Sam Gibsh was born in and grew up in Haifa. He obtained an engineering degree in California and earned an MBA at Tel-Aviv University. He then moved to Boston and worked at an engineering firm for about a decade. Gibsh abandoned his engineering career to become a full time ceramic artist, and moved back to Israel. From 2000 to 2006 he was enrolled at the Giveat Haviva Ceramics School in Israel. He also spent five summers at the HCP Studio (2002-2007) where he learned tile-making techniques, methods of glazing, firing and mural installation, particularly fromWasmaa Chorbachi and Nancy Selvage.
In Israel for most of the year, Gibsh owns a ceramic studio located near the port in an old district of Yaffa (Jaffa), overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. His tile work is inspired by features of Yaffa’s old urban landscape; including the steeple of St. George’s Catholic Orthodox Church, clock towers, the lighthouse, Ottoman sabils (fountains) and other historic elements of the ancient port. In his tiles Gibsh blends natural elements of the region: the water of the bay, palm trees, animals, and birds, with the historical features of the port.
In 2007, Gibsh was given a commission by the city of Tel Aviv to create a ceramic mural of 16 square meters to be installed on the outer wall of a new Christian-Muslim high school in Yaffe. This new school brings back the old tradition of the Ottoman period when many Muslims were educated in Christian schools. In a slide show Gibsh gave at the Studio last summer he described his conception of the mural project as "A Voyage Through Yaffa." His training in engineering and construction proved useful. He explained that the most demanding part of this project was the installation of the mural over the school’s external concrete wall’s surface. Gibsh, prompted by his engineering expertise, requested a careful testing of the wall for strength which did need to be reinforced before the mural could be safely installed.
~Maria Luisa Mansfield