Category Archives: Uncategorized

Youth Recycled Art Workshop

Shortly after moving into my apartment in Webdeh at the end of August I met Khalid Homsi, who had recently opened an art gallery in Paris Circle. I mentioned Khalid previously. After his design business in Syria was bombed a few months ago he moved to Jordan.

1 Khalid with gallery entry sign

The gallery is a space located in the same block of buildings as Sandra’s Flowers (Ibraheem’s flower shop), Aiman’s cosmetic shop, and the water store (owned by Ghassan who owns all the buildings on the block).4 Iman and Ibraheem.

2 Ghassan and Khalid.

3 Khalid, Ghassan, tree.The first time I met Khalid we went to Kepi Cafe, across from his gallery in Paris Circle, and he told me all about his plans for the gallery.  At the time the gallery space was gutted. We also talked about doing a children’s recycled art workshop and Christmas party with an opening for the children’s art work.

It is now December 27. We held the children’s workshop in the gallery yesterday afternoon.6 workshop info.

Prior to the workshop I made twenty “recycled hair roller peeps.” Each child chose a hair roller peep to attach to their canvas with other assorted recycled objects.7 recycled hair roller peeps by Suzanne Klotz.

The workshop was a great success. Eighteen children attended, many accompanied by a parent. Some of the business owners in Paris Circle contributed bakery goods, drinks and gifts for the children. Khalid, Amira, Shaimaa and myself supervised and worked with the children. Aimman donated wonderful gifts for the children, watches and nail polish. A big hit!8 artists working.

27.23.24.22.25.21.20.19.18.14 artists working.13 artists working.12 artists at work.10 artists working.9 artists at work.8 artists working.28 workshop group.Tomorrow night, December 28, Young Eyes Gallery is hosting a party for the children and an opening exhibit of their art work. The public is welcome! Please come!recycle poster

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“Three Friends” at Night Gallery in Tempe, Arizona

Three Friends exhibition invitation
Three Friends exhibition invitation

December 7th was the opening night of an art exhibition entitled “Three Friends” at Night Gallery, located in Tempe Market Place in Tempe, Arizona. The three friends are two sculptors whose work I’ve admired for years, Brian Painter and Jim White, and myself. The exhibit runs until February 2, 2014. I wish I could see the show, but I don’t return to Arizona until February 1, 2014. I hope those of you who live in Arizona have a chance to see this exhibition! If you go, let me know what you think.

I was told I’ll be emailed some photographs and a video of the show. When I receive them I will put them on this blog. For now, I’ll show a couple images of our work in the show and the exhibition invitation.

3 Friends 4 Dimensions, is an exhibit of works that ‘play’ with the ‘4th dimension,’ or more simply, they explore ‘time.’ James White, senior faculty and Area Head in the Arizona State University Sculpture area, uses neon light to explore personal identity (in this exhibit represented in shifting sand). Suzanne Klotz is internationally known for her quirky, yet thoughtful paintings, embroidery/mixed media and sculpture. Brian Painter, head of the sculpture area at Northern Arizona University, is a nationally-known kinetic sculptor and metal worker who often uses humor in his art.

James white, Desert Wind Print
James white, Desert Wind Print 
James White, Desert Wind Print
James White, Desert Wind Print

http://jameswhitesculptor.com/portfolio/landscapes/desertwindprint/

Brian Painter, Fredonia
Brian Painter, Fredonia
Brian Painter, Fredonia
Brian Painter, Fredonia
Suzanne Klotz, Balance
Suzanne Klotz, Balance
Suzanne Klotz, Transitioned Souls
Suzanne Klotz, Transitioned Souls

www.suzanneklotz.com

http://tempemarketplace.com/nightgallery/

Catching Up: Synopsis

A lot has happened since my last blog. I’ve visited with lots of people, strengthened friendships with some exceptional people and had numerous thought-provoking experiences. It’s difficult to assimilate everything I’ve experienced. Because it’s too much at one time, I will pull all the pieces together after I get back to the States, but for the time being I’ll simply present people, places and things:

If you ever come to Jordan you must visit Majedah’s embroidery shop, Grand Mother’s Dress.  It is filled with gorgeous embroidered dresses and attire with both traditional and contemporary designs. Her shop is in Jabal Alnouza (near Al Hussein Camp), on the second street after the circle, across from the rear entrance of the Diplomatic Security building. It is open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm everyday except Friday. majeda_azyaa@yahoo.com  Mobile: 079-5021492  {Click on any image to enlarge}:

Majadeh’s employee demonstrating how to create a three dimensional embroidered flower by cutting the threads with a razor blade:

The following is a photo of Majedah wearing her unique design of a wedding hat. Traditionally the hat is made of woven hay.

