ISRAEL IS BRIMMING with young entrepreneurs. With a book on this very subject, Start-up Nation, the blurb begins: “How is it that Israel—a country of 7.1 million people, only sixty years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources—produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom.”
The book is mainly referring to high-tech companies and textile designer Tamar’s wouldn’t exactly be classified as a start-up. However, the point is, Tamar shares the same talent: innovation.
This is a girl who developed the FAPA material - a new surface made from a combination of fabric and paper, designed for the manufacturing of lampshades.
In 2011, as part of the Promise design project, her textile art was exhibited in Salone De Mobile Milan and Designers Days in Paris.
Slanted Mansion had the pleasure of meeting the cheerful and warm multicolour textile designer, who amazingly incorporates printing, hand painting, embroidery, sewing, burning and collage all in a single piece. Tamar’s distinctive design led to her first collection of scarves in a museum selling out instantly. They continue to sell in museum shops and high-end stores around the world, in addition to her line of scarves and lampshades, tights, jewellery and t-shirts, which are manufactured in Israel for the fashion and upholstery industry and can be seen on her website.
In Tamar’s studio, everywhere you look there are curious sculptures, paintings and pieces of colourful and vibrant silk pieces. Her white tank top and Levi flared jeans are the backdrop to playful splashes of colour on her silk scarf wrapped loosely around her neck.
In May this year, Tamar revealed her latest collection of scarves Flowered Journey, (continuing on from Stained Journey). While there is enthusiasm and passion for the subject, she explains that the scarves are time-consuming to create.
Tamar takes us to her production room where she dons her white lab coat to mix a potent blend of chemicals. As Tamar looks contently into the swirls moving in her electric mix-master, before they start to eat in the fabrics, she explains,
“When you work for yourself, it’s tempting to be lost in this freedom. So I make sure I don’t waste any time.” Once the liquids are mixed and her designs are complete, they are then sent to be digitally printed. A method that allows continual experimentation with various materials and techniques.
I ask where her inspiration for her prints comes from. “The Stained Journey collection in particular was based on 40 of my paintings inspired by studying in Stockholm, travel to Paris and visiting family in San Francisco.”
“It’s like buying a print; with five pieces per run, they’re very limited edition. There’s little chance of walking past someone with the same one.”
Another of Tamar’s quirks is her collection of cookbooks from the 40s. She turned one recipe (Lemon Sponge Pudding) into two separate print designs. In the first, she erased all actions and amounts, leaving only the ingredients. The actions and amounts can be found in another print design.
Tamar graduated from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in 2009. This wasn’t her first choice of college. Her first choice was fashion design. However, Tamar explains that when a door closes in her life, a window opens.Tamar, the wearer of many hats, also now teaches textile design twice a week at The Guild; a school for shoes and accessories design, “I was a terrible student. But somehow, over the years, I have become very patient. I love teaching and I’ll never stop – regardless of commercial success.”
An inspirational teacher can determine a student’s choice of university courses and have a direct impact on their careers. Tamar has been successfully showing her students how to put together a portfolio that gets them accepted into the top design schools. In a slightly cruel twist of fate, the schools she was rejected from.
Unfortunately, some people’s view of Israel is one-dimensional. “They think we live in tents and are always fighting.” This is somewhat true for about two years of their life, when all Israeli citizens are conscripted. However, Tamar says, people should visit to see that there is much more to the young nation and Tel Aviv, in particular. And Slanted Mansion agrees. With a burgeoning creative scene, it really is an exciting time to be here as a young creative and as a visitor.
Writer: Emily Frost
Edited by: Angharad Jones