Nurit Niskala chose to devote herself to art shortly after experiencing clinical death 29 years ago when she gave birth to her daughter Meital. Birth complications led her to lose “buckets” of blood and go into shock.
“I was in critical condition. … I experienced the light, everything they talk about,” Niskala said during an interview at her new Manchester studio and store on South Willow Street.
This near-death experience served as a wakeup call.
“I was an artist, creating at the time, but I was also working full-time as a bank manager. … I needed to support the family, and I have two daughters. I didn’t have the courage to leave everything. But when I woke, I understood what I needed to do,” Niskala said. “It changed my life: it’s when I decided that I’m going to do what I love,” she said.
Her latest venture is the new store and studio space. It’s brighter and more accessible than the studio she had in the old Mill Building on Commercial Street for two years, she said, and clients and customers are especially happy about the plethora of parking out front. She celebrates this new space with a grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I love the light here. The location is great, and the people here in the building are great,” she said.
At this opening, the first 30 shoppers will receive free, in-store gifts, and Salon M Studios (which is right next door) is offering goodie bags for the first 50 guests. There will also be free essential oil seminars at Exhale Spa Therapy and raffle items donated by a number of local businesses. Ten percent of the day’s sales and 100 percent of the raffle profits will go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Greater Manchester.
Niskala has been creating and selling jewelry for 30 years, nine of which were spent in Manchester, but she’s been an artist for even longer.
Her father and grandfather were both filigree wire-wrapping artists, and today, she is too. She just puts a modern-day, original twist to this traditional art.
Decorating the studio space are pieces of her distinct, chunky, wire-wrapped jewelry and, on the far side, an entire wall of beads organized by shape, size and color. You may find a few fashion magazines lying around, too; she makes extra effort to keep up with the latest styles.
“I will always look for new materials. If you follow up with me, you’ll always see new items. I get all the magazines. … I’m traveling to shows around the world to see what’s new. … I keep up with all the trends.”
What’s trending now, she said, are emerald, purple and navy blue colors. Chunky choker necklaces, too, are still very popular, she said. You can see this in her line of art; her necklaces, especially, are bold, bright, and bursting with character, with great tufts of beads that seem to sprout out from the jewelry. She constructs commissioned pieces and conducts consultations, too.
“When I’m working with bridal parties, I want to see everything. What the bride’s mother is wearing, what the bridesmaids wear. For me, it’s all about the look. I need to see and match everything in one big picture,” she said.
Her daughter Meitel says her mother’s art is the kind of jewelry that makes you feel good.
“It draws the attention, but it’s the wanted kind of attention,” she said.
Niskala loves the freedom of creating.
“When I start a design, I never draw. I like to touch the material, to work with the material. I like the hands-on aspect of it,” she said. “The business started small. It took up the entire first floor of my home. … But this is my destiny. This is what I need to do, and this is what keeps me going.”