Left, “Bedouin” Pitchers; right, Sharon Tal of MASKIT.
By Danielle Crittenden Frum
MASKIT is the iconic Israeli fashion house, founded by Ruth Dayan in the early 1950s and recently revived by Israeli-born designer Sharon Tal, formerly of Alexander McQueen. Legendary for its beautifully cut, hand-sewn, and hand-embroidered clothing and accessories line, Sharon has branched out into objects for the home inspired by natural materials found in the landscape of her homeland.
Appropriately, “maskit” is a Biblical word for an ornamental object. Fig Tree & Vine is thrilled to carry a collection of these stylish, modern, and unique pieces — all of them a joint production with the women of Segev Shalom, the second largest Bedouin community in the Negev desert. Sharon is staying true to Ruth’s original mission, which was to employ the skills of talented women arriving from different cultures who were arriving in waves to the newly formed Jewish state and needed employment.
While these women may not have spoken Hebrew or had professional skills, Ruth recognized that they brought other, unique talents to their new homeland, including expertise in embroidery, ceramics, and weaving. Sharon continues to seek out these talents in the immigrant and indigenous cultures in Israel today.
The result is a stunning, modern collection with an earthy feel and connection to Israel’s landscape. The beechwood candle holders, inset with 14k-gold-plated taper holders, were inspired by the ancient ruins at Caesarea; the generously sized “Zenab” ceramic platter comes in several colors and handwoven in different patterns of leather; the wide, shallow “Zenab” bowl, with a rim handwoven in leather, was inspired by Oriental pastries; the Dead Sea stone bud vases are crafted from rocks collected by Bedouin women in the Negev. These are just a few of the treasures from the collection. They are currently unavailable anywhere else, unless you are lucky enough to visit MASKIT’s flagship headquarters in Jaffa.
All items are shipped directly from MASKIT, beautifully labeled and packaged. They make for ideal wedding or housewarming gifts, although I find whenever I buy something from MASKIT, I always want to keep it for myself…