Traditional wedding hat
Traditional wedding hat

The following is an image of a traditional woven bread plate:

Traditional woven bread plate
Traditional woven bread plate

After placing the wedding plate on top of her head, Majedah talked about the “Emily Post Etiquette” of traditional Palestinian weddings. The night before the wedding is called “Henna night.” Henna night is dedicated to decorating the bride with henna designs by a henna expert who accompanies the mother, aunt or sister of the groom and carries a large tray on her head filled with henna, flowers, candles, green branches, sugar, tea, coffee, chewing gum, nuts, and chocolate. The henna expert applies designs on the bride’s hands, feet, arms and one leg.

Majedah described the activities at a traditional Palestinian wedding, “The ladies dance with the bride. The unmarried girls pinch the bride while she is dancing for good luck, in hopes that they will marry soon. The wedding dress dance is comprised of dancing in front of the women while wearing a procession of seven dresses: white first, then red, green, pink, blue, beige and, lastly, black (symbolizing a bedouin). While wearing the black dress, she dances with her palm extended upward and the attendees put money in her hand.

On the afternoon prior to a wedding, a dinner is held under a tent for the groom, his male friends and the male family members of the bride and groom. After the dinner, the men form a procession and walk to the bride’s house carrying the groom on their shoulders. If the bride lives far away from the groom the groom is propped on top of a vehicle and driven to her house surrounded by cheering males.

An actual wedding procession to the bride’s house that blocked traffic for fifteen minutes:

After visiting Majedah’s shop we went to her house to visit with her mother, Zainab Ali Ibrahim Abu Alafa, in their traditionally furnished Palestinian home:

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Zainab displayed a dress she embroidered in a traditional Gaza embroidery design:Majedah's mother displaying her traditional dressMajedah’s mother displaying her traditional dress

I asked Zainab to share some stories about her youth in Palestine and how she ended up living in Jordan. Zainab was born in 1936 in Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira, located between Gaza and Jaffa. When I asked her to tell us about a joyful childhood memory she said, “I remember my dad carrying me on his shoulders to the sea. We spent the day picking fruit from the trees and eating it while walking.”

In 1948 Zainab’s family was forced to leave their home in Gaza during the war. Afraid of the approaching soldiers, they left at night carrying only the key to their house and the clothes they were wearing. They had been told that they would be able to return to their house in a week or two.

She remembers sleeping in the fields at night and walking from one village to the next, “We were 13 people sleeping in the cold outdoors under the stars. It was very cold and our father covered us with his clothes.” She talked about their farm in Gaza and what they used to plant, “We planted wheat, corn, sesame. The land gave us everything we needed to live, so we gave everything we had to the land.”

When Zainab was twelve years old, a sixty-three year old man who was a friend of her father asked for permission to marry her. Her father agreed. The marriage lasted for five years, during which time she gave birth to two boys. Her husband died and she was widowed at the age of seventeen.

Remembering her first marriage brought tears to her eyes and she was very upset, describing her marriage as a period of her life when she was very unhappy. After the death of her husband, her children were taken away by her husband’s family. Eventually she re-married, this time to her cousin, 3 years older than she was. In time, her second husband became her best friend and her most beloved.

During her second marriage she was happily married and lived in Jericho. In Jericho the United Nations provided food, tents, clothes and some clay shelters in the refugee camps. She stayed in Jericho for 12 years, until 1967, at which time they were forced to move again, this time to another country, Jordan. Zainab had 3 sons and 4 daughters from her second marriage.

When they arrived in Jordan they lived in Al-Karama camp for a week. Because it was over populated, they moved to Al-Husayn camp in Amman where they lived in tents.

Zainab’s daughter, Majedah, talked about her school in the camp. It was a tent and in the winter the rain flooded the dirt floor and it was extremely cold. Zainab added that prior to 1967 the men living in Jericho used to travel to Jordan to work and then return to Jericho.

Majedah and her mother, Zainab
Majedah and her mother, Zainab

Zainab refuses to move from the camp and live anywhere else. She said the only place she will move is back to her home in Palestine. She added, “Palestine is still my home. I will leave everything here right now and go back to my home in Palestine if I can. I will go back with only what I’m wearing.“

It is nearly impossible now for Palestinians who were forced out of Palestine in 1967 to get permission to reenter, even on a tourist visa.

Zainab has visited Palestine three times since being forced from her home in 1967: in 1999, 2005 and she can’t remember when the third visit was. She said that she went to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, and Jenin on a limited tourist visa.

