Even in the desert, one can make a home. By handling the raw nature of this arid land with a humanistic approach, YOSTER creates jewellery that takes elements of its surroundings and incorporates them into lively designs. With the label’s history melted into its designs, each YOSTER piece tells a story of its origin. Schön! spoke to the label founder to get a better insight into the works it currently has in production and where it hopes to go in the future.
You grew up on the edge of a desert. How did that influence the creation and ethos of YOSTER?
Growing up in Be’er-Sheba, a peripheral city located at the edge of Israel’s desert, had a major influence on my art. The roughness, the textures, the colours and the shapes all come from there. The desert expresses space and freedom for me. Everything is open in the desert and for me, the physical structure casts on the consciousness. The freedom to create, the open mind and the space allow me to create another and my own independent work.
How did you first become interested in jewellery design?
When I was little, my mother’s closet was my playground. It always had surprises — boxes, jewellery, spoons… That’s how I started my famous spoon collection. A world of treasures. I could spend hours there, touching, absorbing, dressing. I think that’s where it all started — the excitement from materials and textures.
How does YOSTER help its clients form a bond with their jewellery?
Our lives are built from the existing and the beyond. I am a person who strongly believes in the beyond, our daily life is just the starting point. For me, jewellery is the beyond. When we make jewellery at YOSTER, that’s what we’re trying to achieve – The jewellery is created out of inspiration and energy, its texture has something very raw yet stays elegant along with an unusual design, so a kind of charm is created. This magic when worn makes a difference to the customer, bringing new energy and a bond is created.
You are connected to both Israel and Palestine. Talk about how this affects your work, and how your work can help “give voice to injustice and oppression”.
I’m an Israeli with Tunisian roots. I am located in Tel-Aviv, Jaffa, Israel. As you might know, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been alive since 1948 with the establishment of the state of Israel, and to this day, there is no actual border that defines Israel nor Palestine. I am a person who is connected to her Arabic roots and grew up in an orthodox Jewish family, and that positions me somewhere in between these two worlds — the Israeli and the Palestinian. From my standpoint, we are more similar than different. If people ask me where I am from, my answer is Israel/Palestine. It’s my dream for the future but also my way of taking a stand today.
From the political side, we live in a place that is democratic for the Jews and non-democratic for anyone else. Six years ago I met my partner for life and he is a Palestinian with an Israeli ID, which means I can see the discrimination on a daily basis. YOSTER is well aware and has a very clear statement of supporting and promoting work with Palestinian businesses. We are in a constant search for factories in the West Bank where we can produce the jewellery.
Anyone who follows me on Instagram hears my opinion on the news happening here in the country, and I am aware of how my opinions are seen as “radical” left in the Israeli context. I am willing to pay the price for speaking up, and yes, sometimes it means losing clients who disagree with my criticism of Israeli policy.
You’ve said that the label was “born from a belief that desirability and sustainability can exist in harmony.” Tell us more about your “Do No Harm” philosophy.
Our ethos is simply that we don’t want to produce products that harm the environment or the people in our supply chain. We keep a close connection to every piece that we produce; each product starts life in our Tel-Aviv studio and is designed by sculpting wax, by hand forming the solid metal or by digital file (3d printing). All of the jewellery that we produce is currently locally cast and hand finished in Tel-Aviv, either by our manufacturer or in our own studio. We keep in close contact with our manufacturer and visit every few weeks to pick up orders personally or discuss new designs.
The majority of our pieces are made using the lost wax casting method, one of the oldest known metal-forming techniques. We work with a highly skilled plater based in Tel-Aviv. Our boxes, packaging and printed material are made of recycled materials. Our packaging is as local as possible. We want to make positive, sustainable and accessible products. As we grow and evolve, our core values of transparency, ethical and sustainable practice is our solid rock.
Here is an example of a very exciting project we did — “Black Friday”. Two years ago, we did our Recycling Project: We posted a raffle on Instagram, and from that, five lottery winners sent us their old/broken silver for melting and we cast it into new YOSTER jewellery.
Introduce us to the works we see on display here. What inspired these pieces?
This story featuring pieces from our two different collections:
Meltself Collection: The collection focuses on the surreal form that occurs when you are totally letting go and start exploring beyond the melting point. It is about a mutation of what we know and the unknown, a merger of several odd forms, the ones you can find in nature that seemingly haven’t naturally grown from the repetitive building blocks of DNA. Through this collection the goal has been to explore how to use the concept of jewellery in different ways, tending towards the macabre.
Chain: With loops that enable a safety-zone and frames that bring to a focus, the CHAIN collection goes back to a primaeval mode of safety and simplicity. The collection is accompanied by a unique-raw texture — we call it ‘moon texture’, amorphous and sculptural that gives other value to the familiar chain jewellery.
When you’re in need of further inspiration, what do you do?
If I feel blocked, then, first of all, I need to relax and take a deep breath. Maybe meditation or yoga will help. But of course, I draw a lot of inspiration from different visuals — art, design, nature.
What are your plans for the future of YOSTER?
I want to grow and continue to work with more retailers around the world. I plan to come out with a new collection of jewellery that is not jewellery, and by that, I mean jewellery/objects that are not intended for the human body. In the near future, I plan to focus on the development of a collection with another artist who has developed a film technique that dissolves in water and becomes a layer of floating ink that can move anywhere, and we will create a jewellery and film collection, which is very interesting and exciting. The world is in a big crisis, and in our little kingdom, we strive to be a joyful and exciting factor, to innovate, surprise and spice up life in their transition.