I’m thrilled to announce that I’m teaming up with Liz Rueven, founder of Kosher Like Me for two fantastic Passover posts and one fabulous giveaway!!!
Kosher Like Me is a fabulous resource for food enthusiasts who are health-minded, kosher-leaning eaters who live locavore lifestyles. Liz’s weekly blog includes recipes, ingredient highlights, restaurant, book and product reviews. Relish.com recently named Liz among their top 5 Jewish bloggers to follow.
Today we’re featuring modern, stylish, handmade gifts from artist Barbara Shaw and next week, a charoset recipe roundup to end all other charoset roundups.
And here’s the best part…we’re giving away this gorgeous seder plate courtesy of Barbara Shaw Gifts valued at $100 to one lucky reader.
(See below for all the juicy details.)Barbara Shaw loves fusing the traditional with the contemporary in a fresh, creative and fun way. We’ve ben big fans of Barbara’s products for years, and we know you’ll love learning about her journey as much as we did.
Why and when did you start Barbara Shaw designs?
I came to Israel after having worked in corporate roles in Australia. I looked for work in retailing but couldn’t find any, and at the same time, I had friends who were visiting, and I looked for gifts for them but couldn’t find anything I wanted to buy. I was looking for stylish gifts that were Israeli, that were bold, fun and colorful as well as practical and well packaged, so I started producing a few products and selling at fairs. I worked with independent designers and had items sewn at a sheltered workshop.
Where are you from? What’s your background?
I come from Australia; my parents are both Holocaust survivors from Hungary and Poland. They had a printing business. I grew up in a traditional Zionist home and went to a Jewish school, Moriah College. I was involved in Jewish youth movements and came to Israel in 1973. I lived on Kibbutz and studied History of Art and Archaeology at the Hebrew University. I then studied art in Holland and in London. I later went back to Sydney and decided to do a Master of Commerce specializing in marketing.
Who or what inspires you?
I am constantly combing the world for inspiration. My original greatest inspiration is the Finnish company Markimekko, with their bold textiles, and the Australian artist Ken Done, who uses flashes of bold color. I love the clean lines of Scandinavian design and also the quirky British designers. The Hebrew alphabet is a source of great beauty that I want to showcase. I would like to present slices of Israeli and Jewish life that are bold and fun, have chutzpah and are not heavy and predictable. Every product I make must be connected to Israel or Judaism in some way. The physical landscape, flowers, birds inspire me.
I love typography and place an emphasis on this as well. I feel proud of my heritage and would like to showcase it. Every item has a use, is practical and is well packaged, and I aim at reasonable pricing levels. I aim to beautify the cycle of everyday living.
Where are Barbara Shaw products made?
We produce 85% of our products ethically in house. My screen-printer is next door; Pottery is screen-printed in the Tel Aviv area. I pride myself in producing locally and exporting. We buy fabrics, cut the fabrics, print by hand (next door), sew and package in house.
I’d love to hear about your journey—from where you first started the line until now. Did you start with just a few products? Did you envision in the beginning that you’d have three stores?
There have to be some benefits of age. I think I was quite timid to start; I was afraid of having employees and outsourced everything, which meant I was running around a lot. I did not imagine having a store. Originally I started before the Internet age, and after about eight years, I sold the business. We then went back to Australia for 18 months. I was working in high tech.
I decided to start again from scratch in 2008 at the age of 53. Naturally the world was a different place and I had gained computer skills and immediately built a website and soon opened my first store. I learned from my mistakes and decided to do everything in-house—not to waste time running around. I started attending international fairs—like the New York gift fair—and started focusing on export. I employed an in-house designer and after a while decided to open another store in Tel Aviv, and then last year another in the city of Raanana, which has a demographic similar to Jerusalem. My staff is very diverse from many different backgrounds, and I believe this is a strength. I have had thoughts about opening in NYC but am not sure I can make that leap at this stage of life.
Here’s the best part…
Enter to win a Barbara Shaw Seder plate valued at $100!!
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***Leave a comment at the end of this post. Tell us something new that you’ll introduce to your seder this year. It could be anything: new recipes, variations on a traditional recipe, table setting ideas, new readings or new guests! We want to know!***
Contest ends April 10, 9PM EST. We’ll announce the winner on our Facebook pages on Monday, April 11, 2016.
Eligible for U.S. and Canada residents only.
Julie and Liz