Torah Dedication – New Mantles at Dickinson College

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Jewish Ritual Art, News, Public Art, Susan at work, Visual Art | 0 comments

Torah Dedication – New Mantles at Dickinson College

I was commissioned to craft two Torah mantles for scrolls at the Dickinson College Hillel.  A metal and glass ark by Gary Rosenthal preceded the commission and I used the timing as an opportunity to engage students in a workshop to really look at the colors, textures and images of the ark.  The students identified color and worked with me as we sketched the two different mantles.  Here’s the result!  A ceremonial wimple accompanies the Torah mantles and hangs near the ark when not in...

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Torah Mantle – L’Dor Vador

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Jewish Ritual Art, News, Public Art | 0 comments

Torah Mantle – L’Dor Vador

Goucher College Hillel commissioned this mantle to cover a Torah rescued from Czechoslovakia after WW II.  The mantle is crafted of silks, and is heavily quilted.  Student input helped determine the color palette, the wording (“From generation to generation…”) and the image of a tree.  Tiny Czech rocaille beads cluster at the waistlines of the letters and on top of the ‘tagin’ (crowns) that top a few of the letters. Made to fit the Torah exactly, a matching wimple (binder) completes the new covering for the Torah scroll.  Designed to be handled considerably, the mantle has hardwood rings at the top and the top is padded.  The lining fabric is a sturdy material with considerable ‘slip’ to allow the mantle to glide onto and off the Torah when used.  A full flapped back gives the mantle lots of room to wrap around the Torah and to be foolproof when a person unaccustomed to the honor steps up to dress the scroll.    ...

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Torah Mantle – the beginning of the journey

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in News, Public Art, Susan at work | 0 comments

Torah Mantle – the beginning of the journey

The opportunity to craft two Torah mantles and wimples for Goucher College Hillel sent me to Chinatown in NYC to seek a variety of shantung silks.  What a delight, after a day of walking all over Chinatown, Soho, and the Lower East Side, to come upon Belraf Fabrics and proceed to say, “Some of this, and this, and this, and that…”  Racing home to the sewing machine, you can see here the first few days’ of quilting activity.  These bands will be incorporated into the top and bottom sections of a mantle for a rescued Torah from Czechoslovakia, hence the palette of palest silvers, golds, greys, and ivories.  The finished design will incorporate a slender tree and the Hebrew words “l’dor va’dor” – from generation to...

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Queen of the Jews Book Cover

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Awards, Certificates, and Commissioned Works, News, Public Art | 0 comments

Queen of the Jews Book Cover

The opportunity to research and develop a book cover and maps for a work of historic fiction by author Judy Petsonk was one at which I leaped!  An evocative work that paints in words images of ancient Judea prior the first Century also deserved cover art that would draw people into another time and place.  This is the story of Queen Salome Alexandra (Shalom Tsion), woven from fragments The History of the Jews by Josephus and bringing life of a woman who ruled a nation and oversaw tremendous development of infrastructure in her time. The mosaic design is based on recently uncovered floors in the area of Lod.  What goes around … ends up on a book! I had the delight of collaborating with graphic designer Tammi Reid who found the perfect typeface and photo image of a blooming almond branch which I was able to incorporate onto the back cover of the book A great...

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Map of Ancient Judea and Samaria

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in Awards, Certificates, and Commissioned Works, News, Public Art | 0 comments

Map of Ancient Judea and Samaria

Who knew that mapmaking was on my bucket list?  Judy Petsonk offered me the opportunity to create two elegant maps for her forthcoming novel  Queen of the Jews, and the experience was a wonderful one.  Now I understand why I find myself immediately pulled into hand-drawn and lettered maps.  It’s because I feel a kinship with the artist wielding the pen!

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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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