If I told you the heroine’s life story, then told you she became a drug addict,
sitting in corners trying to inject herself to death, you’d believe me.
If I told you the heroine’s life story, then told you she became a whore,
selling her body to wolves for 30 years, you’d believe me.
If I told you the heroine’s life story, then told you she became a mental
health patient, collapsing back to her dark pit, you’d believe me.
If I told you the heroine’s life story, then told you she became the
best mom in the world, a loving wife, a good friend, and basically,
a happy person, You wouldn’t.
This is a triumphant tale.
With a heroine.
On the 3rd of October, 2014, I publicly posted on FB my post that began with the words
“I was 19” and it changed my life.
The first lines were:
“I was 19 when he left red and blues on my thighs and stomach.
I was 19 when I thought he’s going to kill me.
I was 19 when I wanted to die myself”.
I was a 19 year old soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, when a commander,
from my home base, senior to me, raped me.
I was 30 years old when I started volunteering in a sexual assault survivors forum.
I was 40 years old when I publicly posted my story and devoted myself to sexual assault prevention.
I was 45 years old when I closed my NGO for sexual assault survivors
and started cleansing my soul through art.
Today, Art has become my main therapy and occupation.
Hi, it’s great to meet you here. I am Shani Shtalryd, Amit and Lali’s mom, Simon’s wife, an artist.
Free from all the hurt of others, I decided to continue my journey of triumph over darkness, brining my unique voice to anyone who hears me. (All about my lectures can be found HERE )
2018 was a year of transformation for me. I put down my previous hat and wore a new one. Up to that point, I was an English and homeroom teacher for 15 years, then, at the age of 40, I became a social activist against sexual crimes, for 5.
I established a non-profit organization and was a well known activist, raising awareness to this burning topic with viral campaigns and lectures all around Israel.
But mostly -what mainly consumed my every single day – I escorted hundreds and hundreds of sexual assault survivors. Men, women, and unfortunately, too many children. I exposed myself for 5 years to incredible world of hurt and pain, and in spite of this big sense of mission, it was all just too much for one human’s soul. I couldn’t do it anymore. Felt as if i’m burning from within.
On March, 2019, near my 45th Bday, I posted that I’m quitting. Just can’t take it anymore. On April, I bought my 1st kit of epoxy resin. I have no idea why. Never created in my life. But I accidentally stumbled upon the words “epoxy and wood”‘ see?..
I’m my daddy’s daughter. Always have been. When I was young, my dad taught me any craft he could teach a young girl. I learned how to cut wood, and work with a hammer, I learned soldiering iron and to chop wood for the fireplace. My dad, being this genius inventor and forever working with his hands, wrote a book about glues back in the 70’s. Epoxy was one of the glues. I looked at the words epoxy and wood and just had to get it.
At the first few months, people would ask me – “what is this crystal water-like material your’e working with”? I used to reply: “epoxy and tears”. Not feeling sad, I cried myself into my creations. As if my body was cleaning itself from within from all this pain I injected to my veins for so long. Getting rid of all the poison. Cleansing myself into epoxy resin.
I started making these mold epoxy crafts from molds, began having regular orders, and I was content. Then, Covid arrived and we moved. We’ve moved to this magical home on a big yard with a lot of trees. and land, and grass. I decided it’s time for another change and just locked myself in my workshop for a year. Decided to become the epoxy resin artist I visioned I could be.
I worked 14-18 hours a day, gaining more and more skills, understanding epoxy resin to its depth, creating whole world layer after layer, wave after wave. Experimenting with direct tyes of epoxy resin from different labels, experimenting with liquid, powder and paste pigments, creating effects with different mediums and learning from making mistakes. Auto teaching was expensive and difficult, but it’s the only way I’d had it.
Then, I was finally in my element. Being addicted to the smallest gestures of nature, since birth, every single thing I noticed became inspiration for my art. Drinking my inspiration from the sea, butterflies, young love, taken away breath, anything that moved me became something to create. They all served me as an artist.
Today, I combine both worlds. I returned to publicly speaking about sexual assault, but from a “clean” place. From this quiet inside me. I no longer escort survivors or hear of personal stories. I only get up on stage and speak my truth. When I’m back home again, after decreasing adrenalin levels, I get into my workshop and surrender myself only to my own therapy.
I mostly make art on demand pieces. Wall and floor decor upon requests. I wake up at the crack of dawn every morning for a day of excitement. Wether I stay working at home, or going out to lectures, I , can’t wait to start my day. In love with every single stroke of my hand on the canvas or olive wood and every lecture and crowd I reach. I enjoy compliments in both. I look forward to discover the rest of my journey. I feel it’s only just begun.
If I had to draw myself, it would be drawing abstract fire in waters. This is me. Storming and burning, cooling and chilling. A dance between flames and waves, which makes me who I am.