One of my favorite things to do is visiting the old flea market in Yaffa, sometimes with a friend, but I love to be there alone too. In one of my next posts I will take you on a photo tour with me. I drive to Tel Aviv in the late morning, after all the traffic jams have melted away, at about half past ten. I say hello to the sea and continue at its shore a bit further south till I see the clock tower of Yaffo and I am there. At the market I will first of all have coffee and breakfast in a lovely picturesque little cafe by the name of Pua, in which every chair and table is different and vintage and has a price tag for purchase! After that, happy and with no desire for caffeine any more I start walking around. I never have something special in mind, I just love to stroll and watch and look. But I do keep my eyes open for buttons, beads, doilies, beaded belts and bags, and of course old Bedouin embroidery. Not always I am lucky, but this does not lessen the enjoyment.
Actually it makes me sad that those wonderful colorful dresses, so meticulously stitched by women in the desert, end up cut into pieces at the market, for a relatively small amount of money. Once I was lucky and could buy a completely intact and utterly beautiful dress. I wrote and showed photos about it here. I try to transform my rescued finds into something pretty and useful, and my latest creation is this tote bag. The photos show the back and the front. It has some leather strips and ready purchased leather handles. The black fabric of the body and the lining is very sturdy cotton. The lining is fitted with two pockets with the same embroidery.
I still have quite a lot of this material to work with and I wanted to barter it with a friend, but the deal was not successful, so I will gladly continue to use it all by myself.
Unfortunately Bedouin culture here is not what it was many years ago, and there is certainly no romantic in the harsh life of those women. To improve their income, or better said, to enable them to earn some money at all, the Desert Embroidery Association was established and is run by Bedouin women. It is located in a small settlement in the Negev Desert, and in midst of all the rubbish, trash and debris lying around it is a cheerful little oasis of creativity and idle hands. Relying on their traditional craft they produce beautiful handmade items for sale.