Naomi Zamir displays quilts at Café Zoë to raise awareness about the Day Worker Center of Mountain View
One thing Willows neighborhood resident Naomi Zamir wants to make very clear to her interviewer: “The story is not about me.” We were visiting with Naomi at Café Zoë, where quilts she created in partnership with people who had come seeking jobs at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View are on display.
“The most important thing about the exhibit is the people behind the panels,” she explained. “That’s what I hope people will see when they stop by the Café.”
The exhibit is titled Traveling Stitches: Quilts Made at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, and this is its fourth showing to the public, with the hopes that it will continue to tour, raising awareness about the Center. “We don’t sell the quilts as we want to continue to travel so that people know about the Center so they can hire the workers from there. These are people who really want to work.”
Naomi, who was born in Israel, has lived in Menlo Park since 2000. After she stopped working, she got involved with the Day Worker Center. She explains: “There are some very dedicated volunteers there who teach English, computers, and other classes. Since I have a background in art and music, I thought that might be another way for workers to practice their English. I also took it as an opportunity to practice my Spanish.
“To me, sitting around the table and doing some form of hand work is a very relaxing and fun way to pass the time and to get to talk with each other. We started making greeting cards for the holidays. Then I brought the different pieces of cloth that I got from FabMo, and we started the journey of the quilts.
“The format of a quilt was the best choice for representing the images and describing the workers’ experience. The squares depict the stories, memories, dreams, ideas and hopes of the day workers. Unfortunately, we do not have the names of all the workers who contributed to this wonderful project.”
Along with the workers, Naomi credits Café Zoë owner Kathleen Daly for bringing the quilt exhibit to a Menlo Park audience. There will be a reception open to the public on Sunday, Oct. 12 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Café. On sale will be handbags and photo cards of the quilts with proceeds benefiting the Day Worker Center. Naomi hopes those who can’t attend the reception will donate directly to the Center, which is raising money to rebuild its kitchen.
Photos by Irene Searles