When asked about her life in Palestine, she described the weather and said they did not use refrigerators even in the summer because the weather was so cool and the air was so clean. She talked about the life-supporting nature of the trees, foliage, wild flowers and herbs and that the villages lived off of what they grew and the animals they raised.

She related how dresses were made and embroidered in the past: “A group of women would sit together and sew on a dress for 45 days.” The group embroidery sessions were an important component of the women’s lives and they took great pride in their workmanship. She said the ukaiah, a traditional head piece trimmed in gold coins, was made and worn by women, and some women put a coin on their chest as a measure of good luck.

Ukaiah head piece with gold coins
Ukaiah head piece with gold coins

Pet birds in a room on the patio, another part of the roof houses chickens (used for eggs and food):

Majedah's sister
Majedah’s sister
Dinner at Majedah's–grape leaves and chicken
Dinner at Majedah’s–grape leaves and chicken

Preserving olives from roof top olive trees:

olives
olives
Suzanne in Palestinian dress
Suzanne in Palestinian dress
Suzanne in Palestinian dress
Suzanne in Palestinian dress

Leaving Majedah’s:

Mumtaaz!

The souk has every kind of fresh and tasty food imaginable, as well as coffee, tea, sweets and condiments.

Mohammad sells stencil tessellation kits on the sidewalk. I bought a couple of kits from him the other day, he makes creating them look very easy. I’m still trying to figure out how to make my stencils look even remotely like his. I gave one of the kits to Khalid (the Syrian boy visiting Yosef the barber). I’m quite sure Khalid will be able to teach me how to use my stencil tessellations in a few days. Khalid and I communicate very well, despite neither of us understanding a word the other one says. Well-meaning translators occasionally interrupt our chain of communication and, sadly when that happens, our great communication withers away until the translator disappears.

Mohammed, street tesselations
Mohammad, street tesselations

I now know four words in Arabic: shu-kran (thank you), mar-ha-ban (hello), jay-ed (good), and mum-taaz (excellent). I emailed my fake-adopted Palestinian brother, from twenty years ago, who lives in a refugee camp in Palestine and told him about my newly-acquired language skills. He emailed back, “My clever sister!”

Today Hanan, the artist, came over again with her daughter Amira, this time to work on the Seven Women’s House Keys canvas.

Hanan with canvas
Hanan with canvas

Amira is twenty-two years old. She knows four languages fluently: English, Japanese, Korean and Arabic. Yes indeed, I am a very clever sister with my four newly-acquired Arabic words!

Amira and Hanan
Amira and Hanan
Amira and Hanan working
Amira and Hanan working

Hanan brought her personal collection of embroidered yokes from Palestinian dresses and very generously donated them for appliquéd sections on the canvas.

Hanan's emboidery and painting
Hanan’s emboidery and painting

Hanan’s family house is in Jerusalem. When Hanan was twenty-two her mother taught her how to embroider a dress with the Jerusalem design. It is pictured on Hanan in the following photograph:

Hanan with historic book on Palestine
Hanan with historic book on Palestine

The city of Amman didn’t have street signs until a couple of years ago. When taking a taxi the directions normally do not include the street name or a property number, rather they include the name of the district and a specific mosque, church or large building near the destination. I just say “Weibdah, Paris Circle.” And, after being dropped off in front of Stop and Shop, I walk home.

My landlord, Imad Petro, is very excited about my project. Without any prodding, he asked if he could search through the shops in Downtown Amman to find seven house keys. His family’s house is in Bethlehem.  Imad, and his brother Samil, brought over seven house keys that Hanan quickly rejected, saying they were too large.

Suzanne and Imad with keys that are too large
Suzanne and Imad with keys that are too large

He then returned the keys and brought seven more back, as well as some Palestinian-embroidered coasters that can be cut up and appliquéd on the canvas.

New keys!
New keys!
Samil and Imad
Samil and Imad

Abu Darwish Mosque

Abu Darwish Mosque detail
Abu Darwish Mosque detail

It’s September 6th today. It would be nice to have a “secretary” accompanying me on my daily jaunts to record the historical and cultural information I’m bombarded with and the names of the people I meet. Alas, I don’t have a secretary; therefore, I must organize my thoughts and document things on my own:

The wonderful Nahid, tour guide and taxi service
The wonderful Nahid, tour guide and taxi service

Zohreh and I went out today with our personal cab driver and tour guide, Nahid. Our first stop was at a beauty shop, Salibah, where Zohreh had her hair cut for 10 JD.

