by Sandra Bruce
Israel is a fascinating country, as I discovered in January when I went there for 2 weeks to teach and explore. This post is about my trip and contains lots of pictures. Go ahead, get a cup of coffee or tea and get comfy…I hope you enjoy my visuals and story! All the photos were shot with my iPhone.
One thing, quickly, before I get into my post…I have 6 spaces left in my Artistic Alchemy Zephyr workshop for this Fall. If you are thinking of attending, now is a great time to sign up.
First, everyone wants to know how I landed a gig in Israel. It’s a long story, but basically: Joel and I consider ourselves cousins, and Joel is cousins with Gail on the other side of his family who is a quilter in Jeruselem. I met Gail and her husband Avi a few years ago when she and her husband were visiting the US. She is on the board of IQA, Israel Quilters Association, the guild of Israel. They are very active and bring in international teachers.
Gail fondly referred to me while I was there as her “cousin”. To my happy surprise Joel decided to meet me there to hang out with us. Gail is a truly giving and sweet person who worked very hard to make my trip memorable. She accompanied me to my 4 teaching cities and graciously had me as a guest in her home for the week following my teaching.
I began the Argonne Jet Lag Diet 3 days before my trip, which I have always had success with in international trips. It worked like a charm. It IS weird, but I recommend it highly.
Arrived! The airport in Tel Aviv…beautiful mosaics on the wall.
Gail and I left Jerusalem for my first teaching spot in Tiberius, which is on the Sea of Galilee. On the way we stopped to visit her friend Hava, who is an art quilter and teaches in a studio in her home, complete with an array of Berninas. I met some of her students and we had fun chatting.
I love this shot I got of the water. Dreary days can make for good photos.
After class ended we left to head to our next stop, Zikhron Yaakov.
Somehow I neglected to take any photos in my last workshop, in Jerusalem. It was also a great group of ladies and a good time was had by all. Some of the ladies traveled so that they could take both Matrix and Color Dance workshops. To all of the IQA ladies, I say thank you for having me visit and teach to your guild, you were the best!
Back in Jerusalem with my teaching concluded, it was time for exploring and adventures. Our first night back we headed to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Goush for a fantastic dinner at the Arabic restaurant “The Caravan”. In Israeli restaurants small plates are brought out before the entrees appear. The best hummus I ever ate, hands down, was in Israel.
Traffic in Jerusalem…just like other big cities, snarly and a bit crazy!
The “cones” below are paprika. No, I don’t know how they did that!
Baklava, below, in its many forms. Yuuuuuumy…
Below, olive heaven.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Christian quarter, contains 2 of the holiest sites of Christianity, the sites where Jesus was said to have been crucified and his tomb. This is a major understatement, but history abounds here in this beautiful church. A few shots:
Moving on….we visited The Israeli Museum on a very cold and windy day. The Dead Sea Scrolls (replicated) are housed in this unusual building.
What’s not to love about a mosaic with birds?
The most famous watch here, called The Marie Antoinette, has an amazing story, which I will tell you in brief. Made by the Swiss watchmaker Breguet (and finished by his son), purportedly commissioned by Marie’s lover Count von Fersen in 1783, it took 40 years to complete….of course Marie Antoinette never received it. It was stolen from this museum by a master thief in 1983 but recovered in 2013, and is valued at 30 million dollars. It contains every device known at the time it was made, and contains gold, platinum, rubies and sapphires. The best part…you can see through it.
Also at the Islamic Museum are some examples of beautiful calligraphy, which I was most interested in, having spent a career as a calligrapher and illustrator. I can picture the artist and his pen in motion.
A couple of my favorites from this huge museum. A painting by Klimt, “Friederike Maria Beer”, from 1916, which I was not familiar with. Large, and wonderful to see in person. It was a commission by Austrian socialite Friederike Beer. Klimt asked her to turn her jacket inside out because he liked the pattern of the lining better than the outside! The background motifs were taken from a Korean vase she owned.
Also, here, an exhibit of the wonderful painter Hilma af Klint. Her story is so unique. She was a Swedish painter who was involved with various spiritual movements, and way, way ahead of her time.This is a large piece also, from 1907.Museum-hopping always requires coffee breaks, doesn’t it?
I must show you this…Israel has some of the most organized parking garages I’ve ever seen. You could almost eat off the floor of this one. Lights tell you which spaces are available up ahead. Tires squealed on the polished floor.
My last shot, checked into my flight home. Left at 1:00am, arrived in san Francisco at 6:00am. I was very glad to be home after that long flight, but happy after this memorable trip! If you made it this far I say, “thank you”, and I hope you enjoyed my story. Shalom.