Meet the Artist: Elijah Silver of Ovnayim

Photo: Courtesy of Elijah Silver

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I have been making pottery on and off for over twenty years. In addition I do woodworking, linocuts, watercolor, and extensive doodling with my three year old.

What inspired you to become an artist?

My mother is an artist and I have been making art most of my life. Art creates something tangible and beautiful, tactile, visual, and meaningful out of the abstract energy of my spirit. And I love that.

What is your specialty?

Ceramics! I love making pottery, and I especially love making Judaica for ritual and home use.

How and where do you work?

I have a small pottery studio at my home in Ferndale, MI.

What is the most indispensable item in your studio?

Well, the only thing you need to have to make pottery is clay. But my favorite tools are my handmade stamps, my wheel, and my Skutt kiln (which feels like a family member sometimes).

Where do you take your inspiration? Are you pursuing any themes?

I take my inspiration from historical Jewish art, queer Jewish creators, and nature. I especially love winter-themed colors and textures, like light shining through snow, the green of winter conifers, and the broken blue glow of ice on the Detroit river.

Do you do bespoke work?

I have on occasion, for close friends and community members. I am always willing to hear a special request!

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a handful of (non-warping) mezuzot designs. I like natural and feminine/queer themes in my mezuzot and am hoping to come out with a line very soon!

What are your favourite items in your current collection?

I love making kiddush cups. They are simple and beautiful and become so personal over time.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

When I look at it or hold it and feel a line of warmth through my chest, and I can imagine it being a part of someone else’s life and ritual.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

When I first learned pottery many years ago I sold a set of custom mugs to a woman in my community in Northern California. I still think about them sometimes.

Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?

I love almost anything that’s made of clay. I especially love hand-building with Hebrew words and phrases. Hebrew is already such a beautiful written language, it elevates everything it touches.

What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?

I’d like to expand the range and style of Judaica in people’s homes, and add queer and transgender art to the Jewish world.

Where can we find your work?


Instagram: @Ovnayim

Photos: Courtesy of Elijah Silver

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