Playing Ketchup

Alright, far too much has happened for me to recap quickly. The weeks are flying by quicker and quicker and I’m going to be really sad when the program is over.

We’ve learned more about the tools of conservation. We worked with computer programs, learned architectural drawing techniques, and now we’re removing paint layers and cleaning wall paintings in Tel Aviv! Here are photos from two weeks ago:

We arrived to find that part of the aqueduct had been demolished!

Here's the area we all were working on: the siphon

We received our tools! Trowel and masterina!

David performed the official tool receiving ceremony. Benji is  receiving his tools.

Work work work: cleaning, filling, pointing!

Left to right: Khail, Courtney, and Benji show off their work!

 Then we had a tour in Haifa!

Crazy images in the Carmelite station! The Carmelite is the tram that goes up and down the mountain in Haifa.

We had to take the tram up to the top because that's where the walking tour started!

We walked all the way down the mountain.

Khail sat on some street art...

Street art. They have a program where the children in Haifa get together and decorate this one single street. 

This was the coolest thing I've ever seen...

Additionally, I have solidified my final project with Shelley and David! I will be working in Akko’s Christian graveyard! Shelley and David were very receptive to my idea and have already given me some tips for getting things started. I’ve also already contacted the volunteers there and they are very excited to have me help them!

I have also discovered the beauty of Tel Aviv! My previous interactions with the city were never very positive, but this week has turned my opinion completely around. I now know far more about the city so that I can really appreciate it for what it is. The atmosphere is very casual and accepting. Youthful. It’s a youthful city, barely 100 years old. The architecture is a mix of eclectic and international (“Bauhaus”) and the graffiti art is fantastic! I never got a picture of the eggplants…nuts…

This was also a very crazy and hectic workweek. We immediately went to work when we arrived and worked straight through till just about midnight, working, touring, lectures. It was nearly the same the whole week. Our work involved exposing the original stencil paintings of a run-down eclectic-style house from around 1930. This was a very unique experience for us because we were dealing with a part of Israeli national history that is not protected by antiquities law. Under the antiquities law, anything before 1750 is considered an antiquity and protected, everything after is almost completely ignored and destroyed with little appreciation. In the beginning of the 1900s in Israel, massive amounts of Jewish immigrants were settling in Tel Aviv from Europe. The people decided they needed an architectural identity and developed an amalgamation of European architecture and used stenciling to decorate their homes. The stenciling was developed by many individuals and can be seen all over Israel, but they were lost to the International style and more modern forms of architecture, demolished and painted over and forgotten. Until about 20 years when an eccentric man named Shay (our supervisor for the project) discovered the stencils on a lone fallen wall where aging, rain, and weathering revealed the original stenciling. He has since moved furiously to reveal and identify stenciling all over Israel, particularly Tel Aviv, and gain appreciation and protection for this old national domestic art form. The house we worked on in particular ended up being very special because there were many free-hand scenery paintings on the ceilings. Here are some photos from the area I worked on!

House across the street in classic Israeli eclectic style

This is the specific area I worked in!

Really interesting elements.

Benji working hard. We needed face masks and goggles and used scalpels to scrap off the paint layers above the stenciling.

Outside of our building.

Nadine working hard, standing on the scaffolding.

This was extremely dirty work! Everything we own is covered in dust. But it was such a great week, despite being so desperately tired. Next week is Pesach (Passover) Break and I will be traveling with my dear friend, the wickedly intelligent Katy! Yay! I am very much looking forward to it! After Pesach will continue to be very busy and I’m hoping to squeeze in an update before the workweek starts.

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