West Virginia in Bloom Ketubah

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

West Virginia in Bloom Ketubah

For a beautiful ceremony on the top of a mountain, this couple sent me a very specific list of local wildflowers and trees at the peak of color.  These flowers are like old friends, and what a joy it is for me to place them in such a precious setting!  Language is so very important, as you can see from the care that clearly went into crafting this document. Here’s an image of the rabbi preparing to read the document as part of the ceremony.  My ketubot and marriage contracts are always mounted in hand-made folders, well protected – even on a mountain top!- and kept flat and safe until...

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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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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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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Light Screens Ketubah

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts, Visual Art | 0 comments

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Light Screens Ketubah

This piece took a wonderful couple and their artist-of-choice on a fabulous visual journey.  From the very first email contact, when they sent me some inspirations in the form of Mogul Jali funerary architecture – which I had been drawn to that very day when I saw an example while on a trip in the Sinai desert – I knew we were ‘right for each other.’  My sketches, their photos, my library searches, and many more sketches flew around the globe because the last 3 weeks before the piece was due found them working in a tiny Malaysian village where wifi was hit or miss, and where we had to plan for contact while everyone was awake!  Truly an adventure.  I learned so much more than I’d ever known about the craftsmanship of Frank Lloyd Wright as I sought out records of his glass work. I extracted small bits and pieces of a wide array of the master’s designs, and silently requested his forgiveness for messing with his ideas!  Another touch was the inclusion of a repeating design from a window by Eliel Saarinen, chosen specifically by the bride and groom. When it was time to assemble the work, I carefully cut away the areas behind which the brown papercuts would be seated.  This was quite a challenge for the three small designs that break up the sections of text since there had to be enough white paper for glue, but it had to be cut back far enough to be invisible to the observer!  I had a framer mount fine wheat-colored linen on a board and then we mounted the text with papercuts on that to allow the subtle warp and woof of the fabric to echo the horizontals and verticals of the cut paper. The papercutting itself was done freehand with no metal rule. Each time I had to cut a long line, I took a deep breath and let it out s-l-o-w and controlled as I drew the knife through the paper.  X-acto Z blades, a new product – WAY very sharp and strong – are the blades of choice.  I buy them in boxes of 100 and don’t hesitate to swap them out if I feel there’s any loss of...

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Traditional Page of Learning Ketubah

Posted by on Jul 7, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Traditional Page of Learning Ketubah

Many couples go beyond the customary wording of a marriage contract to ‘wordsmith’ their own ketubot.  This one features a deeply thought-out process whereby each concept that resonated with the couple as they considered their promises to one another was linked to a potent traditional teaching.  The very layout of the document, with a core statement in the middle and ‘commentaries’ around that, shows an unbreakable link in the chain of Jewish learning and values. Delicate medieval and Persian designs in jewel tone colors with touches of raised gold leaf frame the...

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Wings of the Shekhina Ketubah

Posted by on Jul 5, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts, Visual Art | 0 comments

Wings of the Shekhina Ketubah

This is a very complex document, written not using a traditional Ketubah text, but instead built upon a Brit Ahava, (A Covenant of Love) written by Rachel Adler and published in her book Engendering Judaism. The text recounts the covenant God made with Noah, David with Jonathan, and God with the people Israel.  It is a document of equality, love and devotion. What’s not immediately clear from the photograph is that the piece is crafted of cut and shaped paper:  The lettering in the spiral, including the Tetragramaton, is overlaid on the text oval at the bottom and on the wings above.  The wings!  They are cut from hand-made Indian hemp paper, impressed with a bone folder and stuffed with batting from behind to give the wings a feeling of fullness! Tiny pin feathers are cut and lifted lightly to further enhance the dimensionality. Look carefully, too, at the lettering the the central part of the ketubah, to see the way the Hebrew and English hugs the curves and narrows at the outer margins to emphasize the nature of the spiral moving around and around the central core of the unpronounceable name of God.  The background paper is a navy blue sheet set with tiny mylar ‘confetti’ that resembles the stars in an inky night sky. Mordechai says of their ketubah, “It hangs in our bedroom. Lynne and I over the years have reread the text many times.  I look at the Ketubah daily and marvel at how the imagery still captivates...

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