Textile designer weaves tapestry of her life in Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 3, 2021

Carol Racklin-Siegel was born with the innate eye of an artist. The combination of painting classes, art camps and Hebrew school during her childhood in Los Angeles may have been the formula that cemented her enthusiasm for expressing herself visually and often within a Jewish context.

Now, Im doing works based on my original passion, which is patterns in nature, she says. Im obsessed with the colors and patterns on animals like fish, birds and butterflies. I am making what I call appliqud tapestries: embroidered images appliqud on dyed raw silk.

In her home studio in Efrat, Carol currently is completing a tapestry depicting a koi pond, with each golden fish appliqud separately.

She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, clear across the United States from her birthplace. However, her freshman year was devoted to liberal arts studies at Scripps College, one of seven colleges sharing a campus in Los Angeles County. There, at a Hillel event on campus, she met Paul Siegel.

The two kept up a long-distance relationship and wed in March 1980 after completing their respective degrees. His job took them to Denver, Colorado, where Carol put her studies in fabric painting and batik to work as a designer of hand-painted fabrics for interior designers.

Id worked at California Dropcloth, a company that innovated the art of throwing paint on canvas and upholstering furniture with it, she explains. I refined that technique a bit. My fabrics were featured in interior design trade showrooms in LA, Denver, Chicago, Miami and New York. Surface design is what I love to do.

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Our Shabbos table was filled with stories about Israel and the miraculous things that happened to my husband there, Carol relates.

Rachel, born in 1983; Jackie, born in 1985; and Daniel, born in 1988, attended Ramah camps every summer in California, instilling in them a love of Judaism and Zionism and giving them a basis in spoken Hebrew.

Jackie spent a semester of high school in Jerusalem at Goldstein Youth Village and that was the catalyst for her to want to live in Israel, says Carol. Rachel transferred from the University of Colorado to finish her degree at the Hebrew University. The two girls made aliyah together in 2004.

At the time, Carols widowed father was living with the family in Denver. So we couldnt go at that point, but we were working toward it, she says.

Once her father passed away, Carol agreed the time was right to fulfil Pauls long-held dream.

The hardest part was leaving my son and my sister, who both still live in Denver. Daniel is married with a little girl, and we just visited them for the first time in two years, she relates.

Carol and Paul started out in Jerusalems Rehavia neighborhood. We loved it there, but we were constantly coming to Efrat to visit friends. And then Rachel and Jackie and their families moved to Efrat, and I wanted to be near them and our friends, she explains.

Paul agreed it was best to move, and the couple is relishing their involvement in the day-to-day lives of their seven bilingual Israeli grandchildren. Twice a week, Carol hosts the kids in age-appropriate groups for art lessons in the bedroom she turned into a studio.

We have a lot of fun up there. Its good for them and its good for me, she says.

For someone with a heightened appreciation for the patterns in nature, Efrat is a good match. I love it here. I love the spectacular views and the changing seasons, Carol relates.

She and Paul enjoy best of all feeling so naturally Jewish here. In Denver there was only one kosher restaurant. In Israel it was like coming to a kosher Disneyland, she says.

We also go to wineries with friends and spend weekends up north. I often go swimming at Ramat Rachel. Its an incredible life here.

They celebrated their 40th anniversary with a trip to Tahiti and hope to see more of the world in the coming years.

Paul has parlayed his experience as a business consultant with Oracles JD Edwards software division into a new business. He realized there were global companies operating with JD Edwards here in Israel, but they could not use the software because it was not compliant with Israeli tax laws. So he localized the JD Edwards software specifically for Israel, Carol explains.

Because of his business interactions, Paul has improved his Hebrew with private lessons from Hebrew University and has progressed farther in his speaking skills than has Carol, who doesnt interact with Hebrew-speakers as much. Although she got a good start from five months at Ulpan Morasha in Jerusalem after their 2007 arrival, she wishes her Hebrew were better and advises anyone contemplating aliyah to put an effort into learning the language first.

Perhaps the couples approach to lifes challenges is best summed up in a version of a quotation attributed to 1920s US President Calvin Coolidge, which Carol clipped from a newspaper and posted in their kitchen: Press on! Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unrewarded talent. Education alone will not. The world is full of educated failures. Persistence alone is omnipotent.

Says Carol, Its a matter of setting your mind to a goal. If you keep working at it, and keep going, it will happen.

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Textile designer weaves tapestry of her life in Israel - The Jerusalem Post

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