If the crown jewels could be reinterpreted into shapes of glass, Nirit Dekel’s jewelry could be used in a royal ordination. Nirit is one of Israel’s jewelry artisan superstars. We were first introduced in 2009 at Loot, The Museum of Art and Design’s jewelry fair. I had just been through a very difficult time in my life and Nirit gifted me a crystal ice necklace that automatically lifted my spirits. Aside from the great kindness she displayed, I noticed her flawless craft. Since then we have participated in many jewelry fairs courtesy of my Mama Donna, Donna Schneier.
In the year 2000, Nirit visited Dale Chihuly’s exhibition at David’s tower in Jerusalem. Leaving the arena of Israel’s high-tech world, she was struck by the enormous glass works. “It was like an alarm clock waking me back to life. I was drawn as a magnet to the glass material and immediately fell in love with it.” She is fascinated by glass in its ability to be shaped and rearranged from everyday life to delicate pieces of artistic expression.
Nirit Dekel expresses a refreshing outlook of her glass beads jewelry with whimsical, mysterious, outrageous, delicate, and colorful works. Using the traditional method of lamp working of Italian Moreti glass, she spins her genius into creations that are one-of-a-kind pieces.
Nirit explains, “I defined myself as both an artist and an artisan, and as such my point of view shifts and transforms. I work with my hands, manipulating the material by crafting trial and error. On the one hand, I create objects that have functions, wearable pieces. On the other hand, I view every piece as a message-carrier, a way to transmit my thoughts and ideas to the world.”
In keeping with my mission in The House of Faith N Fashion, I’m drawn to the Torah connection of these magnificent glass jewelry pieces. The realization came from another quote from a recent interview with FROOTS Gallery.
Nirit answers a question about her artistic process that contains interesting biblical hints: “For me, the material is the origin of creation. I find myself drawn to the glass, and the entire creative process evolves from there, till the creation of a complete piece of jewelry. I find that every glass bead is only important in relation to the finished piece; it does not carry any significance on its own, but receives new meaning as part of whole.”
In Kabbalah, we explore the act of “the shattering of the vessels” (imagined as glass) containing Hashem’s infinite light and how this teaches us to redesign our thought processes in order to address what lies ahead of us.
Before the creation of the lower worlds could proceed, as depicted in Bereishis (Genesis), the prospect that the lower worlds would receive Divine light opposed the other goal of Creation. That other goal was man/woman retaining his or her free will. As the Ari explains (Eitz Chaim 8:6), if G-d’s infinite light is always with us, man would not have free will. G-d therefore conceals His light, and in doing so allowed man to choose freely between good and evil. Therefore, the original glass vessels had to be shattered for the light was too much to bear.
From the shattering, forms of shards were thrown into Creation and formed k’lipot (forces of evil). The existence of these k’lipot creates a balance of good and evil in Creation, enabling man to have free choice in his life, allowing the ten sefirot of Hashem’s presence to act side by side with the k’lipot.
I realize that this a deep thought process to connect to a mere necklace, but Nirit’s work has enormous depth.
Sometimes her pieces appear as my imagined image of Hashem’s vessels of light. Sometimes her pieces appear as my imagined image of k’lipot shards hanging delicately from your neck. The greatest compliment to a true artist is that his/her work evokes deep thought. Nirit’s jewelry is a slew of Kabbalistic thoughts put together into one great necklace!
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Tobi Rubinstein is a retired fashion and marketing executive of 35 years who currently produces runway and lifestyle events for NYFW, specializing in Israel’s leading artists and designers. She is the founder of The House of Faith N Fashion, fusing culture and Torah. Tobi was a fashion collaboration and guest expert for ABC, Geraldo Rivera, Huffington Post, Lifetime, NBC, Bravo, and Arise. She hosted her own radio and reality TV series. Tobi is a mother, wife, dog owner, and shoe lover.