Nora Aronson's Designs & Gifts

COVID-19 has impacted many of us in ways we could not have imagined even just a year and a half ago. Despite this year's challenges, Nora Aronson pivoted and used her background in costume jewelry design to create intricately colored batik masks for all her friends and family. Inside your Indomex box includes a handmade Batik mask made by Nora Aronson, a local artist in San Francisco.
I was born and raised in Singapore and moved to San Francisco and
reunited with my parents at age 14. My parents had moved to the United States seven years before then to set up a life for my older brother and me. I was raised by my grandparents who had a very known nasi lemak restaurant in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia where I spent most of  my school holidays helping out at the restaurant. My memories of foods swirled around the traditional Minangkabau dishes like rendang,  sambal manis (sweet sambal), satay, gulai, and the occasional  English-influenced dishes like steak, gravy and fries, and chicken pot pies mainly cooked my maternal step-grandfather who was a cook/captain of the British Army. 

 

Although I was surrounded by avid, amazing cooks, I never learned how  to cook like my grandparents. I depend on my mother and my fellow Singaporean & Malaysian friends or restaurants when I have a craving. I have collected recipes from my mother’s cookbook and hopefully to learn how to cook them one day. However, I’m a better baker and make my grandmother’s marble cake often – a crowd pleaser and a favorite of my dad’s. 

 

What inspired you to become an artist?

My parents had a costume jewelry business and they were friends and were inspired by a couple of local jewelry designers. They had a collection of jewelry from Thailand, Indonesia and China. My mom trusted me to design some earrings where  I was paid $5 a design. From then, my creativity has exploded to creating easy meals for my picky teenage son, to quilt blankets made from all of my running shirts I’ve gotten from races to crocheted blankets, and now  fabric face masks. 

How do you want to see your art featured and what stories do you like to share through your art? 

 My interest in Batik has been a long time coming. I see my grandmothers, aunts and cousins wear batik sarongs in their everyday lives. And on special occasions, I see beautiful intricately designed batiks worn with kebayas and Malay costumes. I want the Western world to recognize and appreciate the art of batik and how  batiks are not just used as sarongs. 

What is your favorite dish? Is there a story behind it? 

I have lots of ‘favorite”  dishes and my go-to is any kind of soup noodle – pho, ramen, udon, laksa, mee curry, mee rebus. When I was pregnant with my son my craving was chicken soto, an indonesian/Malay chicken noodle soup(sometimes it is served with rice cakes but I prefer it with noodles). My mom made it everytime I asked for it, and topped it with a very spicy sambal. Until today, everytime I have a bowl of chicken soto, the fond memories of my pregnancy would flood my mind. 

What does courage mean to you?

Courage is being able to say no to people & things that may make you feel overwhelmed. 

Where can we expect to see you in the next few years?

I hope that we are able to travel without the fear of COVID and  I hope to explore the world and expand my brand locally or/and globally- however that may look like. 



Tuk Tuk Box is so honored to feature Nora's beautiful handmade masks in our IndoMex Snack Box!

Thank you so much to the Nora for sharing her story with us! Tuk Tuk box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.

We love to share stories of the diaspora and are honored to be able to have the space and platform to share with others. If you would like to share your family's or business stories with us email hello@tuktukbox.com.