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An Interview with Elana Noy: A New MAD Artist 



As an artist/designer, I created MALKA DINA to be a lifestyle brand. From tableware to jewelry to forthcoming furniture and textiles, MALKA DINA represents the overlap of art and design. In a world that likes to categorize objects, I try to create an overall lifestyle aesthetic where utility does not negate the stamp of "fine art". I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where I studied fiber arts. Though there was an emphasis on traditional textile techniques and soft sculpture, all forms of 3D making were encouraged, which is what led me to clay and metal. I quickly realized that my overall vision was interdisciplinary and sought to create environments where my aesthetic was evident in every aspect. I don't just want to make a cup - I also want to make the table and table cloth that the cup rests upon while still giving each enough attention and detail that they can be considered individual works of art when taken out of context.

I belong to two collective studios in Brooklyn, New York - one for my ceramics and one for my metal work. I love being able to work around other artists where we can bounce ideas off of each other. Most of my favorite art came out of groups and collectives such as the Bauhaus and the Memphis group. While it's a co-working space and not an actual art collective, getting to be around people with similar minds but different backgrounds is really inspiring and exciting. I like to believe that in years to come, I can look back at the bodies of work from this time and see the influence we had on each other. I'm also lucky enough to be able to bring my dog Jasper with me to both of my studios. He keeps me sane when the artist's block kicks in.
From metal smithing to hand made pottery, I almost solely utilize techniques that were invented hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. As I approach these mediums and means of production, I look for unexplored territory. This past summer, I traveled half way across the world to apprentice with one of the few artists who uses colored clay to produce what is called "nerikomi". Nerikomi is a traditional art form that uses colored clay to produce patterns and images. It was an idea I had come up with a few years ago but only recently found out it had a name and rich history. I have been tirelessly experimenting with this newly acquired technique and pushing it to new heights to create objects unlike anything that has been seen before.
American Made is the backbone of the DIY movement. It is both a mark of quality and integrity. Growing up, my father had a booming textile business where most of his products were designed and manufactured in New York City. I saw and felt the effect of the industry's move overseas, which ultimately put him out of business. As more and more products get made abroad, the quality diminishes and our economy suffers, as I have seen on a very micro level. As a maker, I hope to be able to help bring our industries back to American soil where we know that our products are being ethically and skillfully produced because we are doing it ourselves. From an artist's standpoint, I also believe that an integral part of the design process is in the sample making. Somewhere between the initial sketch and the final product, I allow my hands to make intuitive decisions. The element of spontaneity in the crafting process allows for the evolution of turning good ideas into great ones.

elana noy