Kol HaNaarim

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Jewish Ritual Art, News, Public Art | 0 comments

Kol HaNaarim

This 8-foot by 8-foot ‘huppah’, called a Kol HaNaarim (All the Children) hangs in a synagogue sanctuary and is taken down once a year at Simchat Torah to have new names sewn on, and to be held over the heads of the children as they step up to the Torah for their special aliyah.   The work was commissioned to celebrate Kesher Israel’s 100th anniversary.  It’s constructed of Dupionne silks, pieced, using applique, quilting, trapunto, and painting techniques, and is fully backed with sleeves for poles at top and bottom on which the piece hangs.  An ongoing synagogue fund-raiser, people submit names of children in their families each year, and I carefully paint each on on a slip of silk and then sew the additions onto the large piece. The trapunto used in the central image of the star allows those images to shine in relief.  Trapunto fills the quilted areas from behind to give them depth. An interesting aspect of the layout of the central image is that the days of creation line up in pairsfrom corner to corner across the star.  When reading the Torah text of the creation story, it becomes clear that those pairs of ‘days’ ( 1 and 4, 2 and 5, and 3 and 6) have a relationship in that the first in the pair is a kind of environment that is populated by the second in the pair, e.g. the waters above and below are separated on day 2 and on day 5 the sky is populated with birds and the earth’s waters populated with fish.  I reinforced this pairing by using the same color palette for the design work in each of the...

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Dickinson College Torah Mantles

Posted by on Jun 30, 2011 in Jewish Ritual Art, News, Public Art | 2 comments

Dickinson College Torah Mantles

Dickinson College Torah Mantles When the Hillel at Dickinson College acquired a building on campus, a chapel was planned and furnished with a commissioned ark and reader’s table crafted by Gary Rosenthal.   I was hired to design and craft two Torah mantles and a wimple.  I first worked with student members of the Hillel to brainstorm colors and designs and then developed these two.  Crafted of Dupionne silks, with glass beads and mirror embellishments, the mantles are a perfect fit for the copper colored and dazzling glass Torah ark. Each of the colors represented in the silk designs is found in the ark.   Sewing techniques include crazy quilt piecing, trapunto, applique, and embroidery.  The panels were made fit the Torahs as each Torah has a specific length and thickness when rolled. The wording on the Torah to the left means, “It’s [Torah’s] way are ways of pleasantness and all of it’s paths are...

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