 80's, I had a studio for textile design and t-shirt manufacturing that I ran together with a friend. Here in Israel, the market is very small, so we had to close the studio and move instead to work in the industry. For 16 years, I worked as a sock designer for a big company. It was a wonderful job and I loved that I got to travel a lot.
Two years ago, though, I made the decision to get out of the mass production race and instead join the one-of-a-kind handmade art world.
I love reading books of all kinds (I’m really a book junkie), baking and cooking, and going to the cinema to see French and Spanish movies, especially romantic comedies. Traveling is my and my husband’s biggest passion and I hope that we will be able to take all of the trips that we dream of.
What inspired you to leave your work as a sock designer and pursue the handmade Etsy world instead?
In the last 2 years of my work at the company, I felt as if I needed a change. I didn’t feel so creative anymore and I was disappointed about where the industry was headed, namely toward cheap production in Pakistan and China. I was nearly 50 years old and I was getting tired of the business trips to the US and Europe. I felt the strong urge to experience new things and travel to new places and I wanted to explore the art world further.
It was a tough decision to leave my secure job. I had a nice salary and the routine was comfortable. It is very difficult to leap out into the unknown like that, but I’m glad that I did. My road to Etsy started when I made a decorative pot with flowers and some napkin rings to give as presents to family and friends. They were very pleased with them and they encouraged me to sell. A daughter of a friend of mine, Lirola, who also sells on Etsy, pushed me to try, so here I am.
Is there anything from your career in the textile industry that you can apply to your current work?
Yes, absolutely! I have a good eye for design and presentation and as a result I know how to build an attractive collection (this is a great help when making Treasuries, which I love so much). I am very familiar with several graphic programs, like Photoshop, and that helps a lot with the photos. Also, as I designer I was the front contact between the company and the customers and as a result, I have a good feel for what works in a presentation or working session. I have learned what details matter and so I try to give the most accurate detail of product, lead times, and anything else that is relevant to the buyer.
Your work is so fun and colorful. That has to reflect your personality!
I’m glad you think so. As far as color is concerned, I have always loved color. I think the first thing that naturally catches our eye is color, even before shape.
I grew up in a small town near the Mediterranean sea. All around was mix of strong light with the deep blue of the sea taken together with the orange groves all around. So, in a way my town created the colorful palette that I use.
Plus, I’m basically a simple person who loves simple things and I try to make this mentality pass through to my work. A simple, beautiful flower that can bring a smile to a face is enough for me.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, urban life and the films I see. I try to carry a camera with me whenever I go to the city of the park, and then I use the images that I capture in my paintings and drawings or I tap into them as inspiration for my color combinations and compositions.
What are you aspirations as an artist?
I love to work with cold clay because it is so easy and fun to paint, but I would also like to give more time to my watercolor drawings and acrylic paintings. When the time comes, I plan to add them to my Etsy shop as well.
In my country, Spain, it is difficult to make a living from a crafts profession. Is it the same in your country? If so, how do you achieve it? Do you have any tips or advice for success?
It is the same, perhaps even more difficult in Israel because we are a small country. Many of the artists and crafters who I know have other part time jobs. In my case, I also do design freelance work. Recently, I had some nice contracts involving prints for school bags, office chairs, cups and trays. Actually, it is nice to have this mix between design and my art. I enjoy it.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I just want to add that selling online is great. I am still amazed that my pieces cross oceans and spread around the world from Australia to California and Europe. I’m so happy when I get feedback from a buyer saying that they liked my items and it made them happy. That is such a good feeling. I have found Etsy to be a warm and welcoming community of artists who are willing to support and share ideas. For someone who works all day from home, that is a great support.
Thank you for a fascinating interview, Yael!
Visit Yael’s links: