Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Inspiration from Israel

Good morning, Everyone! It is so good to be back home and blogging again. This month has been a whirlwind but in a good way! I had the unique opportunity to visit Israel for two weeks and explore the many wonders this country has to offer. What a treat! My husband and I travelled all the way North through Haifa, Akko, Nazareth, Sea of Gallilee, the Golan and the ancient Banias waterfalls at Mount Hermon. Never knew it snowed up there! So much inspiration and beauty. While in Haifa, I visited the beautiful Bahai shrine and garden, the zoo and Castra Cultural Art Center. The zoo was perhaps one of the highlights of my stay there. They had the most unusual animals including a Siberian bear, an Egyptian vulture, black swan and even a griffon. Dozens of peacocks roamed the area. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit!
On one occasion, I took the train south to Tel Aviv to meet up with some amazing artists. They were most kind, engaging and invited me to their home to visit, have lunch and show me their studio and artwork. These women explained how they worked their strife and turmoil during war and difficult times into their art. It was humbling to hear their stories, learn of their perils and how they managed to work as a group to ensure their children’s safety during times of trouble. Such amazingly strong and graceful women! They were such a pleasure and I am blessed to have connected with them on so many levels. I hope to see them again, soon.

The following weekend, we made our way south toward Jerusalem where I came upon this fabulous textile market in the old city. The owner was a third generation textile artist from Damascus. He had the most beautiful fabric from all over the world. The photo above shows a small part of his shop. I purchased a few pieces, an ikat, some silk organza, striped pattern and a beautiful brocade. Ikat fabric is quite interesting as the fibers are dyed prior to constructing the textile piece and the patterns are endless. Continuing on throught the markerplace, I could smell the aromas of spices in the air. Here, you could find anything from spices, textiles, musical instruments, clothes, toys, carvings, food and so much more. Such a delight for the senses! We visited many historical and sacred places such as the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall and the Garden of Gethsemane. Such stunning beauty and architecture everywhere. It was like stepping into another world and you could truly sense the spirituality and ancientness of these places. Two days and still I did not see everything there was to see in Jerusalem but I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and look forward to returning soon and reconnecting with newfound friends. So blessed to have been able to see that part of the world.