Dana Arbib

New York, dana-arbib.com
Arbib spent 10 years designing textiles as founder of the fashion label A Peace Treaty, but took a detour during the pandemic when she met a glassblower from Venice who promised to show her his craft. Two years later, she debuted her first collection in a Tiwa Select show at Michael Bargo: Called Vetra Algo — which translates to “seaweed glass” — the oversized glass vessels and plates come in shapes inspired by the North African artifacts of Arbib’s Libyan heritage and in colors that reflect the Venetian lagoon. They’re often adorned with globules, discs, or snakelike lines, and they were one of our favorite collections of 2022. 

What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?

American design could mean anything and everything. It is an amalgamation of many different cultures and backgrounds being expressed. I am a part-Israeli, part-Libyan, part-Canadian, part-Italian, with parents living in the French Caribbean, and here I am practicing in the United States and producing in Venice, Italy. My gallerist, Alex Tieghi-Walker, is Welsh and Italian, and has lived all over the place, but explores craft in the USA. American design is an expressive exploration of cultures and viewpoints, anchored in the “now,” but in reality drawing from infinite worlds and backgrounds.

What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?

I’m excited to start making lights! Vases and vessels felt like a great introduction to my career in glass, and now I’m ready to make things a bit more complex. I’m going to be going back to Murano to practice developing these new works, and I’m also looking forward to my second solo show in Summer 2023.

What inspires or informs your work in general?

I try to create work that feels timeless and modern. Something you want to hold onto and pass down generationally. I am inspired by old masters in my craft and antique North African and Roman vessels, which speaks to my cultural heritage; the city of Venice, which speaks to where they are produced; and the aesthetic language by which my mother and father raised me, through their taste in art and design. Everything from the bespoke tailor in Rome, to an Egyptian relic, to designer Bauhaus pieces.

My first show in May was inspired by the Venetian lagoon and the forms and colors of the seaweed that grows beneath the surface. Right now I’m inspired by rooted forms that grow out of soil: gourds, vegetables, fruits, and seed pods.