Olive Wood Carvings from The Holy Land
It is well known that the olive branch symbolizes Peace; this also applies to the wood. Olive wood trees can live to be thousands of years old, and are harvested not only for olives but also for their wood. Branches are handled with care and must dry for one to two years before carving begins, even longer on the larger pieces.
The carving of olive wood and Mother of Pearl is a Christian tradition around the Bethlehem area, with the majority in Beit Sahour. You may not have heard of this small town, but Beit Sahour is the sight of the Shepherds Field, where Angels descended on shepherds tending their flock and told them of the birth of Christ.
Born in Beit Sahour, Khaled Hannoona started carving olive wood at the age of fifteen. Working with other carvers, he learned all aspects of handling olive wood and was soon recognized as one of the top artisans for his artistic talent. Five years later he was able to purchase equipment and open his own shop.
Each finished piece may be the results of several attempts. This is especially true for the larger pieces, where six or more pieces may need to be started before one can be completed, because imperfections inside the wood do not appear until considerable work has been done.
This Christmas, Khaled will be opening a Kiosk at Paradise Valley Mall from November 16th - December 25th to share all the new olive wood carvings he has brought with him. Please stop by and take a look at all the pieces that have been hand made by your brothers and sisters in christ in Bethlehem. The Kiosk will be located close to the food court, stop by and see the pieces yourself!
Paradise Valley mall is located on 4568 E. Cactus Rd, Phoenix AZ, 85032.