David Blumenthal is the donor and initiator behind CIRTex. He is the president and CEO of Lion Brand Yarn Company, a 5th generation family-owned-and-operated company that produces hand-knitting and crochet yarns. He is also the former president of the Hand Knitting Yarn Association, and former chairman of the Craft Yarn Council, both of which are involved in promoting use and awareness of craft yarns. In addition, he was previously president of Warm Up America!, a nonprofit industry foundation. A recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Family Business category, he sits on the board of Enactus, a nonprofit international organization that promotes empowerment through student participation in entrepreneurial projects. He has served on the Shenkar Board of Governors for ten years, and is a vice president of the American Committee for Shenkar College, which has awarded him an honorary fellowship. Married to Barbara Jolson Blumenthal, he has three children and four grandchildren.
Architect Ayelet Karmon is a senior lecturer at Shenkar who currently teaches in the Faculty of Design. She is the CIRTex managing director, as well as an active researcher focusing on textile structures and the ways such structures are informed by digital fabrication processes and material specifications. She has participated in numerous international conferences and exhibitions, presenting studies relating to material thinking, computation, architecture, and textiles. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the Technion, and a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Prof. Alva Peled serves on the faculty of Ben-Gurion University’s Structural Engineering Department. She holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute for Technology, and an MSc in Chemistry of Polymers and Textiles from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her bachelor’s degree in Textile Technology was earned at Shenkar College. Prof. Peled was previously Visiting Faculty at the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Arizona State University, Visiting Faculty at the Civil Engineering Department at Purdue University, and Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University Center for Advanced Cement-Based Materials. Her main research area is high-performance cement and concrete composite materials, particularly textile-reinforced concrete (TRC), and she has published more than 100 papers in leading journals and proceedings.
Emma Margarita Erenst is a multidisciplinary designer and design lecturer. She holds an MDes with honors in Textile, Fashion and Accessories Design from Shenkar College. As part of her final thesis and applied research project, she developed a collection of wearable gestural interfaces and researched structures and materials as they affect various movement-related scenarios. Emma also holds a BDes (Visual Communication) from Shenkar College. Her personal research focuses on interactive textiles, IOT and gestural interfaces, parametric tools for future craft, and data visualization. She is currently engaged as a researcher at CIRTex, where she conducts projects focusing on sustainability and mass-customization in textile production as it relates to user-centered design and human-computer interaction.
Ori Topaz is a master designer, specializing in leather craftwork. She holds an MDes with honors in Textile, Fashion and Accessories Design from Shenkar College. As her final project, she developed a collection of leather bags that were innovatively formed with respect to the human body, taking into consideration questions of proportion, interaction, and use. Her bachelor’s degree is from Hunter College, NYC. She currently works as a researcher at CIRTex, involved in projects on the advanced geometry of textiles, textile material innovation, and fabric-based composite materials. Her design work is released under the name Nona Stella.