Zohreh at #1 haircut salon
Zohreh at #1 haircut salon

After the haircut we proceeded to the Abu Darwish Mosque:

Abu Darwish Mosque
Abu Darwish Mosque

It was built in 1961 and commissioned by the late King Hussein of Jordan and Mustafa Jakazi at the top of one of Amman’s seven hills, Jebel Al-Ashrafiyeh. Non-Muslims are generally not permitted inside, but the views on the way up are good. Its pattern of alternating black and white stones draw on traditional Levantine architecture. It can accommodate more than 7000 worshipers.

There is an intriguing story about the genesis of the mosque’s construction that involves two men: a Christian man and a Muslim who were best friends. They would get together and talk at the Muslim man’s bar (where liquor was served/consumed). As the years went by, and with much consumption of alcohol, their talks turned into arguments and the two men began arguing about everything while their friendship totally deteriorated. The two men then agreed to redeem their friendship to ensure its continuation by the Muslim man tearing down his bar and building a mosque instead, and the Christian man building a church. No more alcohol = no more disputes. It represents each of them going back to following the teachings of their respective religions, and in so doing, redeeming and strengthening their bond of friendship, which continued until the day each died. In my opinion, the conservative architecture of the Christian church, and the L.A. “Watts Tower-esque” architecture of the mosque, visually demonstrate the extreme differences between the personalities of the two men.

Regardless of their differences, religious practices and personal beliefs, the mosque and the church represent the beauty and richness that can only be created through unity in diversity.

We then went to Nancy’s shop, next to the Roman Theatre, where I bought my hand-embroidered Palestinian dress yesterday. I left my dress with her to have it shortened. Nancy’s father owns a store similar to hers in the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem. I am now wearing two rings that I bought in her shop, one of which is as a faux wedding ring. I am not a “ring” person, but an individual’s association with “family identity” is very important here. The idea of an older woman being single with no children is comparable to being a person without an identity here – a very sad and unfortunate state. Considering I’m happy, and feel extremely fortunate not to have a husband and kids, it’s psychologically easier to appear to be married rather than appearing to be a poor, lost soul thrown out to the wolves.

Before leaving the downtown area, Zohreh and I strolled through a few of the nearby shops. Today is Friday. On Fridays after noonday prayers in the mosques there are demonstrations in the downtown area. Considering Zohreh and I represent what is being protested, we ended our tour for the day and returned to our separate abodes. I am now at home, being my own secretary and eating the food in my pantry. My next tourist expedition will be to the Stop and Shop in the Paris Circle, hopefully tomorrow.

Fulbright Peeps…

David, Suzanne and Randal

Dear People,

So sorry to have sent out eight links to the Old Citadel blog! I am still learning how to use WordPress. Hopefully nothing like that will happen again. 

These are photos of lovely Fulbright Peeps. I’d like to photograph all of the Fulbrighters here in Amman. So, please ask me to snap a couple of pics when I see you! We all need pics! Also, I am always more than happy to snap everyone’s picture, as you can see below! (click on images to enlarge):

Rainbow Street and Downtown

My new blouse, Rainbow Street
My new blouse, Rainbow Street

Today, September 5, Zohreh and I went to Rainbow Street and walked around. I bought a great blouse with numerous patterns and designs for 14JD, it was on sale from 20JD. I like the styles and fashion of the women’s clothing here. We then met David and Randall for lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant, a cross between Moroccan and Jordanian furnishings and lunch fare.
The four of us walked down the steps to Downtown Amman where there are endless dress shops and an outdoor covered fruit and vegetable market by the mosque.
I am being the typical tourist with camera in hand on all occasions. During all of my past international jaunts I felt self-conscious displaying a camera and ended up with very few photographs. Not this time! I’ll have plenty of visual references for the “nuances” of life here that I’ll want to reference in my future art.
That’s it for the “tourist day.” I’m now back inside my lovely apartment looking at the Old Citadel in the distance. I will spend a relaxing but treacherous few hours sewing beads on the canvas for the women’s art salon. I say treacherous because the beads are the size of seed beads and require extremely small needles. The needles have a habit of puncturing the tips of my fingers and the canvas is a very rough texture that scrapes skin off hands and forearms. Fun, fun! I bought white cotton gloves for the women to wear to protect their hands. I’ll try wearing a glove (with the tips cut off) for a change.
I am now drinking a cup of instant Arabic coffee, at least I think it is coffee. It kind of tastes like bullion, maybe it is. Bullion with milk and sugar isn’t the best drink in the world. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but it’s definitely “interesting.”

Image
Mosaic and rose

I’m posting the following three days late. Each day turns into the next day very fast here. One of these days I’ll catch up with myself.

