Tel-Hai Magazine - Fall 2020

Shortly after graduating, Noa suffered her breakdown, putting her glass working career on freeze for many years. Her "greenhouse" project, displayed in the "Studio of Your Own" framework brought her glasswork art back into the spotlight, and signaled a fruitful return to her interrupted career. The project uses three different techniques to recreate the elements of her childhood home's greenhouse, destroyed by a sudden hailstorm in the harsh winter of 1991. Utilizing the remnants of the destroyed greenhouse (dust, pots and glass shards) as both backdrop and artistic medium, Noa created a poignant memorial to the shattered dreams of childhood. The shards of glass hanging from the ceiling were web printed with glass powder. The words inscribed on the shards are taken from her breakdown (which occurred when Noa was working in a different greenhouse a decade later). This is where Noa introduced the sgraffito technique, utilizing it to paint the diagram of the destroyed greenhouse. This technique, which Noa studied in Pennland North Carolina, and which she wishes to introduce to Tel-Hai's students was also utilized by her in the creation of the multi-year project depicting the magnificent landscapes of the Syrian-African Rift. "I am open and more than willing to tell anyone about my experience," says Noa, who has "left the closet" and taken upon herself the task of normalizing public perception of mental health and illness. "But my breakdown is not what defines me, or my art, and is not what I am focused on now. That is in the past. It is prologue, but not the future" What Noa is focused on is being a change agent for two interwoven goals: providing glasswork artists with an artistic center in the North where they can professionally develop, keeping them in Israel and the Galilee Panhandle, and providing talented individuals who suffer from mental illness with both a place to recover through art as she has recovered and a living example that recovery is possible. That example, however, is not directed solely, or even primarily, for those recovering from mental illness. It is rather directed at "normative" society, whose perception of mental illness is characterized by fear and ignorance. "Really, dealing with the stigmas and preconceptions of normies can be harder and more exhausting than coping with the symptoms of the illness", says Noa.

And it doesn't have to be this way. "Tel-Hai gave me a chance to practice my art again. Tel-Hai gave me a home. The Hula Valley and Galilee Panhandle is home, and my latest eight-week trek across Israel have reminded me how much its human and natural landscape is a part of me. Just imagine how much Tel-Hai and the Galilee Panhandle could benefit if it became the home for all the talented individuals who lack the chance to develop professionally, recover personally and professionally from mental illness mishaps which plague so many people in Israel, and offer true acceptance to all of them."

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