JCC puts quilts from Israeli artists on display

Wednesday, June 16, 2010  11:19 AM


ThisWeek Staff Writer

By Chris Parker/ThisWeek

(Above) Bella Kaplan and Maya Chaimovich have their photographs taken in front of their quilts hanging on the wall in the Jewish Community Center on June 11. Kaplan and Chaimovich, both from Israel, were in town for the kickoff event for the summer quilt exhibition at the center.

Twelve artists from Israel are displaying their quilts at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus through August. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Each artist participating in "Local Visions: Landscapes of Israel" could choose a place or view in Israel that she loves, Hani Hara, the JCC visual arts committee chair, said June 11, the day the exhibit opened.

The quilts feature a variety of places including the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, an Arab village, the city of Modiin and a kibbutz, or local farming community.

The quilts are on display in the lobby of the JCC, 1125 College Ave. Most of the quilts are for sale and range in price from $945 for "Old and New in Modiin" to $4,050 for "Fields Down the Valley."

The Israel Quilters Association was founded in 1992 with the objective of promoting textile art (quilting and patchwork) in Israel. According to a release from the organization, interest in the art form has grown and there are now 300 registered members. The artists with quilts on display at the JCC are members of the association.

"This is our third exhibit," said Hara. "It has been so well received. We love being a part of this and seeing how their work evolves."

For the exhibit, each of the women created a large quilt and a smaller quilt inspired by one of the quilts of her fellow artists.

Artist Maya Chaimovich designed "Rusty Forever," which tells the story of the kibbutz Yad Mordechai, where she was born and her 95-year-old mother still lives. Members of her kibbutz came from Poland, she said.

"It means a lot to me," she said of her kibbutz.

Chaimovich said her quilts were made from old clothing and clothing picked up at flea markets.

Artist Bella Kaplan created "On Ardon Stream" after a trip to the Ardon River in Russia. She was impressed with the colorful layers of rock, soil, debris and cracks in the stone. Her quilt features the desert in southern Israel and the wall of the river, she said.

"I took a lot of pictures and put the pictures near my work," she said.

Kaplan has been making quilts for more than 20 years and was a ceramic artist before that. She said she dyed all the fabric in her quilt.

"This is my first time being here," she said. "I am very excited. This is a very good place to show a quilt."

JCC assistant executive director Tim Kaufmann said the quilt display offers visitors an opportunity to see beautiful artwork that "you are not going to see in very many galleries," in central Ohio, the Midwest or the United States.

"It just beautifies our whole space," he said. "We have a rather cavernous lobby and having artwork on the walls makes it a more aesthetically pleasing space for our members."