In our first meeting we talked about their dreams and what's out there, in general. What's needed to make this happen - after all, none know how to use a computer, speak English... there are a lot of new skills for them to learn. In our second meeting, we experimented with my digital camera. For all but the program director, it was the first time they'd ever held a digital camera - we spent time photographing each other and their work. This is Kasah, showing an embroidered skullcap/kippa/yarmaka that she made, surrounded by her projects.
All the women are quite talented. We have high hopes - together we're going to open an Etsy shop for Rokmot. They'll learn to photograph, price, and ship their work. They'll eventually learn how to create their own listings and manage their shops.
There are several regulars: Bosanah learned to embroider before she immigrated to Israel 21 years ago. She's lived 20 years in Sderot. Genetiah learned crafts from her mother in Ethiopia as a young girl. Her baskets are quite amazing. In Ethiopia she wove her baskets from palm fronts and dyed plant material. Genetiah still uses palm for the structure, but she has added a modern twist and wraps the fronds with gift ribbons to create complex patterns. Tefetah embroiders because it makes her feel good. She also enjoys the social aspects of sitting with friends who are also crafters. Kasah comes to Rokmot because it makes her smile. Her 5 children have all grown up and left home. She explained to me clearly: "I enjoy doing this work because it keeps my hands busy."
|Genetiah and one of her beautiful baskets|