In every culture, women have been in charge of the housekeeping. Their days were filled with washing clothes, cooking and caring for children. This environment often gave them the opportunity to create handicrafts or art on a small scale. The arts of embroidery, knitting and weaving have traditionally been women’s arts, helping give birth to a material culture.
Most of their creations were never publically displayed but used by members of the household. By making clothes, weaving pots and creating adornments, women enriched their world. Most handicrafts used natural materials and, unfortunately, many of the items have not survived over the centuries.
The women of the Mate Yehuda region have come from all parts of the globe; many brought with them their knowledge of handicrafts and skills that have been passed down through the generations. In their youth, many women abandoned handicrafts to focus on the hard labor of working a farm and surviving financially. Now that they are older, with plenty of free time, they are returning to their traditional handicrafts, colors and creations. Traditional materials and motifs might be replaced with new materials and designs, but their work still retains a unique ethnicity. And while many women may use similar techniques, the results vary greatly because each craftswoman uses the particular designs and materials from her home country.
The handicrafts created by the women of our region are often the level of art. Many returned to these crafts as a way to pass the time but quickly turned their hobby into a way to make money. Young and old, the women of Mate Yehuda work with clay, embroider, knit and more. The younger craftswomen use more modern techniques and motifs, while older craftswomen draw heavily on what they learned in their youth.