In 1958 when “the New Bezalel” opened in Jerusalem, it did not intend to include a ceramics department. Yet in that same year the academy acquired the “Beit HaMalakha” ceramics studio where artist David Kalderon was working. He had originally been trained in Yugoslavia before emigrating to Israel. When “Beit HaMalakha” was acquired by Bezalel, Kalderon became a teacher of sculpture, where he worked alongside Pnina Amir, Maude Friedlander, Gedula Schweig-Ogen, and the head of the department, David Wachsel.
When the Ministry of Education and Culture approved the establishment of a ceramics department at the new Bezalel, they instructed its director to train students to make industrial pieces that would later be produced at larger factories for the general Israeli market. All of the pieces were molded and fired in one room, at the instruction of Kalderon and Friedlander. In line with the industrial guidelines setout for them, the studio produced a great number of pieces made from plaster. Kalderon, who was the instructor for the stone-wheel, would prepare the material and make the example model used by the students.
Kalderon is considered a pioneer in the history of the Israeli ceramics industry. In addition to being the mentor of Israel’s first generation of ceramics students, he also produced a number of artistic works himself from various materials. Although his influence can be seen in the works of many artists of the period, his own creations are far fewer. Today his works are highly collectible and extremely rare.