This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for August, 2011

Back to Hutzot haYotzer, 2011

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 30, 2011

Surendra Meher, Ikat weaver

We went back on Aug. 22 to Hutzot haYotzer, the International Arts and Crafts Fair in Jerusalem, and I bought a few small things, including a couple inexpensive pieces of commercial Ikat cloth. I chatted with Surendra Meher, the weaver in the photo above. As you can see from his work on the wall behind him, his weaving is quite impressive, very different from the cheap pieces that were for sale. I couldn’t get a close look because he was standing between passersby and the shawls, probably making sure no one would damage them. I also bought a shoulder bag because I liked the mixture of blues.

Blue bag

Indian cotton

Indian cotton

A Thai woman painted t-shirts and parasols:

Thai woman painting t-shirts



The woman in the photo below was selling Chinese embroideries.

Seller of Chinese Embroiders

I love the colourful textiles at one of the Cameroon booths but I couldn’t really justify buying another bag!

Cameroon crafts

Next door an Indian woman was selling batiks.

Indian batiks

No Transylvanian castle should be without a Vlad the Impaler wall clock. Spotted at the Romanian booth.

Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) Clock

They were selling fresh, very aromatic coffee in tiny cups at the Ethiopian booth. A couple women were also doing hair-wrapping.

Ethiopian Hair Braiding

I spotted a macrame border on this orange cloth covering the table at one of the Brazilian booths. I photographed it because lacy macrame is not too common around here.

Macrame Edging

I bought a wood wall clock from Israeli designer Ofek Wertman. He’s the guy in the back right corner in the photo below.

Ofek clocks

There were many interesting clocks for sale at the fair, but this one appealed to me as a personal statement (because I’ve created my life several times over) than as an artistic piece. It’s hanging on my bulletin board at work.


Basta had some lovely, simple pieces made from enameled metal.


Some of Nuni Yanai‘s beautiful stars. She imports her basket reeds from the US and dyes them herself.

Nuni's stars

Posted in Crafts, Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Tav Cafe

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 24, 2011

This video I made of the Tav Cafe performance is worth watching full-screen because there is so much going on.

We went back to the International Arts & Crafts Festival on Tuesday, August 22, and I made a five-minute video of one of the Tav Cafe performances. I was standing in the back corner, which isn’t really permitted, but I managed to record from a good angle. The fire dancer might be the same performer whom I photographed at the Jerusalem Light Exhibit but I’m not positive. Just noticed that no one seems to be shooting the performance with iPhones or pocket cameras, so possibly video/photography was not allowed. Oh well!

Tav Cafe

Here’s a short description of the performers from the Jerusalem Municipality site:

The Tav Group invites the audience to an inter-disciplinary experience. In their wandering courtyard artists and artisans work as a team, offering their guests their best goods, fulfilling all the needs of the body and the soul. Next to their choicest handiworks, they offer exquisite coffee, bread and honey or a glass of wine and cheese. Dancing shadow, story telling and song, gypsy tune, yoga lesson and more. The courtyard is built with a system of scaffolding and galleries, inside and outside – the upper floors of the galleries serve as stages for the performances – dance, music and theater. The lower floor serves as a bar and seating for the audience. In the center of the courtyard is a multi purpose stage and around it tables and chairs for eating and observing. A trapeze and rope for the acrobats are part of the construction.

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Jaffa Road from the Jerusalem Light Rail

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 22, 2011

This is another video I made on the first day of the Jerusalem Light Rail. If you haven’t seen downtown Jerusalem for a while, it’s undergone a lot of changes. The entire length of Jaffa Street from Zion Square to the Central Bus Station is closed to vehicles except for the Light Rail. It was in an awful state for years. A lot of stores went out of business and people didn’t spend as much time downtown because it was so unpleasant to walk around construction on narrow sidewalks.

