Double Chai Tea!

Congratulations to us! The Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles, Toronto has reached 36 years. To celebrate, we held a tea, complete with hats and gloves. As we walked into the beautiful meeting room at Beth Emeth on Sunday afternoon, April 29, we felt we were taking tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, or at least The Empress Hotel in Victoria. Yet this was even nicer.
We followed the traditions of the high tea service from the sterling silver tea sets to the party sandwiches, scones, and petit fours. The napkin rings were keepers! Many of us dressed in 1940’s attire. And we all had a wonderful time.
Many thanks, and yasher koach to Shirley, Paula, Reesa, and all of the other helper members. Bring on the next 36 years!

Weaving into Wire Baskets

Anna writes: What an exciting programme! Thank you to Reesa and Barbara for putting it together. After the oohs and aahs of a brief inspirational slide show, everyone jumped in to transform wire baskets and lampshades into upcycled “objets” adorned with ribbons, beads and a variety of trimmings. We challenged our creativity, love of texture, and – of course! – our stash busting goals by adding the scarves, remnants, trimmings, buttons, and other items from our closets.

This was a great chance to play together and to learn from one another, young and old. Now the oohs and aahs are for the work of our own hands!

It will be just as much fun this week!

December’s meeting was fun and productive. We are expecting just as good a time this week! We hope you’ll be there too.



Many hands make kits for kids

Fifty or so hands, sixty or so minutes, many packages!
On Wednesday November 15, 2017 Pomegranate Guild members got together to assemble kits for Jewish Family and Child Services. And then, Paula reports, “On Friday November 17th I delivered all the kits we created Wednesday night to Jewish Family and Child Services at the Lipa Green building….all 301 packages!!!

Kol Hakavod to everyone who helped assemble and pack them all. You did a phenomenal job!

Quilling – a new take on an old art

Anna writes: On beautiful night mid October 2017 for the first hands-on program meeting of our 36th year, 36 members came together to learn a new technique. Bruria Cooperman, immediate past president and quilling queen, taught us the art of Quilling. What an exciting meeting! Bruria showed slides as she explained the art form and then we all got down to work. See us at work below.

We showed, we shared, we qvelled – 2017 edition

On June 21, 2017 we celebrated the work of our hands with the 2017 edition of Show, Share, and Quell. Have a creative summer, everyone.


Under the New-Old Chuppah

Anna Vandelman writes:
On May 17, 2017 Pomegranate Guild members were treated to a first viewing of completed “new/old” Chuppah. Kol Ha Kavod to Haya Nativ and to all the many members who participated in its fabrication.
Many Pomegranate Guild members joined in at the beginning of the evening to set up the amazing Chuppah to choruses of “wow,” and “how wonderful.” Graham Silver – whose mother Sarah was the designer of the original motifs – and his wife Ruth came to see it as well. Their children married under it in its almost-complete-state in the fall of 2015. And member Barbara Goldstein Nightingale married under it in September 2016.
Haya, as project coordinator and lead on the construction of the new chuppah, discussed the history of the Chuppah, and explained the alterations to design and material that she made to bring the Chuppah into the present. This included using more transparent fabrics, hand-dyed silks, shadow quilting with gold threads using wrapped running stitch, and devising a new top design and suspension system. Along the way, members shared anecdotes about their participation in stitching the old and/or the new-old chuppah.
The 27 members who came together to see the exquisite production stayed to discuss the future of the Guild..with leadership as a priority.

Surprise and Delight

Anna Vandelman reports:
The evening of March 15, 2017 will go down as one of surprise and delight for Pomegranate Guild members.
Who among us does not admire paper cuts? And how many of us ever thought we could add one to our repertoires? Well, we all did it!
Guest artist Annyen Lam gave us an overview of her amazing work, and then step by step instructions for us to follow along.
We used art knives, paper called classic kitakata, and a hamsa image provided by Annyen to do our work. Annyen patiently answered our questions, and helped us individually with our cutting challenges. We all came to realize how her many of hours of practice lead to her expert work. But to our delight, we each went home with a paper cut Hamsa!


About Annyen and her work:
Annyen Lam is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University (2012) as well as the Medal for Printmaking (2012). Her practice includes cut paper works, installation, stone lithography, screenprinting and book arts. She has exhibited throughout Canada and has participated in shows and print exchanges in Holland, Japan, Russia and Venezuela.



The life-cycle in Moroccan Jewish textiles

Anna Vandelman writes:
My dear friend Suzanne Benchimol came to the Guild’s February meeting to teach us about Moroccan Jewish  textiles. Most in attendance had no idea of the exquisite, sumptuous clothing they were about to see.
Suzanne made it most interesting by taking us through the lIfe cycle of clothing from the garments and wrappers of the Brit Milah to the henna ceremony garb and wedding dresses. WOW! She detailed for us every inch of each piece.
Suzanne is a very accomplished designer and seamstress. This is most evident in the unbelievable work on the layered wedding ensembles she creates. We saw some examples in photographs but the highlight of the night was the outfit we could examine – layer by layer – as Suzanne dressed our model, member Barbara Goldstein – a recent bride herself. We were impressed by the perfection of each embroidered stitch, bead, and decorative textile, no matter what we were shown.
Today many brides prefer to wear white gowns for their wedding day. So, it has become a custom that the richly embroidered dress and matching headress (the bride is seen as a queen and so a crown is essentia!l), is worn for the Henna Night, when all women add henna to the bride’s palms. The layers of the gown are designed to be adjustable in fit. The gowns were often shared around within families and communities, or loaned to poor families.

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Suzanne explained every custom, from the engagement to the henna night to the wedding day to the Brit Milah to the Bar Mitzvah and so on. She used videos to show us the ceremonies with the customary textiles in use. So, for example, the Brit Milah besides being shown on film was enhanced by the baby’s dress itself that we could see and touch. And the henna video let us see how family members would help support the crown, and gown. And we could also hear the typical ululations!

We were allowed to touch the textiles she brought for us to examine, including beautiful old silk shawls and heritage tallit bags. Besides being totally involved in the textile art of life- cycle clothing Suzanne actively invents and plans programs for residents and patients at Baycrest in the Home and Hospital and she has been honoured as a Baycrest treasure having her photo added to the wall in the Silverman Court.
Thank you Suzanne, for this special, informative  and delightful evening!