Monday, May 9, 2011

'Perfect Balcony' Project

The house of my childhood had a fairly large garden, dominated by a majestic nut tree and populated by lots of flowers, peaches, gooseberries, grapes, strawberries, table with benches, resting chairs, cats, dog and occasional chicken.

I never had a balcony before, so planning our perfect balcony was one of my challenges after moving into the new apartment 2 years ago. My wishlist inventory included an Armenian coffee table (lower that eyebrow, I'll explain) with 2 wooden resting chairs complete with footstools and matching cushions, a small herb 'garden', a griller, a climber, a mini-citrus and wind chimes. I started with much enthusiasm, decided to report successful completion in a blogpost, and even took pictures along the way.

A colleague of mine and proud owner of an ample collection of Armenian ceramics, introduced me to this world. You'd think Armenian ceramics are to be found in Armenia. Wrong. Turns out there are none there (I can attest the weirdness), and the best place to buy them is ... Jerusalem. If you still don't believe me, just google it up! The few rival Armenian ceramic artist families in Jerusalem claim their pieces are hand made, while the others' are mass produced. I just trusted my colleague's judgement and went to visit Arman Darian's shop on 12 Shlomtzion Hamalka st., Jerusalem. The shop was crammed with lots of pieces, one more beautiful than the other. I couldn't decide which way to look, it felt like being in Hansel and Gretel of Armenian ceramics.

There was progress and there was regression. The herb garden was nice, then some herbs died. The wooden resting chairs and matching cushions are in place, but without footstools. The Armenian table by Arman featuring the seven biblical kinds [of crops in the land of Israel] was beautiful, then the varnish popped and 2 tiles cracked. The griller is there and works well and much. Never got to the climber, mini-citrus and wind chimes, but have a small olive tree in a pot.

After more than a year later, I realized I won't achieve perfection (how stupid of me to even assume I would), as the balcony project is more an ongoing process than a task with a distinct endpoint. Today it's time to decorate the balcony with flags for Independence Day. Happy birthday, Israel!

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