High Holiday Torah Mantles

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Jewish Ritual Art, News, Public Art, Visual Art | 0 comments

High Holiday Torah Mantles

When Torah mantles are commissioned for the High Holidays, there’s a good chance that the ‘theme’ and the ‘color palette’ will take a committee a minimal amount of time to determine.  Still, as I work with groups, I try to elicit enough to make the final product a perfect fit.  For this project, I asked the committee members, the rabbi, the ritual committee, and other interested congregants to tell me, “What do you want to ‘feel’ when the ark opens on Rosh Hashana?  Not specific images, but instead abstract thoughts about that moment of invitation to go deep into self-examination and hope for the new year.” Three pages of madly transcribed ideas led to what you see above. One of the five Torah mantles, each featuring a different mix of quilted earth-toned silks on soft, highest quality chenille, with hand stitching and five colors of Swarovski crystals, build on a committee’s charge to create a set of mantles that would inspire introspection with simplicity.  A trip to the garment district in New York City led me to the wonderful gem of a shop called Metro Textile where Kashi spread out a world of beautiful cloth.  Fabulous Kansas-based wood turner Tom Boley handcrafted the maple rings for the tops of the mantles. The wood tops are heavily padded – a surprising pleasure  to handle when the Torah is to be dressed. Everything about these covers is a delight and an inspiration.  They are heavily quilted and lined, measured specifically to fit each of the Torah’s specs, and made for years and years of use. Congregants’ reactions to the mantles included these comments:  “I saw the Kotel right away – all the different shapes and soft colors of the wall…” “I saw manna coming down from heaven – and a reaching up from earth.”  “Connections between Heaven and Earth.”  “Exquisite simplicity.  Perfect for the season!” Work in...

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Autumn on the Lake Ketubah

Posted by on Aug 28, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Autumn on the Lake Ketubah

Rarely do I have the opportunity to pull out all stops when it comes to media in two dimensions, but this was one of those times!  The commission came from two people who love the outdoors, and when I saw the photo images of lake scenes in autumn, I started to ponder just how I’d capture the beauty.  Sumi ink and gold leaf for the text – no brainer there!  And the rest of the scene involved pastel chalk, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, and colored pencils, each one helping me build the image from far distant background to the foreground.  Of course, the image on a ketubah is always in service to the text, so I worked to set the roundel of the text within a pictorial frame that draws the eye from the autumn details to the main event in the center. The couple found a text they loved on line, and appropriately asked permission to use that copyrighted text for this one-time use....

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Physician’s Prayer

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in Awards, Certificates, and Commissioned Works, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Physician’s Prayer

A simple treatment of Yehudah HaLevi’s poem is a perfect way to honor a doctor’s commitments and humility.  Written in gouache (an opaque water-based paint) with a gold leaf Caduseus at the bottom, this one-of-a-kind work was designed to fit in either an office or a...

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Jali-influenced Papercut Award

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in Awards, Certificates, and Commissioned Works, News, Papercuts, Visual Art | 0 comments

Jali-influenced Papercut Award

The delicate art of Jali carvings from India informed the artwork I chose to accompany the text of this award.  The delicate papercutting was done on brown paper and mounted on a sheet of white paper dusted with pale yellow pastel chalk, giving the piece a softly mottled look.  When I create these awards, I request as much information about the recipient as I can get so the piece is a perfect...

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A Ring of Precious Memories Ketubah

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

A Ring of Precious Memories Ketubah

One of the things that makes my worklife joyful is meeting a couple who have a concrete wishlist and the willingness to hand me a shopping bag full of ideas!  As you can see, this ketubah captures such a list, from references to the meaning of family surnames and histories, and from work  life (can you find the Drosophila [fruit-fly!]) to a montage of Jerusalem images and a trip over the George Washington Bridge. All of this is tucked into a unifying ring of specific flowers capturing the predominant colors of blue, green, and purple. A total...

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