I met Hanna Assouline at the International Judaica and Jewelry Fair in Jerusalem
this past week. Accompanied by her 6-year daughter, Shirelle, Assouline’s
works stand out because they are made of a different material than is usually
seen. Assouline, newly arrived from Paris, France, just two years ago, is
an optician by profession. She works with plastic polymers, material she is
well-acquainted with from her days as an optician.
“I knew I would be
creative in some way – whether that would be by designing eyeglass frames
(and I have some interesting ideas for that) — or by creating artistically.
Then we made aliyah — and it was suddenly obvious to me that I would create
Judaica — but with a very Land of Israel feel to it.”
Inspired by the colors
of Eretz Yisrael, and by the Biblical verse “…land flowing with milk and
honey”, Assouline’s colors are that of flowing honey: golden hues with subtle
shadings to reflect the texture of dripping honey. The themes of her Judaica
pieces are based on the Jewish holidays, prayer, and the Land of Israel.
line of Judaica was Mezuzot – each one different incorporating the seven
species, or the Cohen’s jeweled breastplate, or the tallit [prayer shawl].
Her newer works are
of oil Hanukkiyot and kiddush cups. A former student of a well-known restoration
artist at the Louvre Museum, Assouline intends to create a full line of
Judaica and eventually incorporate other materials in her designs.
Interview by J. Isaacson