The route to finding those unique one-of-a-kind souvenirs is one of the most delightful pastimes of any Holy Land tour. Of course there are numerous  galleries to choose from and a dearth of souvenir shops eagerly willing to take your money. But what is most memorable is finding that special something just when you least expect it.

That’s exactly what happened on a recent trip to Mizpe Hayamin hotel, a charmingly rustic organic spa property nestled in the Galilean hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the Hula valley and Golan Heights that lay beyond to the east. Drawn there for some rest and relaxation (during the most recent spate of hostilities) we participated in the hotel’s daily organic farm tour led by a local agricultural expert and Galilee resident. It was during this two hour walking tour that we happened upon a small art gallery situated in an area that we never would have found had our guide not walked us through the small building behind the property en route to the fields. The gallery offers a unique array of handmade jewelry, ceramics and other items made strictly by renowned artists from all over the Galilee who the hotel owner has cleverly brought together under one roof. The back room featured a temporary exhibition by artist Aviva Sawicki, a local Galilean resident, who has specialized in recycled paper for the last 13 years.

Aviva Sawicki recycled dress design

Aviva Sawicki recycled dress design, photo courtesy Elisa Moed for

In this new exhibition, however, Sawicki focuses her attention on recycling one of most detrimental of products in terms of its environmental destruction – plastic bags. She fuses together colored bags to create lovely, vibrant dresses in the hope that her creations will provide a greater awareness of environmental issues. By focusing on dresses – she effectively reminding us that we are a consuming society. According to her website, one of Sawicki major interests is to focus her work on materials used daily and to hopefully leave a tangible record of our world in the 21st century.”

Mizpe Hayamim was an incredibly relaxing hotel and I give it the highest recommendation for people seeking a quiet respite, unparalleled spa services, and excellent food- but discovering this charming art gallery was a huge and unexpected bonus.

To learn more about Anna visit her website.



Categories: Art, Culture

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