Open Call for Info and Leads: A History of Israeli Crafts or Anyone Have Any Idea Who Made These, When, Where and Why?
About a year ago, I found these two items at the Yaffo flea market: A beautiful, hand-embroidered cosmetic case bound in a Tiffany-blue, textured leather and a similar compact mirror. The shop owner told me they were made in Israel in the early years of the State but he had no specific information, other than what was written on the inside lining: Orient Made in Israel.
Ive become a lot more obsessed with the idea of crafts lately. The idea of craftsmanship, its positioning as somehow outside of the fine arts but demanding expertise of skill and execution all the same, and the traditions of the field, how they’re unphased for the most part (or are they) by technological advances…
All this to say, I need your help, please. I want to delve deeper into Israel’s artistic history and practice. Beyond design as creativity and production and Israel as a meeting point for global influences and top notch approaches, what are Israel’s traditions of design as object? How did culture, history, politics, or economy impact design in every day life – and craft production too? What were the first Israelis’ crafts or home goods? When did design become an important aesthetic in their homes? Their lives?
There’s this romanticized view of Israel’s early pioneers (I mean in the 1940s and 50s specifically) as having lived with very little, both because there wasn’t a maximized economy or commercial market here, but more because they had to be so devoted and dedicated to the founding of cities like Tel Aviv. So then you find these cosmetic cases, “Made in Israel”. By who? And for who? A decorative compact case for what kind of woman or women – were there many like her or was it created for a select few?
I guess it’s a look into material culture meets visual culture meets design history. Like more than this particular example – the cosmetic case and the Israeli woman from the 1950s – what did homes and design look like in this period? There are graphic design posters from this period that can help shed light on a public aesthetic, but what about in private settings, homes, rooms… My Googling skills are now exhausted – without much success. So please send names of people, books or places for further research? Thanks for your help. I look forward to sharing my findings with you on the blog. Who knows, it could be fun.