Today is September 2nd. Mismar, the realtor who handled my apartment rental, is bringing over the four boxes I mailed three months ago via Diplomatic Pouch to the Fulbright House. Each box weighs forty pounds and is filled with art supplies for the women’s art salon. Once the boxes are in my apartment I will feel secure. The boxes are analogous to my future children, aka: my future works of art.

Image
“Mom” Susanna and my adopted Facebook “son” – Son Khaldoon

Later today at 4:00 pm I will be meeting with my Facebook-adopted son, Son Khaldoon, for the first time. We met on Facebook about three months ago. He is twenty-six, lives in the north near the border and takes a bus to Amman where he works at a bank. He is on vacation from the university where he’s studying for a Ph.D. in accounting. Claire, a  Fulbrighter, will be joining us. In Khaldoon’s last email to me he wrote, “You are my American friend.” I’m surprising him, he will soon get to know more than one American. Claire is a school teacher who, luckily for my son and I,  knows Arabic.

The people here are incredibly kind, patient, welcoming and generous. They seem to be from an altered universe, the kind of people that should be everywhere.

Onward! I’ll update the events of the day with photos:

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Orientation week

Hello to everyone!

1 Amman
1. Amman, view from hotel
2. Al Qasr Metropole Hotel view
2. Al Qasr Metropole Hotel view

Hello!

Since arriving in Amman on the 23rd and until a few days ago, I was staying in the AlQasr Metropole Hotel. Breakfast there was exotically delicious.

3. AlQasr Metropole breakfast
3. AlQasr Metropole breakfast

On September 30th, I rented a magnificent apartment in Jabel Al Weibdeh with a wonderful view of the Old Citadel. (Photos 4,5,6).

Entrance to apartment
4. Entrance to apartment
Living room view of old Citadel
5. Living room view of old Citadel
6. Sitting room in apartment
6. Sitting room in apartment

This past week we attended meetings during the mornings at the Fulbright House.

7. Fulbright House
7. Fulbright House

The information that was presented pertained primarily to social customs.

8. Fulbright House training
8. Fulbright House orientations

What did I learn? A lot. I developed a deeper understanding of the reasons certain social customs exist, primarily for strengthening the welfare and advancement of extended family. I’ll explain more about this at a later date, suffice it to say for now, the family works as a unit and each member’s behavior reflects on the economic and social advancement of the family.

On the walk to the Fulbright House we pass a city park that houses peacocks, chickens and various types of birds.

9. City bird park
9. City bird park

In the afternoons we were transported to various circles in Amman to see apartments for rent.

10. Fulbright group viewing apartments
10. Fulbright group viewing apartments

On the very first night I arrived, the 23rd, I smoked my first hubbly bubbly – watermelon flavored! It was good to puff on but too strong to inhale. The patrons at the cafe were primarily women, dressed in their best long black dresses (decorated with white beads on the neckline and shoulder areas). Hubbly bubbly (hooka) cafes appear to be the “in” place for women’s night out.

12. hubbly bubbly and capaccino
12. hubbly bubbly and capaccino

The second night, a few of the Scholars (Angela and her husband Stephen, Zohreh, David and I), ate dinner in the restaurant on the roof of the hotel.

14. Stephen, Zoreh, David, Suzie, Angela
14. Stephen, Zoreh, David, Suzie, Angela

The following are more photos taken during our orientation week:

Deserts and suitcases

Life and people in it can be equated to walking across a vast desert.

In order to be able to put relationships in perspective, I often ask myself: “Would I want to walk across the desert with that person?” If I suddenly were bit by a poisonous snake and yelled out to them “go on! save yourself,” would they leave me? The fact is: some people would, and some people wouldn’t. Some people might save only one specific person, and very few others would not leave another in the desert.

My heartfelt thanks and eternal gratitude to a few of my generous desert companions (who will remain anonymous). These folks made magnanimous, unsolicited donations to my art materials expenses for projects and even more generously purchased my art. I now have what is needed to conduct my art projects overseas. You, my “team,” and friends make the journey through the desert a productive and positive experience for all! I also want to thank those of you who contributed toward smaller specific costs for enabling those aspects of my larger projects to succeed.

In a couple of days I’ll be flying through the sky instead of packing and re-packing my two suitcases. Each suitcase has a weight limit of fifty pounds. It isn’t easy to keep the weight that low with tons of art supplies. So far, I’ve eliminated most of my clothes and personal possessions and kept the art materials, which is fine, since it is art (not clothes) that unifies humanity!!!!

I look forward to updating you again from Amman.