Here are some photos I took of Jaffa Road in 2008:

Construction for light rail

Light Rail Construction, Jerusalem

Light Rail Construction, Jerusalem

this is how it looked in 2009:

Downtown Jerusalem not looking its best

By 2010 it was more presentable, although still awkward for pedestrians:

Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

The area between Zion Square and King George seems to be recovering, but the area above the Klal building has a way to go. Still, we’ve come a long way in three years!

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Jerusalem Light Rail: Old City

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 21, 2011

This video shows the route of the light rail from Damascus Gate to New Gate. If you’ve ever tried to get around this area by car, you will know how bad the traffic is. This should make things a lot easier!

The policemen are on horseback because security is normally tighter around the old city on Fridays, especially Fridays during Ramadan. Also, it was the day after the Eilat attacks. It’s taken over eleven years for this tram to be built!

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Opening of Jerusalem Light Rail

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 19, 2011

I never thought that I would ever live long enough to ride the Jerusalem Light Rail! When my son started high school at Netiv Meir in Bayit veGan, my husband told him that soon he would be able to take the train to school. Well, Binyamin just graduated and isn’t keen on going back for another year just to enjoy the new transportation arrangements.

Baruch and I rode the entire line. With the various delays, technical problems, and uncoordinated traffic lights, it took us about three hours to do the entire route. Originally the lights were supposed to give priority to the tram but many haven’t been timed yet, so the tram still gets stuck in traffic jams. I made the video above while going over the Calatrava bridge. I suspect that it might be the first video on YouTube taken by a passenger on the train. The rest of the videos seem to be test runs.


Jerusalem Light Rail, Opening Day

Jerusalem Light Rail, Opening Day

I’m glad we started early because by late morning the train was packed.

The end of the line: the Mt. Herzl station with the Calder sculpture on the left and the platform on the right. Beyond the vertical sign is an elevator that takes you to underground parking and public bathrooms.

End of the line

Soldiers on their way to the funeral of St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali, z”l, who was killed in yesterday’s terror attack in Eilat.

Soldiers on way to funeral

Coming back from Pisgat Zeev and Shuafat, a lot of people got on — Muslims going to the Old City for Ramadan prayers (they were really dressed up) and Jews going to the center of town or just checking out the Light Rail. An old woman sitting beside me had an Arabic version of the Light Rail map.

Arabic light rail map

Public transportation, the great leveller

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Hutzot haYotzer, 2011 (International Arts & Crafts Fair, Jerusalem)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 19, 2011

It’s that time of year again! Debbie and I went to Hutzot haYotzer last night. Although we went early, it was quite crowded. My main interest is the International Pavilion.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

A Slovakian bobbin lacemaker was working on a 5-pair design on a cylindrical pillow:

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

A Croatian lacemaker stopped to show me her sol needlelace. She used homemade square, circular, and heart-shaped forms cut from heavy plastic.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011


Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Indian Ikat weaver wrapping warp threads.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Traditional Ikat begins with wrapping the warp threads tightly with string.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

The threads are dipped in dyes (it’s a form of tie-dye, actually), unwrapped, and left to dry. Then they’re woven into cloth. That’s how the unusual patterns are formed, although nowadays most Ikat is printed.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Four embroiderers were working on shirts in the Romanian booth.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Guatemalan textiles are so colourful! They’re commercially woven but very reasonably priced.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Peruvian tapestry weaving, but the old floor loom in front is just a display piece.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Molas, handmade but strictly tourist-trade quality. I didn’t spot anything unusual there.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Extremely cheap Andean knitting. Not sure how one makes a profit on a 35 NIS alpaca hat…

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

This Bolivian piper is a regular at the festival.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

The El Salvador booth had a few elaborate arpilleros for sale.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

This year there were a couple gallery spaces, one for sculpture and another for painting. The sculpture section turned into an extension of the food court because seating space is scarce.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

At this point we moved to the Israeli pavilion.

It was great seeing Nuni again. She was my basket-weaving teacher. She makes gorgeous baskets and dyes the reeds herself.

Nuni's baskets

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Papafork makes wonderful whimsical sculptures out of recycled computer and kitchen junk!

