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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Cherry Trees in Bloom Ketubah

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Cherry Trees in Bloom Ketubah

Many people are drawn to the images of two trees when they first imagine their ketubah. Often the ideas springs from crowns touching and roots intertwining, but there’s also a very old tradition of trees being planted at a baby’s birth and boughs from those trees becoming poles of the chuppah.  In this case, the couple had particular interest in blooming cherry trees, and this is a species that lends itself to the circular form of the ketubah. Thin branches reach in from the sides to become foreground ‘bookends’ of detailed blossoms, while the two rooted trees on either side further in the background capture the shimmery cherry bark. A passage from Song of Songs, raised gold leaf, and some of my very favorite spring wildflowers (Japanese dayflower, spiderwort, trillium, and mallow) complete the...

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Burgundy Flowers Ketubah

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Burgundy Flowers Ketubah

The bride and groom requested specific flowers and burgundy and claret colors to adorn their most simple ketubah, so peonies, dahlias, roses, and orchids balance the rectangle that defines the space. Watercolor is a medium that is forgiving only if the painter embraces patience to add transparent layers to build both depth of color and a sense of dimensions.  Gold leaf sets off both the lettering and the floral...

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Midsummer Night’s Dream Ketubah

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

Midsummer Night’s Dream Ketubah

The inspiration for this ketubah was a first date to see Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a dream it was to be able to work with the words and color palette of this piece! The couple sent me pictures of themselves for the central image, and a request that the magical tree, sky, and vines wrap them in lively color. I used a variety of colored pencils- some hard and some more waxy- to define the color areas, and then watercolor and gouache to paint the leaves and green vines.  Completing the design are tiny Swarovski crystals in jewel tones in the tree crown and greens among the...

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Gifts of May Day Ketubah

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

Gifts of May Day Ketubah

What an experience it was to work with an exciting pair of musician/circus performer/activists who decided with great joy to bring their closest friends and families together for a rollicking May Day wedding on a Texas ranch! As you can see, the design is a complex melding of traditions and conscious inclusion of the spiritual touchstones of their lives.  First of all, this is a ketubah in FOUR languages: Aramaic, Yiddish, Modern Hebrew, and English, each expressing an aspect of commitment in a lettering style that suits the culture and meaning.  The texts float above a representation of the Kabbalistic tree, and in the four corners of the text block are images that recall the significance of the date of the wedding – a Beltane fire, a Maypole, an image for International Workers’ Day, and a sheaf of wheat for the period of the Omer. Above the text is an antique circus wagon wheel, and below, over a tree trunk base, is a schematic drawing of the gear mechanism of a carousel! Turnings and turnings! Papercut herbs and flowers towards the bottom are interspersed with imaginary flowers, and references to the Tarot and the phases of the moon complete the design.  The star-sprinkled sky is also embellished by tiny Swarovski crystals, difficult to see in a photograph, but dazzling on the actual ketubah. Our first Skype conversation yielded 4 pages of notes, and to my delight I was given extremely specific imagery to track down, including the Latin names of the papercut flora! I must say, I lived very happily in the magical and spiritual land of this ketubah for a few...

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Sycamore through the Seasons Quaker Document

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Sycamore through the Seasons Quaker Document

One precious tradition in the Quaker community is to have all attendees at a wedding sign the marriage document as witnesses, so the design is begun with that in mind. The lines for witness signatures continue far below what’s seen here, and upon completion, I’ll take the document back and erase the very light lines.  Here the couple chose to work with the image of the sycamore tree in its four seasons arching over the text with the lines for witnesses (who will sign in brown ink) below, implying the roots and support for the marriage.  The text is nested within nature images, the wildflowers at the base of the tree echoing the seasonal changes in the tree’s crown....

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