Pottery art in Jerusalem

Pottery at Altogether 8

It now ensures that we have more variety and a high quality of work,
says Cecilia Lind, an artist who joined Altogether 8 three years ago and is now one of 15 artists in the new joint cooperative.  “We are getting used to working together and rebranding ourselves.” For nearly 30 years, Cadim and 8 Altogether were two different shops on two different sides of Yoel Solomon Street, run by two different groups of local artists. In January, they merged, with the artists of Altogether 8 moving into Ruach Cadim and bringing their wares and–their sign–with them. Ranging in ages from 28 to 84 and hailing from all over the country the group is still getting to know each other, but the artists say the larger cooperative will help them do better work and still keep prices affordable for customers.  The cooperative nature allows the artists to split the overhead for renting and running the shop, as well as for other expenses like marketing and accounting.  Each artist works in the shop a couple of days a month, with their other days free to spend in their studios.  They meet once a month for a potluck meal to get to know each other better and deal with the logistics of running the shop.
We are really a community, and support each other,
says Lind, who lives in the Greek Colony, where she has an in-home studio. The ceramics in the united shop range from Boris Katz’s whimsical lion-shaped Hanukkah menorah to Amnon Israeli’s peacock-adorned bowls to Ruthie Simon’s blue and white kiddush cups.  Lind’s work includes a ceramic tea set with stripes and other textures embedded in the clay, and painted in greens and blues. “The work here, it’s modern but it pays respect to the city,” Lind says as she was working in a the shop on a recent Friday. “It’s an old art form, but maybe used in a new way. So it’s like when they build a new building in Jerusalem, but they still use the same kind of stones and the same architecture, like the arched doorways.” Simon says the colors in her work are inspired by the white stone of the city’s buildings and the often clear blue sky.  She also incorporates pomegranates, grapes and other local fruits into her designs.
Jerusalem definitely influences my work,
says Simon, who was born in the coastal city of Ashkelon, but has lived and worked in an old stone house in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood for more than three decades. But it’s not just the city that influences her work, but also its people, and the people who visit, whom she often meets when it’s her turn to work in the shop. “It’s really an intimate meeting between the artists and the people who come into the shop,” Simon says.  “I get inspiration and ideas from them.”