My name is Elisheva Manekin, and I’m the industrial designer and maker behind Loop Design Studio. I live in a tiny village in the south of Israel with my husband and our two young children.
Growing up, my family moved a lot. In fact, we never lived in the same house for more than two years. Throughout all of our moves, my mother really wanted us to have a sense of home, so she would bring all our things with us — no matter how heavy or how unimportant — to help us feel comfortable wherever we landed. This is where my love for and connection to objects began. I went on to study industrial design at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, which was a natural step for me. After working as a handbag designer for a large company in Israel, I decided to open my own studio and go back to my first love: housewares.
I find a lot of inspiration in nature. I live in a very rural area that’s best known for its vineyards, and I’m lucky to have the most amazing views right outside my window. I divide my time between working in my kitchen and at my neighbors’ workshop, where I rent out space. It’s really empowering to be able to transform raw materials into something beautiful and useful. My work life now is such a contrast to my time in design school. Back then, I was really afraid of all the heavy machinery; I would even choose projects according to that fear. I think they should teach woodworking in school — to boys and especially to girls.
Since I have two small kids (ages 4 and 6), I do most of my product development in my head. I have so little time that I often find myself “sketching” in my mind while driving or cooking. Once I’ve got a shape in mind, I’ll make a couple of actual sketches and quickly move on to working with materials. It’s really important to me that my designs make sense and flow with — not against — whatever material I’m using.
Etsy really opened my eyes to the possibility of having a handmade business that was still focused on minimal, modern design. In the beginning, I had a very different idea of what “craft” and being a “maker” was all about; seeing so many talented designers here has challenged those notions completely. Now, thanks to my shop, pieces of wood and felt that I molded with my hands are being enjoyed in homes around the world — there is nothing more exciting for me than that. My future goals for Loop Design Studio are to continue expanding my line and establish myself as a known brand for people who love functional, minimal design.
All photographs by Aya Wind.