Batya Erdstein Pottery Safed
|Play 'n Clay Pottery Experience and Ceramics Shop|
|Opportunity to view functional high-firing stoneware and participate in pottery classes and workshops|
Batya Erdstein runs a pottery studio in Safed. She invites tourists to view her ceramics work or sign up for a one-time pottery workshop or a series of ceramics classes.
Batya was born and grew up in San Diego but never touched a potter’s wheel until she was 20. While living in a small Israeli village she arranged to clean a potter’s studio in exchange for pottery classes. It was there that she found herself entranced by the possibilities that is presented when working with clay.
Batya continued on to study nursing, specializing in helping women in childbirth. She never lost her interest in pottery, however, and when her family moved into an old stone house on the edge of the Artists Quarter she took steps to open her own pottery studio and gallery. She took some classes with noted Tzfat potter Daniel Flatauer but developed her own style and techniques through trial and error.
While running her pottery studio, Batya continued her nursing studies, obtaining Israeli licensing and moving on to begin studying for certification as a certified midwife.
Batya sees her pottery work as a continuation of her midwifery studies. She notes that, in the Bible, Pharoah sought to destroy the Jewish people by killing Jewish boys at birth, but the Jewish women gave birth so quickly on the אובניים “ovnai’im” -- birthing stool -- that the birth was over and the boys safely hidden before Pharoah’s soldiers could reach the newborns.
“Ovnai’im” is also the word that refers to a potter’s wheel, Batya explains. This is appropriate, given that both involve processes of creation. Molding objects from clay allows Batya to continue her work of helping to create a new being.
Batya continues to assist women during childbirth and plans to continue her studies to become a certified midwife when her own children are a little older.
Batya exhibits many different types of ceramics in her studio which include functional ceramics such as cups, plates, serving dishes and pots. She also creates Judaica ceramics including mezuzza covers, candlesticks, menorahs, kiddush cups and havdallah sets.
 Workshops and Classes
Batya offers a number of pottery classes for adults and children alike. These sessions run for several months at a time and are divided by age, with classes offered for older women as well as for children. There are separate classes for boys and girls.
In addition, the "Tsfat Pottery Experience" provides opportunities for individuals, families and groups to come to the studio and enjoy a pottery encounter. The interactive experience is appropriate for children and adults and allows participants to experience the potters wheel, make their own clay object and take their creation home with them.
Batya’s studio is located on Alorzoroff Street just below the Judith Gallery near Keren HaYesod Street.