Delicate Seasons Papercut Ketubah

Posted by on Jun 12, 2017 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts, Visual Art | 0 comments

Delicate Seasons Papercut Ketubah

The simplicity of this ketubah belies the complexity of the couples’ intentions and the work involved in bringing their vision to life. We began with a request for leafy images of the turning of the season and a very simple papercut design.  After many sketches sent back and forth, we hit upon a design that nests the text in a pattern of abstracted twigs.  The seasons are referenced in tiny buds, opening blossoms, new leaves, and finally aging and falling leaves – only a few for each season.  It’s worth the effort to spot the seasons this way!  The background color took 5 different tubes of paint to mix in order to match the periwinkle blue paint chip that the couple chose.  The background was painted on a stretched sheet of watercolor paper and then the text and papercut image were dropped on top to allow the cut paper to sit a bit...

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Papercut Orchestra Ketubah

Posted by on Jun 11, 2017 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts, Visual Art | 0 comments

Papercut Orchestra Ketubah

As always, the drawing table is clear when I start work on a ketubah and I am wide open to a new adventure!  This couple met while playing in an orchestra, he the horn, and she the bassoon, and along with the papercut images and the sunrise on the sea, they wanted the instruments somewhat hidden in the design.  The French horn (based on a photo of his magnificent instrument from an earlier era) was the easiest since it lent itself to becoming the rising sun.  The bassoon took some tweaking, at first very recognizable with all the stops and valves, and then stripped down a bit and nestled in among some sea grasses to keep it part of the bigger picture. Creating this piece involved lots of images sent back and forth to make sure the tree was just what the couple wanted.  If you look closely you can see that the papercut is elevated just slightly from the pastel colored background so it creates a thin shadow effect.  This way the delicacy of the papercut cannot be confused with a silk screened print. Here’s a look at the text and papercut before the color was...

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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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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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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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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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