Um El-Fahem is a Muslim city located 20 kilometers northwest of Jenin in the Haifa District of Israel. One year ago, 30 Muslim women started learning the craft of ceramics from Rina Peleg -a professional ceramist from New York- in the Um El-Fahem art gallery ceramic workshop. The women come to the ceramic workshop once a week for three hours. Despite their limited time and skills, they are eager to master the art of ceramic craft and create their own objects.
Our project was concerned with developing a creative process for the workshop which respects their local identity. Together with them, we discovered new ways of inspiration, tool-making and collaborative craft.
1st Workshop: Creative Discovery
After looking around the ceramic workshop, having an interview with the Arabic women, and discussing with the group, we finalised our project direction as fostering their creative thinking rather than offering them physical ready-made items for mass production.
-Making a clay object from a 2D sketch.
-Creating a signature-plate for stamping.
-Collaborative making of clay characters.
2nd Workshop: Inspirational Journey
With the aide of morph cards, architectural reference images and a live feed of Um El-Fahem houses, they focused on making and creatively exploring the redesign of their city allocating each house a 10cm x 10cm space. They then assigned a new location to their house, commencing the raise of their Ceramic City.
For each house, they told us a unique story, how they were influenced by personal memories, photographs of Um el Fahem and other inspirational material. The houses created became a symbolic item of their life. The potential for the future vision of their artworks was clear.
Images by Andor Ivan