Where you may only see an ordinary street bench, Talya Tomer-Schlesinger sees a canvas. The Jerusalem-based artist recently brightened the streets of Bethlehem with a guerrilla embroidery project, weaving colorful strips of recycled fabric into the backs and seats of bus stop benches. Tomer-Schlesinger, a recent graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, specializes in working with recycled and salvaged materials to create eco-friendly art.
The director of the Baka community commissioned Tomer-Schlesinger’s colorful interventions for an upcoming arts festival. The bench art went viral on Facebook after a user posted a picture, setting off a search for the then relative unknown young artist. In an interview with ynet, Tomer-Schlesinger says the benches’ open grid backs reminded her of her grandmother’s embroidery grids, which became the inspiration for the project.
The benches’ woven nature-inspired designs are made from strips of unwanted fabrics and are arranged into the shapes of flowers and leaves. Tomer-Schlesinger also invites interested community members to participate and beautify the benches with her.