Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Genuine Creative Jewelry - Interview With a Professional Goldsmith in Israel

Welcoming Olim had the privilege of interviewing Lawrence Menachemson of Liors Fusion. Lawrence is a professional jeweler - and his work is stunning!

Welcoming Olim: Hi Lawrence! We've seen a little of your beautiful work! Can you share with us how you decided to become a jeweler?

Lawrence: I always wanted to be in the field of something creative. When I was still at school I had a friend who was studying jewelry design and manufacture. He would come and show the family what he was making. His father had passed away, and my father took it upon himself to put him through school. As a result of this, he was always coming over showing us his work.

Aside from this, I also come from a family where my father and grandfather were always making things and loved working with their hands. With all this, I made my decision to make jewelery.

Welcoming Olim: Thank you for sharing. That is very moving. Can you share a little of your training in the field?

Lawrence: I spent three years studying at technical college followed by doing my apprenticeship with three different companies over the next four years. This resulted in seven years total of study, after which I qualified as a goldsmith (a trade certificate.)

I'm not sure where my inspiration comes from, but I can say that nothing pleases me more than to take what G-d has supplied us as a natural resource and make something beautiful for someone to wear. It gives me happiness to know that a little bit of me is carried around the world for everyone to see!

Welcoming Olim: What inspired you to make Aliyah?

Lawrence: I made Aliyah in 2009. I had never left the comforts of what was home - South Africa - and the first time I left SA was to come live in Israel. I had in fact never been here before, but felt like it was my duty to come live among my people. So I left my home to come home, even though all my family and friends where still in South Africa. 

From the day I landed I felt like this was home and I finally had come home. As an aside, my late great grandfather was Israeli.

It turns out six years later I'm still here even after many years of struggling and yes, I still do struggle. Israel is not an easy place to live. It's extremely expensive and every day there is a new challenge, whether it's financial or something else; for some reason I'm still here. There are days when I think I've had enough and want to just pack it all up and go back to my family where it is more comfortable and way easier to survive, but something keeps me here. Israel is a magical place filled with a sense of belonging ...

Welcoming Olim: Did you need to learn any specific Hebrew to help you succeed in your work here in Israel? Did you need to learn terms or language that one might not learn in a regular Ulpan?

Lawrence: Hebrew is another challenge for me! I have never been a language person and even though I did Ulpan I still did not grasp the language. Six years later, and I still don't really speak Hebrew. I worked at a company for my first four years here, and learned the basic work Hebrew for my industry; but luckily for me most of my customers speak almost fluent English. I've also found that most of Tel Aviv speaks English so I have managed to get though surviving here on what little Hebrew I know.

Welcoming Olim: You mentioned you are very careful about setting honest prices. Can you tell the reader something about the pricing process and what they are getting from you? What is your experience and talent etc.? Is there something special you have designed that received award or recognition?

Lawrence: I was brought up to be a gentleman! Honest and loyal! So I use this unique quality when it comes to working with my customers. I truly believe that what comes around goes around and therefore refuse to do any wrong with customers. My prices are always based on the difficulty of the job and how long it takes me to do the job. I might be a little more expensive than some but my customers soon realize it's not the gold weight they pay for, it's a little piece of my soul they get which includes the skill, the quality, the uniqueness... When I say unique I mean it! I was born with facial palsy. The left side of my face is paralyzed. I was born like this and there is no fixing it. It is what it is. So first-impressions-people are not exactly sure how to react to me, but after a few minutes they realize I am not only different on the outside but I wear my heart on my sleeve, and inside I am warm and fuzzy!

I have 20 years of work behind me working at the bench with my hands and my mind together as one.

Welcoming Olim: Can you tell us about the school or class you are starting?

Lawrence: I have trained many students before and what usually has taken others five years to enable a student to become a goldsmith I have succeeded in three years. I've had examiners turn around to my students and tell them they best come thank me as most could not teach as well as I have taught them. Most of my apprentices have gone on to open their own jewellery businesses.

Teaching is another skill that has been passed down from my family. My mother, cousins and aunties are teachers at schools - so yet another skill I was blessed with.

Even though I was brought into this world different, Hashem gave me something most people have to work hard to get - talent, compassion, ability to take nothing and make something so beautiful and creative that people are willing to actually spend their hard earned money on. This pleases me, as I know something I created will outlive so many of us and will get passed down from generation to generation.

Welcoming Olim: Thanks Lawrence. It's really wonderful to see how much you enjoy what you do. We wish you the best of success in Israel and hope your work schedule is always full with satisfied and paying clients!

Please visit Lawrence's website www.liorsfusion.com and FaceBook page

If jewelry design is of interest to you, Lawrence is accepting students! The course is once a week, from 5pm - 9pm. This is a basic course for three months. For more information, please check out the schools page.

This interview is courtesy of Chessed Ve'Emet - Torah Learning Online and Acts of Kindness. Welcoming Olim is a subsection of Chessed Ve'Emet's activities.

Below are some of the stunning samples of Lawrence's work:

1 comment:

  1. One of our friends of Chessed Ve'Emet posted a lovely comment on our FB page. Nedivah Devorah Rottenberg: "The jewelry is beautiful. Very substantial hand made and not machine produced, unique or limited editions cost more and are worth it."



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