LABA Fellow Yael Kanarek Works in Gold


LABA Fellow Yael Kanarek is a multidisciplinary artist. In addition to her fine art practice, she recently founded Aleph Foundry, a company that specializes in text-based jewelry. Yael has created a new collection based on her experiences with the LABA Theme of MOTHER. See the unveiling of the collection on May 21st at Mothers Without Boundaries at the 14th Street Y Theatet at 7:30pm. Yael gave us insight into the creation of the new collection and her process. 

Q: In one word, describe your work?

A: Gold

Q: What is your primary style of art?

A: In my general practice I work in different media, primarily with languages and time-based thought in jewelry. For LABA I focused on a collection of language jewelry called “Mother Tongue” for which I created a new Hebrew typeface I named Gufanit. The materials are yellow, pink and white golds.

Lemon, 2008 Rubber and loctite Approx. 50 x 50 in / 127 x 127 cm
Lemon, 2008
Rubber and loctite
Approx. 50 x 50 in / 127 x 127 cm

Q: Your creations are so full and complex, what influences you?

A: I’ve been thinking about the relationship between languages and creating sculptural wall pieces for several years, when I started thinking of how to bring language to the body – after all, it comes from the body. That’s how I arrived at making jewelry and started a company called Aleph Foundry.

The collection “Mother Tongue” is inspired by texts we studied from the Genesis, Zohar, Leah Goldberg, Ceila Dropnik and my grandmother in Hebrew, Yiddish and Aramaic.

Q: Describe your process for us. 

A: I usually don’t present on the stage but in a gallery or museum. This takes about 6-8 months to put on a new exhibition. During the first few months of the fellowship I focused on designing a new Hebrew typeface that I called Gufanit. It’s a play on the word Gufan, which means typeface in Hebrew. Gufanit also means physical. I was looking to integrate qualities that would resonate with both contemporary and traditional Hebrew readers.

Once the typeface was ready, I started looking for texts that would capture a range of women’s voices. Especially language that has a strong resonance with the feminine experience: family, desire for a child, life, love and spiritual mystery.

Q: What positive things are you able to take from being a LABA fellow?

A: I love the structure of a study group. Meeting and studying with other artists. Ruby, the resident teacher, is a passionate storyteller and his passion is infectious. The re-reading of passages about the mothers from Genesis, revealed the stories in new ways.

Q: Final Thoughts?

A: I just want to thank the LABA team and the 14th Street Y for this opportunity. It’s absolutely amazing.

See the collection “Mother Tongue” on May 21st at “Mothers Without Boundaries” at 7:30pm. Click Here for Tickets.

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