Our Tribe // Meet Our Makers // Trine Ben Aish
In Conversation with Trine Ben Aish
The creator ELOEIL
“We live countryside in a small village, in an old house at the end of the road… We dream of moving closer to the sea”
You live and work in Israel, but are from Denmark - Could you tell us a bit more about where you grew up and where you live now?
I grew up in a suburb of Copenhagen and moved to Israel when I met my husband. We live countryside in a small village, in an old house at the end of the road. We dream of moving closer to the sea, but we will stick around for another couple of years because of the kids’ school.
And what is the story of ELOEIL - How did it all begin?
ELOEIL was my personal Instagram account name, where I kept in touch with family back home and showed some of my creative projects. I mean, it still is, but the business part began when I started selling my work online 5-6 years ago. It grew, slowly and organically, but it is still just a one-woman business from home. It was never really a conscious decision to open a business. I’ve always created and made arts and crafts, some periods more than others. We moved countryside when our boys were toddlers. I was at home and surrounded by nature, which is a huge source of inspiration for me, and as I started selling some of my work, it organically and slowly grew from there.
Does the name ELOEIL have any particular meaning?
I used to have a blog by that name, mainly for my family in Denmark, when the kids were little. ELOEIL is actually an acronym for “Et Lille OEjeblik”, and it translates from Danish to something like “a short moment, a glimpse of the eye”. And the blog was about capturing those quick, little moments with the children, but also to appreciate the simple beauty, in nature, in creating art in between a hectic life with three little toddlers. Creating and making was like meditation for me, a way to recharge. It still is essentially what ELOEIL is about, even as life seems to offer more quiet moments and time to myself today as the kids have grown older.
Could you tell us a bit about the process behind your work, and where you draw inspiration from?
When I started working with clay, I was hand-building and creating organic shapes. I was creating wall hangings and mobiles using objects found in nature, and the clay it was an extension of this, I’d create my own nature-inspired, organic objects to work with. Hand-building and pinch potting are still my favourite ways to work, but it’s also very slow and meditative, and it’s something I like to do when I need to clean my mind, and find inspiration. Even if ELOEIL is small, from a business perspective I also consider quantities, sizing, and general logistics as part of the creative process. It’s not something that comes naturally to me, but that’s not to say I don’t find that part of ELOEIL interesting. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of being more productive without losing the uniqueness of truly handmade products. The wheel-thrown tableware that is available in A New Tribe is an example of this. I collaborate with a friend who throws them according to my specs, then I bring them home to work with the still wet shapes, clean them up, hand-paint and glaze them.
I might try out different options in the future, like slip cast, but with this process I feel I’ve found a way to balance capacity with unique pieces, where not one piece is exactly the same.
“My days are flexible and fluid because that’s how they’re framed, both in terms of time and space”
Tell us a bit about your typical day?
Before Covid a normal day would start with me getting up to have 30-40 minutes before I woke the boys for school around 6:30am. They’d leave shortly after 7am, and I’d clear things up and get started with ELOEIL or whatever needs my attention. I work from home, the good thing being my studio is always right there when I have some time, the bad thing being that I get interrupted a lot by life and all the practicalities. I can’t go in to a studio space and close the door, as it’s open space and connected to our entrance and kitchen. So, my days are flexible and fluid because that’s how they’re framed, both in terms of time and space.
These past months with a pandemic and all the life changes that came along with it have been different. The kids have been home, sleeping in (teenagers!), and my days start early with plenty of time before they wake. I’ll make coffee and just sit in my vegetable garden. A garden I started as a project while being in lockdown and then continued to nurture as a consolation for not being able to go home and see my family in Denmark this summer. I start and end my day there. And in between those moments of garden chill my days unfold are solid chaos of ELOEIL, kids, work, family life and all the rest.
We’re living in slightly strange times with Covid-19, but what are your plans and hopes for the future?
The future feels a bit blurry, and I am longing for the day I can go see my family in Denmark again with my boys. This is the longest we’ve ever been away from Denmark and we miss it. Besides that, I’ve always had a problem looking far ahead, for good and for bad. Planning far ahead tends to stress me out, so we will see where ELOEIL is as we move ahead.