100 Years of the Kibbutz
Quilt making is a craft that has been around for centuries, and it is becoming increasingly popular in Israel. This summer, a quilt exhibition to commemorate 100 years of kibbutz, was held at Bet Gabriel, near Tiberias. It was organized by the Israel Quilters Association, a small but vibrant group. Officially there are just 350 members; unofficially, hundreds more take part in this traditional craft.
As individuals, Israeli quilters often take their works abroad. In August 2012, some of these works will be on show at the "festival of quilts" - the biggest quilt show in Europe. This is the first time a group will formally represent Israel at an international exhibition. And that is an accomplishment for the quilters in Israel.
The winning quilt was a salute to the founding fathers - and mothers - of the kibbutz. It showed a couple of retired kibbutznikim walking along a path. Each quilt gives a different account of the kibbutz movement. For the most part, the quilts emphasize the fields and the produce that are so closely associated with the kibbutz. But there are others that reflect the harsher side of kibbutz life. A quilt depicting the children's home expresses the trauma experienced by a young mother who never adapted to the kibbutz system that saw children sleeping in the children's house, away from their parents. Many of the quilters whose work was shown at the exhibition
experienced kibbutz life first hand. The people, the places, and the emotions are documented in the fabrics and stitches. For quilters, every fabric - be it denim, lace or velvet - tells a story, every fabric has its association. Through a combination of art and craft, the quilts bear vivid testimony to 100 years of kibbutz life ... from the tents of the earliest days ... to rotation of jobs ... ... to the Carmel forest fire that almost completely destroyed Kibbutz Beit Oren. The exhibition of the kibbutz shows that there is "an Israeli quilt". And it shows that it's possible to take a conventional craft from the old world and transform it to an updated art form that reflects
Israel's unique character
To see a film about the Kibbutz Quilt Exhibition, made by Marian Lebor and Sally Halon, access: http://youtu.be/gWghctfSqig