The CraftArts Gallery in Raanana is a shining example of cooperation between seven women who joined together to market their handwork to the general public.
“We are all women who have had other careers and decided to open a shop where we could sell our hand-made art,” explains Noga Schlesinger, one of the artists whose work is on display in the store. “We all produce works of art in different fields and take turns minding the store. We’re very democratic”, she adds with a smile.
“Everyone contributes to maintaining the shop and the expenses are divided equally, but all the sales are separate, each artist gives her own receipts and the profit on the sold item is hers.”
The cooperative opened eight years ago and several of the founding members are still exhibiting there.
Clients who have come to love the shop know they can find a large variety of different handicrafts there.
Sarah Zack is a ceramic artist who makes dolls. A founding member of the group, she describes her dolls as ‘retro’ and they are made to sit on shelves or stand, fully clothed in perfectly sewn garments.
Monica Piniavski, another founder, works in glass, vitrage and fusing. She makes Tiffany-style lampshades, glass bowls and all kinds of Judaica.
Alexandra Shapiro has been exhibiting in the shop for five years. She makes beautiful jewelery from glass beads which she also makes herself.
Dora Halperin works in painted wood and produces plaques, clocks and all kinds of hanging things for children’s rooms.
Gili Zilka has a doctorate in chemistry and uses her expertise to produce wonderfully smelling soaps in all shapes and sizes, making authentic-looking cupcakes and macaroons out of her all-natural soaps.
Yael Or makes cute figures and sculptures from papier mache, producing fantasy birds and animals. Before taking up handwork she worked in special education.
Finally, Nora Schlesinger who explained the whole set-up to me works in painted ceramics and makes personalized plaques and jewelery.
“We are all good friends and help each other out”, she says.
The work in the shop is divided amicably. Nora does the marketing, Sarah the accounts and Dora arranges the work timetable.
“We are open all day from 9 in the morning to 7 in the evening”, says Noga, “and we change the person in charge at 2 pm.”
Many clients are from the Anglo community looking for original gifts to take abroad.
“Our clients are mostly women”, says Noga. “Sometimes a man comes in, looks around and says he’ll send his wife.”
Although not on the main road – the shop is situated on Bar-Ilan Street – many passers-by drop in, attracted by the window displays, and new customers are discovering the shop all the time.
“Our prices are reasonable too”, says Noga, “as there are no intermediaries.”
They can also make things to order for specific gifts or special occasions.
“Come in and see for yourselves”, they say.
CraftArts Gallery shop is located at 124 Ahuza Street, in Maccabi House, Raanana, tel: 09 742 1784.