Interview by Galit Hatan / Jan 2010
|What I liked about jewelry designer Noa Sharon, apart from the necklaces, earrings and bracelets was the sharp shift between two fields and the ability to see an opportunity in an unpleasant situation.Noa started studying the art of silversmith two years ago. "At the time I was working in research at a Biotechnology start-up company which closed and that's how I got to a crafting course by the Ministry of Labor. One of the reasons I chose this field was because I wanted an occupation that combined both art and craft and allows you to work with your hands".
How do you make the transition from Biotechnology to Crafting? Am I wrong or are these two completely separated fields?
Overall these are two completely different disciplines although very much alike, practically speaking. Both require creativity in order to make progress and to develop. The biotech field requires integrating different areas and finding creative solutions for an ongoing research. I also find the element of study and research to be extremely appealing.
I guess you can say I have both in me, which might seem contradictive, but can also be inspiring and now I'm more into creating and designing, which have been an integral part of me since young age. I love art and design and was always drawn to it. People often ask me why I don't study fashion design.
Noa, turning 33 next February, was born and raised in Haifa. She's been living in Tel Aviv for the last 10 years.
How long does it get to reach a concept for a piece?
For me there's no specific pattern, for some I have a vision in mind, others are created through working with the material and go through changes during work. There is also a combination of both, and sometimes the vision I had in mind turns out to be completely different. In that way my jewels are like little creatures.
There isn’t always a complete collection, but as a designer it's important to be attentive to your clients, and produce a variety of options for the same line. For example, someone who doesn't wear rings could enjoy a bracelet or a brooch.
In crafting, how important is it to have the technical skills compared to being creative?
Having technical skills is very important because it enables you to reach higher with your designs. Having it handmade gives it an added value in a time where everything is a cheap import and being assembly lined. Today the world is going back to the "Arts and Crafts" method which is defined by fine handmade quality products, created by the designer himself.
Creativity, none the less, is essential when you come across difficulties during work and also helps you grow as an artist in terms of design and quality. Technique can be developed in time and in working with material. But creativity comes from the guts....
What is the most important quality for a craftsman?
Amm... patience, patience, patience...
Being a silversmith seems like a work that makes you spend a lot of time alone. Don't you miss interacting with other people?
It only seems so. I do interact with lots of people; with store owners and other designers, with clients; directly or through designer's markets, with suppliers and craftsmen and with colleagues. I also believe that it is essential in developing a creative mind.
What Israeli lines of jewellery do you like?
I am not familiar with enough Israeli designers and this line of work is very dynamic. I really like Amitay Kav, Yael Herman and Michele Sabag. I love Adi Lior who makes Parisian-chic handmade accessories, and some items of "Paula Bianko". In every category I love to see the work that's been put into the product. Works that make me stop and say "WOW".
Can you give an example outside of crafting?
Just one???!!! Books by Simone de Beauvoir, Dostoevsky and other classic Russian novelists, Statue of David (Michelangelo), anatomy drawings by Da Vinci, works of DADA movement (such as: Sophie Taubber, Max Ernst and Kurt Schwitters). The Fluxus group, Russian Avant-garde (Michael Globman), as well as early Miro and Picasso. Photography by Eugene Smith and Marc Riboud. "Coco" Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Bottega veneta and Yves Sant Lauren’s designs; Israeli poets such as Yona Wallach and Dahlia Ravikovitch, Allesi and Vitra's atelier, interior designs by Marcel Breuer and Le Corbusier, New Wave films by Fellini and De Sica, Film noir and Hitchcock. There are a lot more and I haven’t mentioned music… so I'll stop here.
Back to jewellery: which non-Israeli line of design do you like?
Again I would have to say that there isn't a particular line I like best. I put some favourite links on my ETSY website. In addition there are some on-line sites that present inspiring craftsmen that I love and of course all of LARK's books.
Which LARK book interests you most, artistically?
"500 Brooches" was the first one I saw that made me look at things in a different way, it allowed me to see beyond the boundaries of weight and figure and also made me realised you could and should stretch the limits of the material. LARK publishing has a wide range of books, which altogether make a collection of interesting unusual works that are a pure delight to explore.
How do you deal with the intense competition in this field?
Like you do in every field, where there's massive competition. Israel has many talented people in most areas, but in order to succeed you need to have that added value. Right now I try to put the emphasis on being a both classic and modern artist and on handmade and details and finish by using quality material, and on designing while respecting the material. I also believe that flexibility is a valuable quality when you want your art to get recognition.
What do you mean? How is flexibility expressed?
Actually, once you decide to create in order to sell, you need flexibility in dealing with store owners, with equipment and material suppliers, pricing and displaying your product, and making the product accessible to your clients, designing and manufacturing according to a deadline and so on.
What is the most interesting /weird comment that you got on your designs?
A client that bought the Hammered and Oxidized Sterling Silver Oriental Breastplate with a pair of earrings at the "room of your own" store at Mamilla boulevard in Jerusalem, mentioned that she works for the CIA in Africa. The salesperson that served her said that she was a beautiful Afro-Amerian lady. I'm proud she chose my designs.
What would be considered an achievement for you?
Many things. Little milestones that I challenge myself with, and try to improve by. I think that it is basically getting better and improving my technique and the way I design. Never stop learning and not taking anything for granted. I think that the biggest accomplishment for me would be to be able make a living by doing my art.