A conversation with Edit Kaplan Friedberg, the textile designer behind Ksut.
You’re best described as a textile designer who fashions wildly original accessories from a huge assortment of fabrics and threads. What inspires you? From where do you derive your ideas and concepts? I live surrounded by nature [Edit lives on Moshav Karmei Yosef] and I derive a lot from the nature around me. We lived in Tel Aviv for many years, and I worked as a designer for different companies. But I don’t think I could this kind of individual work in a city, surrounded by buildings. I see the changes in nature, the plowed lines of the fields, the clouds in the sky, and that’s my inspiration.
If nature is your muse, then how do Israel’s two limited seasons of winter and summer affect your work? My seasons are marked by color, with spring and summer in brighter colors and winter in darker shades. And so, I tend to work according to those designations, like most Israeli designers, because we really have only two seasons here, hot and cold.
How do you begin each workday? I organize the life of the house, but I’m always engaged in my own creative process. I’m constantly holding something that I’m working on and I consistently jot down my ideas, schemes, and patterns. Then I take those lists and go to work.
Do you have a favorite collection or group of designs that you consider to be your most creative? I think that my current collection for the upcoming exhibition may be my wildest yet. I’ve gotten much braver, making things that are less in the mainstream and that’s where I want to go. I want to make the things I love, and not be fearful about how the audience will react. I’m not losing hope that I will find my audience, that they’ll want to walk around with something that’s not mass production and that’s made with someone’s hands, with my story behind it.
Explain the meaning of Ksut, the name of your design company. When I decided to work for myself, I searched for a word that would be very Hebrew and Israeli, not American, not in English. I wanted something that would define my creations, and I found the word ksut in the bible. The meaning in the Torah of ksut is a kisui, a covering, the clothing that one wears. And that’s what I do; I create designs to cover the body, but I also make coverings for chairs or a wall or a window.
What’s the best part about what your work? I’m so thankful that I can do this work and that I can be a creator, a designer working for myself. It’s not always so simple to engage in this kind of creative work and earn something from your creations, enough to pay the bills. It would be nearly impossible for me to give it up, so I’m very thankful that I’ve been successful enough to keep doing it.
Where did you learn your craft? I come from a family of textile merchants and skilled sewers. My grandparents had a notions store back in Argentina and that sense of design, the skills of sewing, was all passed down to me by my grandparents, by my mother and my aunt. There was a great sense of aesthetics in my childhood home, and I gained those skills in my genes. Even now, my mother helps me in everything I do, although my creations are so different than hers. I love the freaky stuff that I do, but it’s all about being involved in creativity.
Edit Kaplan Friedberg
Ksut at Karmei Yosef, in the Shefela
Member of AIDA, Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts
Recently exhibited at CraftBoston