Your local guide for the day is Maro Sandrouni, a local Armenian artist who specialises in fashion and embroidery. Maro is the only daughter of the famous Sandrouni family, known for their beautiful handmade ceramics.
As we get to know each other, we’ll take a stroll through the old city of Jerusalem, through the New Armenian section and into the Jewish Quarter to meet with Benny Heifetz, a silversmith who has lived here for 30 years. Benny makes his intricate jewellery right there in his shop and everything you see is handmade by him. The designs are intricate and based on modern Judaica. We’ll chat about his work, his ancestry and his life in Jerusalem and we’ll discover what each of his different designs means to the Jewish faith.
There are no big craft supply shops in Jerusalem; instead Maro will take you through the Muslim and Christian Quarters of the city, stopping at shops where she buys raw materials for her embroidery. We’ll pick up fabric in one shop, thread from another and so on and chat with local vendors as we go.
We’ll then make our way to Maro’s own shop and workshop for a very special embroidery lesson. We’ll talk about why embroidery has been an essential part of the lives of Palestinian women for centuries and find out what the different stitches, colours and designs mean to them.
You can have a go at embroidering a pair of earrings or a pendant to take home as a souvenir from your trip or as a gift for a loved one.
To finish your workshop tour of Jerusalem, we’ll take a walk around the corner to Razzouk’s Tattoo shop. This legendary shop has been in Jerusalem for over 700 years, tattooing religious symbols on visiting pilgrims, as a testament of their pilgrimage. If you wish to prove that you have completed your pilgrimage to the holiest of cities, you should get yourself a Jerusalem cross tattoo. Alternatively, Razzouk’s youngest heir has introduced all kinds of new designs!