Columns of Wisdom
Photo by: Shay Ben-efraim
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Hand woven from
shoots of: olive, carob, pomegranate, sweet-bay,
willow, mastic-tree, poet's cassia shrub,
fruit stalks of palms and other plants from the land around me.
Hand woven from
date - palm fruit - stalks
H: 2.70 D:45
The huge column-baskets combine genuine traditional craft, that disappears from the world these days, with a new design and an artistic saying. They bring to mind the importance of preserving the local Palestinian crafts and the importance of using local materials. With the death of the old basket-makers, their knowledge will be lost, since the younger generation has not learned the skill. In the recent 12 years I dedicated my life to the preservation of traditional crafts of Israel\Palestine, by learning from old craftspeople and transferring the skills to those who wish to learn.
The beginning of the olive–based column basket on the left is done in the exact same way as I learned from Abu Najeh' – an elderly Palestinian basketmaker who uses mainly olive shoots and mastic tree. Further, many more shrubs and tree shoots were used, as well as diverse techniques. The size of the columns demanded development of new ways of working as well as many hours of collecting and preparing the materials – all native to my local area .
Working on those "baskets" was a strong experience. I felt as though I was being woven into them with all of my being, and that in doing so I am acquiring the Identity of an olive.