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Chess set made of dreidels (spinning tops), by the Dreidel House.

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Nava Crystals

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Hutzot haYotzer 2011

Posted in Crafts, Israel, photography | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

New Camera: Canon Powershot S95

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 18, 2011

New camera!!!! Canon S95

I love my DSLR, a 2-year-old Canon Rebel XSi (aka 450D), but there are times when a big camera is too much to carry. For example, last night I was at a barbecue in a crowded apartment, so wandering around with a plate full of food and a big camera hanging off my shoulder, while squeezing between people, was not an appealing prospect. I also wanted to avoid turning it into a working event (“As long as you brought your camera, would you just take a few photos of my kids/friends/relatives/dogs….”) Ironically, I did end up taking a lot of pictures at the end of the evening, with other people’s cameras. I’m getting really good at looking at figuring out how to turn off the flash and raise the ISO on unfamiliar pocket cameras. 🙂

I know, I know, these compact cameras all look alike, especially if they’re black or silver. IT’s pluses are that it shoots in RAW (as well as JPG, of course), up to 3200 ISO (rather noisy, but that can be cleaned up), and at its widest angle the aperture can be opened up to f/2, which is almost unheard of in a point-and-shoot. It shoots HD video. The minuses are that battery life isn’t great (I plan to buy an extra battery), the optical zoom isn’t as good as what I had on my Canon S5, and there’s no viewfinder, so I have to use the screen. It over-saturates the greens a bit. Will have to see about turning that down.

I really wanted a camera that I could take with me on my morning walk or run. That’s why I’m so excited about the photos I took this morning. I stopped to photograph some sheep in the wadi, when two gazelles bounded past me. They were moving so fast that I only had time to point the camera in the general direction and take two frames. These are cropped.



I don’t normally jog on the security road when the Bedouin are around with their sheep and goats, but this flock was fairly far down in the wadi and not headed in my direction up the hill. I liked this photo because of the cool shadows caused by the sun behind the sheep. (One frame had a bit of sun flare, but this one didn’t.) I also liked the curving lines of sheep coming over the curve of the hillside.


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New Moon Landing

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 2, 2011

Moon Landing

I took this photo last night at 8:03 p.m., Israel time (GMT+2). I hadn’t expected to get this shot because I was supposed to have my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist but he said my appointment was booked too late in the day for him to dilate my pupils. (Helloooo??? If not dilating pupils is an option, which is news to me, shouldn’t the receptionist have asked whether I was going to have my pupils dilated and scheduled me accordingly? Anyway, he was very nice about it and scheduled me for early tomorrow morning, so it wasn’t so bad. I got home with undilated pupils and was able to take this photo).

The new moon is important for Jews because the Hebrew calendar is lunar and festivals are calculated according to the lunar cycle. The new moon marks Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Hebrew month. Although calendar calculations are now done by computers, some people still observe the tradition of watching for the new moon. In ancient times witnesses (only men were eligible) traveled to Jerusalem to report the new moon sighting to the Sanhedrin (court comprising 71 judges; actually, the system was a bit more complicated).  The witnesses were questioned to make sure that they had indeed seen the new moon and the announcement would be sent to Jewish communities in the diaspora (= outside Israel). Since I’m a woman I don’t contribute testimony but every now and then I send a photo to the Israel New Moon Society.

This photo was taken just before the setting moon touched the horizon. I noted its appearance at 7:45 p.m., when it was much higher in the sky. Low moon photos can be difficult because the sky is quite dark but if the exposure is too long you get motion blur. Also, the moon (OK, I know it’s really the earth) moves surprisingly fast, which means that timing is important. When I used to have a really cheap tripod I missed a few “moon near horizon” shots because of camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button. I now have a cable release for the shutter, but my new Manfrotto tripod is sturdy and allows me to photograph in a strong wind on a top floor balcony with no shaking. I took the photo in RAW, ISO 400, f/7, 1/10 sec, 235mm. I cropped it and reduced the noise with Adobe Camera RAW.

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