|One On One Break | Mika Barr | Love Me Some Textile Breeze|
| I’ve been one of Mika Barr biggest fans since I first bumped into her graduation project back in 2009. And you know me, once I fall in love, it’s practically a love affair (exhibit a. exhibit b). Mika is one of these rare textile designers who know how to re-invent themselves time after time and each and every time the outcome is a textile piece of heaven! It was only a matter of time until I asked Mika to join me on my One On One Break. So… I’ll let Mika do the talking, you want to hear what she has to say… Lights. Camera. Action!|
|I’d love to hear about you, your journey, how it all began.|
|I’m 29 y/o, born and raised in Israel (Ra’anana, to be precise). As a child I was exposed to a lot of art and at about 15 I realized that it affected me…|
I Graduated my B.Design at the Shenkar College in 2009, later in mid 2010 moved to Milan, there I completed a post graduate course, that was followed by an internship at Material Connexion Milan (Milan’s material library). When I returned to Israel I started working independently.
|MikaBarr||Where do you live, what do you like about it and how does it affect your creations?|
|I live in Ramat-Gan. I loooove the fact that it’s near the park (Hayarkon). I like that it’s super close to Tel-Aviv and that I have action and quiet, subjected to my choice. However I’m not that sure if it affects my creation. Maybe it’s just a reflection of the fact that I like cities, with a healthy balance of nature here and there.||MikaBarr|
|What does a normal day in your life look like?|
|Well… I get up and from there it’s a mix of: COFFEE. food. studio. computer. screen-printing. errands. meetings. and at the end of it all I’m back home. You can mix the order and multiply some words but those are the common ingredients.||MikaBarr|
|What are the advantages/disadvantages of being an Israeli based designer?|
|Advantages… ummm let me think… As much as I like Israel, I think it’s hard to be an independent designer around here. Having said that, I do have to admit that there is now a growing awareness to the importance of local design. We are starting to receive some support from funds that recognize that|
young entrepreneurs and designers constitute a group by themselves, with specific needs and challenges. Other advantages are born of disadvantages – we don’t have any large scale manufacturers here, so we find our own resourceful, economic ways of self production. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
|What makes you different from other Israeli designers?|
|I see my working with 3D soft surfaces as an aspect that individualizes me from other designers, not just Israeli. It also unifies me with others, because it’s a “hot” field of design these days.|
|Can you describe your work process for me?|
|It usually starts from an idea of trying something new in terms of material or pattern or a combination of the two. Then I start experimenting, and from there it takes on a life of its own…||MikaBarr|
|As a textile designer, you often collaborate with other designers. What is it like and what do you look for in collaboration?|
|First of all, we need to have a good starting point in terms of communication. We need to respect each others point of view. I prefer to collaborate with designers that have skills or design characteristics different from mine, I think that’s what makes a good collaboration and can lead to great outcomes. Plus, it’s fun (!!!)||MikaBarr|
|Is there anything in particular that fuels your creativity as a designer?|
|For me it’s all about nature and it’s flowers and plants.|
Also a good magazine can be a creativity booster.
|Which place in the world most inspires you and why?|
|The Milan design scene is definitely an inspiration, but I like to go every once in a while to Gan HaSlaim (Rock Garden), One of the special gardens in Ganei Yehoshua (Park Hayarkon). I find that there is something magical in that hidden garden.||MikaBarr|
|Could you share with us your progression as a designer, compared to when you first started out, how have you changed since then?|
|I have grown as a person as well as a designer since I graduated.|
As an independent person, I learned that you have to also know how to explain and market yourself. My design process has become more focused and “down to earth”. Even if I am making a piece for an exhibition, I still try to be as efficient as I can.
|Are there any up and coming designers you admire?|
|I really like Patricia Urquiola but she’s not that up and coming… She practically rules Milan. I also like Cristian Zuzunaga, a great graphic/visual designer with a distinguished language. And I also like Raw Edges, they are wonderful!||MikaBarr|
|What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?|
|That patience is the mother of all virtues.||MikaBarr|
|What do you find most rewarding about your career?|
|That I create my day, everyday. Also, when I get good feedback from a customer on one of my products – that’s a really incredible feeling.||MikaBarr|
|At the age of 20, what did you think you were going to do “as a grown up” – where do you see yourself in the future? Has your dream come true already?|
|I’m definitely living my dream everyday. Of course I don’t feel that I’m “there” yet, but it’s really great working everyday in order to “make it”. Who knows, maybe it will always feel like I’m not “there” yet… that’s why I appreciate what I do each and every day and try to enjoy (or at least appreciate) the difficult parts as well.|
The funny thing is that at age 20 (after the mandatory military service), I had a short period in which I thought to approach design as a hobby and to go study advertisement …
I’m so happy I didn’t!
|And finally, please share with us something nobody knows about you.|
|Well, some people do know that but it’s time to share it with the rest of the world – I have strong groupie tendencies and I absolutely adore Berry Sakharof (!!!)||MikaBarr|