photo: Niv Vaknin
My name is Yarden. It’s Hebrew for Jordan. I was born in 1986 on a kibbutz in Israel. However, my primary school years were spent in Sydney, as my family followed my mom’s career in Australia for several years. We moved back home in 1998.

Back in Israel, I pursued two humanities degrees, as well as a teaching diploma, at Tel Aviv University. After graduating from my BA and while doing my MA I taught high school History and Jewish Studies.

Taking a year off in 2015 after my MA, I served as a teaching assistant at a liberal arts college in upstate New York. There I took several arts courses. These inspired me to leave my teaching career and pursue more creative aspirations.

Upon my return to Israel, I started working at a printing house, learning to print works of art for our clients and to build picture frames for their projects. At the same time I was moonlighting as a handyman around Tel Aviv. It was in this capacity that I began doing carpentry work for clients. While doing so, I shared a creative space with designers and makers, which furthered my appreciation for Industrial Design and the process of design in general. From here on I spent most of my spare time creating objects of my own design for friends, family, and clients. I was even accepted into a year-long mentorship program for designers, even though I was the only participant who did not come from a formal design school.

That same year I met my wife Yuval, who was beginning her BA in Visual Communications at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. We decided to move together to Jerusalem, where I was accepted to work at Bezalel as a workshop manager in one of their campuses. With Yuval’s encouragement, I doubled down and enrolled in an MA program in Industrial Design at Bezalel. During this time I concentrated on defining my identity as a designer, namely focusing on researching the value of craftsmanship in the digital age. Coming from handywork, but also working in a digital space, I had become fascinated by the relationship between traditional and new, digital forms of craft.

For my MDes thesis I developed a technique to selectively glaze ceramic materials with a laser engraving machine. This process was interesting in and of itself, as the process of structuring a new type of craft led me to obtain meaningful insight into the manner of digital craftsmanship and its relation to more traditional crafts.

At this time Yuval and I are seeking to relocate. My aspiration is to continue working within the design space, as a maker, designer, or as a lecturer. However, I hold a wide skillset which I believe would make me an asset for other fields of industry. I maintain that I am an autodidact, and this has been my greatest strength as a designer, as an independent contractor, and as a dedicated worker for Bezalel Academy.

Besides design, I am an avid cook (in fact, I am my wife’s live-in, private vegan chef), a foodie, a weekend gamer, I collect vinyl records (which I reluctantly will have to leave behind in Israel), and I am especially fond of my pet cat Spinach.