A Conversation with Shoham Arad
Shoham Arad‘s nautically inspired ceramics and vibrant dopp kits became instant staff favorites when they arrived in our shops. We caught up with the Israeli/Mexican designer, who is based in both New York and Maine, to talk shop and lobsters.
You studied ceramics, painting, printmaking, and video, and also have a degree in industrial design from RISD. How did you become drawn to such diverse disciplines and how do you think they inform your work today?
I am equally interested in living on a farm, and living in the middle, the heart of the city, and I don’t see these interests as necessarily being binary. Similarly, I have always been equally drawn towards function and concept, utility and esoterism, to poetry. I think when I started studying art, I kept feeling like I had to choose, but now I just do all of it and it’s all part of the same thing. I just made a bunch of wooden rainbow sculptures for an art exhibit and it felt just as great to make something without a function as picking up my Dopp Kits from Mr. Choi in Midtown and loving the action on the Italian zippers.
A buoy bowl in the making
Your buoy bowl takes its inspiration from fishermen’s tools. What was the idea behind it?
I get really excited by groups or cultures that are so specific that they’ve developed their own language. I learned about commercial fishermen and of course the culture around lobstermen when I moved up to Maine. There’s such a rich history around every aspect of fishing, and every movement, every tool, has been honed over generations of experience to exactly what it needs to be. Every fisherman knows exactly whose trap is whose based on the colors of the buoys that get passed down through families, and then float on the surface of the water, marking territories. I find the objects in those cultures to be so beautiful and inspiring, and I usually work backwards from their embedded meaning to create my own.
Tell us about your dopp kits, which are made from sailboat upholstery.
They are totally indestructible! I think that material is also so incredibly beautiful. I love how clearly industrial it is, that it is built for such a specific purpose, but it is also aesthetically so delicate, light, and light-filled. I mean, if it can withstand ocean passages, it should be able to schlep my stuff around the globe.
You split your time between New York and Maine. What are some of your favorite things to do and places to seek inspiration in each?
Well, I have to say now I mostly live in NYC and wish I lived in both. There’s so much to be inspired by in Maine and New York. My favorite things about mid-coast Maine:
1. Being on the water. It’s such a normal part of life up there. I got to be a (very minor) part of Tuesday night sailboat races in Rockland, and that was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. But really, just going and sitting on the water any day, any time, is one of the best things in life.
2. Fiddlehead foraging. Fiddleheads are remnants from the dinosaur era, and one of my favorite foods. They have an incredibly short season, and you have to go canoeing to find them, so the whole process is total magic.
A couple of things I love about NYC:
1. It sounds cheesy, but I love walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. I love the vantage point of seeing the cars and the skyline and the water, I love the materials. It always feels good. Same with the Highline.
2. I also love going out on like a Tuesday to an event that anywhere else would be a big deal, but in New York is just normal. For example, I went to a music thing the other night – and really had to make myself go because I was tired – but at some random location, in the middle of the week, it was a PARTY. It reminded me of the Andy Warhol quip about saying yes to every party you get invited to. Just go.
We understand Maine is the lobster capital of the world. Where can we find the best lobster?
My fave is Waterman’s Beach Lobster on Waterman Beach Road in South Thomaston. Seriously. Those ladies kill it. BYO and just sit a while.
Many thanks to Shoham! You can find her work in select store locations and in our web shop.This entry was posted on Friday, July 19th, 2013 at 5:29 pm and is filed under In Stock. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.comments closed +SHARE
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