"Interviews with the Masters of Metal Clay"-Hadar Jacobson
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I had lived 40 years in Israel, where I got married and had my 3 wonderful kids, 25, 16, and 12. I had a master's degree in western literature, worked many years as an editor and translator. Came to the US in 1997.
How long have you been teaching at your place - Textures?
8 years. At first I taught at art centers and colleges in Bay Area. Then I became too busy and now I am teaching almost only at my studio.
At first was it just for fun or to make money?
Metal fabrication was my hobby back in Israel. I discovered metal clay in a catalogue when I came here looking for a new supplier. Later it became my day job.
Please explain your way of offering classes.
My classes are ongoing. Students sign up for a series of 6 weeks and come once a week. Everyone is on a different level so they can join anytime and progress at their own pace. After the first few projects they start picking their own. Then they can sign up again. Some of my students have been coming to class for years, even since when I started teaching. People from out of state come here for a few days to a week and spend all their time in the studio. It's always about discovering new things, solving problems, and figuring things out.
How long did it take you to come up with your formulas for bronze and copper clay? Did you do this all in your studio?
I started experimenting with this about 5 years ago, off and on. The problem was not so much the formula as the firing. The activated carbon made it possible. Then it took a few months to figure out the right firing schedule. And yes, I did it in my kitchen.
What drives you to make art and working so energetically?
I believe everyone needs some cause in order to keep going. Life is tough, sometimes even miserable. No matter how important or unimportant your cause is, what you need is to survive. Someone very smart once said: "Art is the highest form of hope", and If I may add: "I like it when it works out.".
What made you decide to write these books and publish them yourself?
Back in Israel I workd at a distance learning university that was also a publishing house. We editors did everything from writing, editing, layout, graphics, proofreading and press checking. Writing the books was my way of combining my day job skills with my hobby. I enjoy both.
How can an artist keep on going, artistically speaking, even if their art doesn't sell at first?
It may sound stange, but in a way, having a day job and not being dependent on making money from your art gives you more freedom in expressing yourself. You don't have to compromise and think about pleasing other people, making what people would like to buy. You keep going because you have to, you need to create.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to teach someday?
Teach all you know and only what you know.
Copying, when is it O.K. and why does it matter so much?
Copying is a good way of learning. It enables concentrating on technical issues without trying to be original. Once you acquire the skills, you are then free to express yourself whenever you feel inspired. Also, techniques can bring a lot of new ideas.
How do you justify art full time? Do you make a living at it?
I make a living from the combination of my art, my teaching and my writing. I don't consider myself gifted or lucky enough to make a living just from my art.
Inspiration and ideas - how do you get them? Do you go looking or do they just hit you?
Both. And there can be long dry spells. Sometimes I find myself sitting at my studio just watching ants collide into each other on my table, hoping for an idea to hit me. And some time they all come at once. Discovering a new technique can open the door for great inspiration.
What's next Hadar?
I never know. But I sure hope there will be something to keep me going.
Thank you Hadar. You are a true inspiration.
Hadar Jacobson's new book is available here.
Mixed Media Bead Necklace