Limmud Baltimore

Posted by on Jun 6, 2012 in News, Upcoming Events | 0 comments

Limmud Baltimore

Sunday, June 10, 2012 a the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Baltimore, I’ll be leading a session on the legacy of the Triangle Fire at Baltimore’s first Limmud program.  As part of the full day of learning, I’ll be sharing our activist history through Yiddish song, anecdotes, biographies, and archival photos. I expect the learning will take place in all directions, since participants at events like this always bring fresh perspctives and their own family histories of labor activism to the program!  Here’s a link to the event:  ...

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Israeli Wildflowers Ketubah

Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News | 0 comments

Israeli Wildflowers Ketubah

A couple with deep connections to the land of Israel chose to have me embellish their ketubah with a garden of protected Israeli wildflowers.  As simple as this sounds – ‘just’ flowers – the challenge is to balance color, size, shape, and height to make the design ‘read’ as an aesthetic whole. I love painting wildflowers.  They are so much more cooperative than birds because they never fly away, and they generally look just like the examples in the field guides! I find that once I’ve spent hours drawing from life and then incorporating the images into a painting, that encountering the same flowers in the future feels like bumping into old friends. The 22K gold leaf which is applied to the first word of the ketubah (b’echad) and the text from Torah that forms the ribbon across the flowers is laid on a ground of Secotine, a fish-based glue that has been used for centuries in Jewish...

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Yiddish in Pittsburgh

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in News, Upcoming Events | 0 comments

Yiddish in Pittsburgh

On June 3, 2012, Lauren Brody and I will  settle in at the JCC in Pittsburgh for a pair of concerts designed to complement the Jewish Museum’s exhibit on the artists who illustrated the works of Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer.   At 10 am we will bring a menagerie of animals (in song only!), props, costumes, and sing-along lyrics to a family concert that will recreate aspects of Singer’s world and bring some of his stories to life.  Then at 3 pm, we’ll be on the stage for a full concert with accordion and piano as well as our blended voices to highlight some of Singer’s works for an adult audience.  While some of his illustrators had Eastern European Jewish roots, many of the later illustrators, chosen by the publishers, did not share Singer’s worldview, and the artwork takes the stories into another realm.   How delicious to be learning new songs to share with new audiences and weaving visual art and music together in the process! Great thanks to PennPAT  and the PA Humanities Council for supporting this programming with grants.    ...

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Vivid Papercut Ketubah

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts | 0 comments

Vivid Papercut Ketubah

The exuberance of this couple is reflected in their concise wish-list for their ketubah:  “Bright!  A circular text with papercuts and a tree and two doves and… whatever you think!  Bright and colorful!”  We talked to flesh out some more specifics, but basically I was guided by a feeling of their energy and relationship.  So here’s the finished product, which brought them to tears and had them each ask me how I had climbed into their minds to craft exactly what they’d hoped for!

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Calla Lily Papercut Ketubah

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts | 0 comments

Calla Lily Papercut Ketubah

The bride and groom approached me with a desire to develop an elaborate and meaningful papercut design for their ketubah, and with just that much information and their short list of images – calla lilies, menorah, chai, a tree of life symbol, their Hebrew names, and a passage from Song of Songs – I set to work!  I chose a domed shape for the text and a curved top to the entire piece to soften the look, as well as to connect to some historic ketubot, and tapped some traditional patterns from Arabic tilework as the lacy network to hold the papercut together.  Hours and hours of cutting, and about two dozen blades left me with a happily tingling forefinger and a carpet of confetti!  The couple chose to frame the ketubah by first mounting it on museum grade (non-reflective) Plexiglas, for the ceremony, that will eventually give the impression that the papercut ketubah is floating above the backing mat once the framing is complete. The lettering around the perimeter reads, “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li” in Hebrew across the top, and the English translation, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,” wrapping around the bottom.  On either side are the bride and groom’s names in Hebrew.  The engineering challenge in crafting a papercut is to make sure everything stays attached, so particular care is taken to plan connections before a knife touches the paper. Calla Lily Papercut Ketubah    ...

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