Photography: Shai Boukris
My name is Iris. Thanks to my parents who gave me my name I love making gifts.
It seems that throughout my life, the stories and images that I have discovered about my name — such as the flowering Iris, the circular receptive of the eye and the Greek goddess of the rainbow and messenger — have influenced, consciously or unconsciously, the choices that I have made in my life, including the passion for nurturing people through gifting.
I make gifts for loved ones and friends, family and neighbors, my children’s teachers and the parents of my friends, for people I know or strangers I met by chance, for those who pay me for my services and for those who do not, and for others with whom I exchange gifts.
Gifts are what I do best – not just gifts that come in a box tied with a bow, but also other things of our day to day lives, that make one feels like a desire to give something back to the world.
The gifts I make are related to the realm of memories. After having tried to explore some of my own personal memories, I became passionate about creating memories for others by designing memorable events and artifacts. To create a memory, I start by crafting a gift that comes into existence only in that very moment of discovery and revelation of the intended person who will receive it. That moment has deep significance and so does the gift created in the image of the person and realized via the act of giving.
The realm of literature is another source of inspiration for the creative process – there is a connection between the gifts and quotes taken from literary work, a connection that may be expressed in a single sentence, a word or even in the individual letters that form a word.
The American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said “The only true gift is a portion of
yourself”, and from my perspective, “The only true gift is a portion of two” – in part the
self of the giver and in part, the self of the recipient. When a personal exchange exists in the gift, one gets a sense of the two people involved. Their meeting place creates a unique and moving experience not only for the recipient but for the giver as well.
I’m fascinated to explore the intersecting paths that people take in approaching the same individual, act or theme through a joint process of creation. I’m intrigued at how we are interconnected – sometimes without even knowing each other – just by looking at a person’s life story or looking at a shared interest.
The gifts are composed of materials and texts woven together. They are as diverse in their forms and expression, as are the people who receive them and the people who give them. They may be gifted on a meaningful date, birthday, anniversary, or any other special day, even a day of remembrance for one who has passed away.
The process of making each gift is different in the manner of researching, planning and
using the very materials from which love is made, the same materials that brought the gift into being. The gifts made in collaboration are personal and succeed in telling the recipient new things about him\herself and remind them of things they had forgotten long ago.
This is the actual gift.