Artist Orit Grader is inspired by nature. The trees. The leaves. The flowers. An Israeli artist who works with metals, mostly hand-colored with patinas and paints, capture the rich interplay between the colors and shapes of nature.
“Each piece is a glimpse into my inner world, my inspiration,” Grader tells Two Warm Challahs.
Grader studied biology and chemistry in college, but she never felt a drive to work in her field. She says her “heart was somewhere else.”
While spending some time in the States, she started taking art classes. After completing a jewelry making course at Pasadena City College, Grader started her first business: Jewelry made of synthetic clay.
“I did well selling my jewelry. It was amorphic, organic and colorful – very colorful,” says Grader.
One day, a friend asked her if she could create a mezuzah case. Grader made one piece and then another friend asked for the same one. And then another and another. Eventually, she started a line of Judaica. That was six years ago.
Today, Grader is known for her deep copper pieces with turquoise patina, reminiscent of the shades of green that naturally occur when metal oxidizes – only brighter and more defined. Grader’s artwork appears delicate and fragile. But as a metal, it is strong and long-lasting. This, says Grader, is a metaphor for the Jewish people.
“Our nation is always under attack. The people that come to kill us, they see us as a weak nation, as a people that have nowhere to go,” says Grader. “But we are a very strong people. We survive.”
She continues, “My art has a fragile look, but it is really very sturdy. That is what I want for my people. We will have to work hard, but we are strong and we will make it.”
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