Tsfat is a place of art. Painters, potters, weavers, sculptors and photographers sit in studios along alleyways in the Old City. Footsteps echo atop cobblestones that fringe enigmatic sapphire walls. Hand-painted gates open onto hushed courtyards and homes with soaring domes.
One of the most mystical forms of art in Tsfat is glassblowing. Sheva Chaya, the resident glassblower, has a beautiful gallery accessed through her sweet courtyard. When she demonstrates her art, she is happy to share her spiritual connection to this medium, explaining that when the breath blows, it is transforming a hard substance into a soft, glowing piece.
Gianni twirled, twisted and mixed the glass with other colors. Mesmerized, we sat quietly as he used tweezers to pinch and squeeze the glowing glass. When he finally presented a miniature piece of glass art, we were in awe; he had created a miniature chassid complete with a beard and curled payot, scholarly glasses -- even astute eyebrows. His next creation of the evening was a ‘yad’ for reading the Torah. His creation wore a long patterned blue sleeve with a cuff extending to a hand and a pointer finger. We could make out a vein running to the palm, tendons, tiny bones and even finger nails on each curled finger. His attention to detail was incredible.
It was an honor to be able to watch a master at work in his moment of creation. We witnessed how a basic dimension is fused into a higher one. Or, as Sheva Chaya so beautifully explains, we experienced art meeting faith.
The art of glassblowing represents a fusion of Kabbalah and art in an ancient city that, to this day, emulates its original inspiration. For people who love history, art and mysticism, Tsfat will blow you away (no pun intended) And when you visit, head to Sheva Chaya’s studio. Her gallery is a five-minute walk from Villa Tiferet.