Origami and cacti

Sima Rolnick calls her home in Tzur Yigal, where she lives with her husband, Aryeh, “an interior designer’s worst nightmare.”

Sima Rolnick's home (photo credit: Uriel Messa)
Sima Rolnick's home
(photo credit: Uriel Messa)
Sima Rolnick calls her home in Tzur Yigal, where she lives with her husband, Aryeh, “an interior designer’s worst nightmare.”
With different collections everywhere, an assortment of antique furniture from the US and examples of her origami creations popping up in the most unlikely places, the crowded, cluttered home is a world apart.
“One of the reasons my house is so full of junk is that I see creative potential in everything,” says Rolnick, who made aliya from America in 1977.
She and Aryeh lived for years in a Kfar Saba boarding school where he was the deputy principal, and they always had a small house on the grounds. She was a teacher of music theory at the Katznelson high school and also at the city’s music conservatory.
She still manages the Zamir Choir, an enterprise very close to her heart.
“Hazamir is the international organization of Jewish high-school mixed choirs,” she explains. “It’s one of the few activities which mixes religious and secular teenagers, boys and girls. Next year we will be appearing at Carnegie Hall.”
The Rolnicks moved to Tzur Yigal, close to Kochav Yair, in 1998.
“My mother made aliya at the age of 82 and we wanted a house which would be appropriate for her, too, as she was going to be living with us,” recounts Rolnick.
Her mother brought many pieces of furniture from Florida where she had been living, but if there is a unifying factor among the varying aspects of the home, it is Rolnick’s origami – a craft in which she is an acknowledged expert.
She is the director of the Folders’ Club of the Israel Origami Center, and explains that the club is for a group of people whose hobby is folding paper.
Rolnick says she got into origami about 25 years ago, when she saw a sonobe – a modular cube made out of several pieces of different colored papers – made by one of her pupils. She learned origami from a book but nowadays one can learn it easily from the Internet.
She explains what she finds attractive in origami.
“You look at a piece of paper – it’s a flat, plain thing – and you can give it dynamism, give it life,” she says. “It’s very satisfying and I like the creative challenge, what you can do with colors and different kinds of paper.”
The various collections around the home mostly belonged to Rolnick’s mother. There are bells, trivets, candlesticks, pewter and in the bedroom, a collection of stuffed and fluffy lions of all shapes and sizes, inspired by her son-in-law Aryeh (lion in Hebrew).
“My mother started that collection as soon as I married a lion,” smiles Rolnick.
Among the antiques her mother brought are two Stickley chairs, a polished chest of drawers and a small table in the living room which she thinks is at least 200 years old. On this table stands a bronze lamp, also acquired in the US, with the words “Ben-Porat Yosef” inscribed on it in English and Arabic. She has no idea where it came from or its history. Her mother found it at some sale she went to when she still lived in America.
“When you walk into my house you tend to look up,” says Rolnick.
Many furnishings are suspended from the ceiling, especially origami creations. Over the Chinese rosewood dining table – one of the few pieces of furniture actually acquired here – hangs a blueand- white mobile, which is one of the things Rolnick makes and sells at various arts and crafts sales around the country.
In the garden, the cactus corner stands out with its curious and varied plants. Aryeh likes to look after the garden and he’s good at it, according to his wife. They are especially fond of the cactus garden, as it requires so little attention.
At one point, one of their pine trees was tilting. They decided they would have to cut it down, so they used the trunk as the base for a handy table. Next to it stands a tree with a funny face. Apparently this is now the last word in garden décor, and tree faces in abundance are available on eBay.
“We tend to use our tree trunks,” notes Rolnick.