Tuesday, August 25, 2015

GATHERING INSPIRATION on early morning walks with Ella

Ella and I gather stuff on our morning walks. She loves to pick up stones and sometimes she does not let go of one till we are home, releasing it softly on the living room floor. I find a rock here and there too, round and smooth. Or a fig leaf, a fig, from a tree down the street overhanging a neighbor's fence. Some woody fruit from a bush, a rusty thing...

We find deflated balls, abandon by children the afternoon before. Ella loves these balls. Because they are only half full of air, she can easily grab them and play with them, and oh she does, running in circles, releasing and catching, bringing the thing to me, begging to throw it for her. We always find yellow tennis balls which flew over the high wire of the court near the community swimming pool. 

I look for small pieces of old and used wood, I collect them too, and humbly paint on them. Old wood is full of character. I sand the paint down to do it justice.

I was not very creative for the last weeks. This morning I looked for some inspiration to fill my soul a bit. Nature is hot and dry and not too giving right now. But the hedges along the road succeed in struggling with the sun, and gave me a good armful of nice green branches to take home today.

Near a garbage bin a mother had put toys her children probably had outgrown or did not like any more, and this little wagon, completely intact caught my eye - I thought I could paint a picture on it, and home it went with us. And feathers, at every walk we find feathers, I have a whole feather collection already.

The best thing today was this branch, I have some good plan with it, and I am looking forward to execute what I have in mind.

Creativity can not be forced, this I learned. If there is an empty run of time, I let it pass. I know the artful forces of beauty and color will come back to me like old friends, I can rely on them, that is good and comforting.

Ella, of the species which is men's best friend...  :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

TIRAZ - Local Embroidery - Women - Memory - Identity

Today we visited the exhibition "Tiraz", of Palestinian embroidered costumes at the Islam Museum in Jerusalem. We encountered an elegant display of beauty, a show of silk and cotton thread in the tiniest of stitches on black and beige fabric. A parade of colors, shapes and textures waited for us to be admired.

The patterns of the dresses are quite simple. They are cut straight and cover the whole body, legs and arms. The front and back is usually constructed of three pieces sewn together. Often the embroidery goes right over the seams, not interrupting the design. The neckline is rectangle or v-shaped, with a heavy embroidered collar. Two lengths of fabric are attached to the sides to form the sleeves. Triangle sleeves provide a more decorative or festive look.

Fabric triangles are inserted to the lower sides of the dress for more comfort while walking and moving around. Coat-dresses are open at the front from the waist down, and trousers (shirwal) are worn under them.

The fabrics of the outfits consist of cotton and wool in black or dark blue, or natural linen. The patchwork was done with silk squares, and brocade and satin pieces, which maintain their brilliant hues to present time. The main color of the embroidery is red, and there is green and blue and yellow. The embroidery threads are of silk and cotton, and the work is mostly done in cross stitch of different patterns. Trees, stars, triangles, flowers, diamonds, birds, and more forms are depicted.

The costumes and wedding items presented in this exhibition are between sixty and hundred years old. The show is very tastefully arranged, with much skill and knowledge. The dresses and adornments were gathered with great passion over half a life time. The assembled items offer a fantastic insight to Arab Bedouin dress culture of the past in this part of the world, and unveil the artful creativity of these women, who passed their craft along to their daughters. 

We had a great morning with all this gorgeousness. Thanks to the collector and provider of the costumes, Manuel Kleidman, and to the curator of this beautiful exhibition, Rachel Hasson.