The next day was not too early a start as Shoshi and I were heading north to Haifa. We were not heading straight there though as we were going to stop on the way up to see Ita Ziv. Again, if you were at the festival last year you would have seen Ita's work and her quilt, Water tower at Gan Schmuel was our poster quilt.
Ita lives in Pardes-Hana, and it didn't take us too long to get there. She greeted us with coffee, turkish for me, and cake, and then said that she had some of her quilts to show me in her studio. Oh my, what a beautiful space, Ita's work intrigues me as I cannot tell how it is made and she was very generous in showing Shoshi and myself how she does do it. I love her work, and the breadth of technique and design is mind-blowing, I am not going to give away any of her secrets and will just tell you that I was very honoured to have a private viewing of her work. Ita also showed me her beautiful painted fabrics and again, I found them beautiful, she very kindly gave me a piece, so expect to see it in a piece of mine with full credit.
I post a few photos for your delight and delectation
Ita had just done a workshop and showed m the piece above. (Bella showed me how to do it as the workshop had taken place in the north, and Bella had popped in and seen what they were up to.) The inspiration she gave me was unbelievable, and I think really made me want to join the Israeli Quilters Association, which I now have. I need these inspirational women, and I am not feeling inspired by what's around me, that is not to say that the work is not wonderful here, but I just feel I am missing something, or something is missing, so I am following my instincts - we will see where it leads.
I love the way Ita works with very different fabrics, and her positive/negative cutouts.
This small piece was hanging on her living room wall
A beautiful piece of painted fabric
My mouth drops open in awe when I look at what she comes up with and the materials she works with!
This piece was stunning, and is made of carrier bags, so it's all plastic. Not something that we can do here now sadly, as our carrier bags are grim.
I think we spent over an hour, in fact I know we did, going through all the things in her studio, and she was so generous, she showed me close to 30 quilts, you are only seeing a fraction of what I saw.
Anyway, it was time to go on, Ita was taking us somewhere special and then we were going to lunch.
So we climbed into the car, and drove a short distance to Kibbutz GanSchmuel. What!! This is where the water tower is? Oh my!!! Ita had lived on this kibbutz for 33 years so knew it well, she has now moved off it and has lived in her current home around 10 years I believe.
For those of you who don't know, a kibbutz was a place where early pioneers of Israel all lived and worked together, jobs were divided amongst the members, there would have been a school and kindergarten and all money was, originally, shared. The kibbutz was also self sustaining, meaning they grew their own food and had produce to sell at market. The early kibbutz would have had guards, Hashomer, they would have protected the kibbutz and its members from attack by any unfriendly Arabs and there is a whole history associated with that. If I can find my notes, I will add more on that later. The kibbutz is also fenced, so it's a bit like a "gated" community, you would be allocated living accommodation. Nowadays, the kibbutz has changed radically with members keeping their own money and other major changes, but I will keep that back for a future post.
We drove into the kibbutz and parked the car. Ita wanted to show us the art gallery there. I have to say that there really are some very talented people who live in these communities, and the art I saw around here was wonderful, potters, painters, sculptors, I think the lifestyle suits them.
There was a wonderful display of ceramics which I really enjoyed, and had they been smaller, I could have been very tempted, and I mean VERY small.
Michal was in the gallery and was a delight to meet, she is a sculptor and her work, which I will show later, had a wonderful whimsy to it.
Michal, Shoshi and Ita chatting outside the gallery
I was waiting patiently, so snapped a shot of the communal dining room.
Wanted to see how good my new camera was - it's good. This Hibiscus was just beautiful
After we left Michal and the gallery, we walked across as Ita wanted to show us the dining room. This is where all meals would have been taken, I'm not sure about this one, but nowadays it will only be one meal a day and usually lunch.
The entrance to the dining room had this lovely painting which was done in 1952 and is the story of kibbutz life
on its anniversary, a couple of years ago, they took photographs of children in the same positions to reflect the painting, the result was lovely.
This was the wall in the dining room. There was a potter living on the kibbutz, who made these beautiful tiles for the wall to depict the different seasons. The first one shows tractor tire prints when the soil would have been wet, and the lower one shows how the soil would have looked during very dry spells.
We left the dining room and walked around the kibbutz, there are few roads, and most of the main areas are accessible by walking paths. These palms fascinated me as they were extremely tall, and chained together to keep them upright.
These were Michal's whimsical sheep. I loved the expressions on their little faces and they looked as if they're singing.
This was the library which was unfortunately closed, but it had been dedicated to the memory of a kibbutz member who had fought in one of the wars, he was a pilot in the airforce and had been captured along with a couple of colleagues. After a period of suffering, the colleagues had been released but had been told that this pilot had given their captors all the information they needed, so was thought to have betrayed his colleagues and country. When they found his body and brought it back to Israel, they found wound between his toes a piece of paper on which he had written that he had said nothing and didn't betray his country. A sobering tale.
A cactus garden which was lovely, I think it was planted by Michal's father, and I have never seen so many different varieties.
More of Michal's whimsical pieces
Sabra, this is said to resemble an Israeli, prickly on the outside, but sweet on the inside.
On our walk around the kibbutz, I saw this pecan tree, I've never seen one growing.
Some of the art work decorating walls around the kibbutz
I loved this tree, I saw several on my travels and they never failed to fascinate me. The root grow out of the branches and grow straight down until they hit the ground and then burrow their way in. This had to be the biggest one I saw, but they never failed to fascinate. It stood just outside the laundry.
The laundry was interesting. Ita told me that each household was allocated a number and that number would be on each piece of clothing, linen, towels etc, that went to the laundry, underwear was put into a mesh bag for washing but again would have its number. When everything was washed, it would be hung up to dry or put in dryers, then it would be ironed, folded and then placed on the shelf with the corresponding number ready to be collected.
There were also a couple of small apartment blocks in which children of the kibbutz who were doing their national service could live. There were two special bins in the laundry for their uniforms. The mothers on the kibbutz would take turns to wash the uniforms, and the fathers would then come in and fold it. I thought that was rather lovely and was obviously done with a great sense of pride.
The bins for army uniforms
I loved this tile art outside the laundry! I thought it caught the gossip quite well!! We finished our tour by visiting the water tower which had been Ita's inspiration for her quilt. It makes a difference when you can see the object itself.
We then went off to the Arab restaurant for lunch a little further up the road which you saw a photo of in my last post. It was a wonderful feast and a very popular spot frequented by both Arabs and Jews. By this time it was getting quite late, and it was time for Shoshi to be on our way to Haifa, so we said farewell to Ita, and then carried on our way..........