Trash into [fabulous] textile greeting cards

Anna VanDelman writes:
On a beautiful, cold, clear evening, Temple Sinai was ABUZZ  with the excitement of creating 4″ x 6″ pieces of fabric into gift/greeting cards.

Rikki Blitt introduced our own TallitMaaven and fabric design diva, Marilyn Cohen Levy, who presented power point slides showing her amazing work on cards, postcards that yes, go through the mail, and a variety of her other amazing projects. And, who knew what you can do with dryer lint!

A plethora of ideas flowed through the evening. Marilyn generously shared an incredible amount of her stash so that we all took home several cards. This is pure mitzvah work allowing Marilyn to reduce her own stash and of course purchase more fabric. And I, for one, will never have to purchase another greeting/gift card. How lucky we are as members of this Guild to count such talent within our core.

Reesa Wasser flew in from Florida baggage and all to thank Marilyn for all her work and for sharing her special talent with us. Certainly a night to remember!

 

An evening of Bling! Bling! Bling! Turning Trash into Treasures

Anna VanDelman writes:

On this winter night, two dozen Pomegranate members came together with the warmth of camaraderie for an evening workshop, turning trash into treasures.

Paula Miller – teacher, exquisite fabric artist, designer, inventive recycler – presented instructions for the transformation of junk into brooches using discarded beads, threads, paint, fabric charms etc. Members brought their own stash items and The Guild brought out enormous quantities of resource materials.

Thanks to Paula’s display of items she brought and created for this project, we were inspired to create our own new treasures. This programme reminded us of how important it is for us to work on various projects in an atmosphere of friendship and shared ideas.

Thank you Paula for a memorable evening!

 

A Night at the (Beth Tzedec Reuben and Helene Dennis Museum) – Not scary at all!

Anna VanDelman writes:

On Wednesday December 6th, three dozen Pomegranate Guild members and guests made their way through Beth Tzedec’s current renovations to the beautiful chapel for an evening of Judaic treasures – artifacts recycled and repurposed, in keeping with this year’s theme. Rkki Blitt introduced our speaker, Dorion Liebgott, who is both a long time Guild member and long time (25 years) curator of the Museum.

We sat in awe of the precious artifacts Dorion brought for our delight. Of particular interest to us as textile artists were items that involved the reuse of fabrics. These included a wimple (Torah binder) of German origin. The wimple was recycled from a infant’s swaddling cloth. It was cut into strips that were sewn together and embroidered with a formula including the child’s name, birth-date, and blessings. This binder would have been wrapped around the Torah used on the child’s 3rd birthday, his Bar Mitzvah and his wedding. We also examined was a Torah crown made of damask silk (rather than the usual silver) and a parochet (ark curtain) made of recycled fashion fabrics.

Dorion showed us Chanukah menorahs – one reconstructed from a rifle, and another made of empty bullet cartridges mounted on Plexiglas from the American Military – that demonstrate how Judaic ritual items can be made with objects and materials found immediately at hand.

Sometimes conventional items have inscriptions added to make them suitable for Judaic purposes. We were shown a large pewter bowl with blessings inscribed with reference to the redemption of the first born son for the ceremony of Pidyon Ha Ben, and a seder plate that was also created by inscribing a standard pewter plate. In some cases items are adapted merely by use: a locked sugar box and open candy silver candy dish are two objects that have become etrog containers by declaring them so.

Several Yads (Torah pointers) demonstrated a collage approach, constructed by adding multiple small pieces of other objects to create a pointer. Their awkwardness in both appearance and function are clues to the “fakery” behind their construction.

Many of the precious objects Dorion showed us were from the Cecil Roth Collection in the Museum, and Dorion also shared the story of how the Reuben and Helene Dennis Museum acquired them. All the photographs in this post are published with the permission of the museum.

Rikki thanked Dorion, as we all did, for a fascinating evening teaching us that we can continually recycle and re-invent old artifacts into new treasures.

All the photographs in this post are published with the permission of the museum

We got hooked!

Janis Katz writes

“GET HOOKED” – it’s not what you think!
Continuing this year’s theme of “Do Not Waste”, Guild members and guests spent the evening learning about, and practicing, the art of “hooking” (or sometimes “prodding”). This event was co-presented and hosted by Congregation Darchei Noam. Evening Bag

Our Guild secretary, Barbara Goldstein [see more about Barbara below], gave us a primer on (rug) hooking: she showed us stunning samples of her own work (bags, chair pads, cholent trivets) and then demonstrated how it’s done. The supplies are few: latch hook canvas, a crochet hook (or chopstick), and a darning needle. Then there’s the fabric: everyone grabbed their favourite from the Guild stash – chiffon, velvet, cotton, wool, etc. – and started tearing or cutting thin strips about 1 cm wide.

With this technique, you start on the edge first. Fold back one row of the canvas and whipstitch or overcast using a darning needle threaded with a fabric strip. Then you use your crochet hook or chopstick to fill in the grid. “Hooking” uses a crochet hook to pull up fabric loops in each grid square. “Prodding” is done with a chopstick, to push loops down in the grid. The loopy side is the right side.

Everyone had a great time tearing strips of fabric, hooking and prodding, and chatting.

A tip from Barbara: you could “get hooked” on this technique and be tempted to go out and buy fabric, but remember – do not waste, use your stash!

The Guild was delighted to be able to partner with Congregation Darchei Noam for this event, and we’ll be partnering again in March and May of 2016.

 A note about Barbara: Barbara is a graduate of Sheridan College and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Textile Studios, as well as an active member of The Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles, Toronto. She has exhibited in many art shows, most recently “The Edge of the Forest”, now traveling across Canada. All completed work shown in this post are Barbara’s.

Shirts Galore and A Trip to Japan

Anna Vandelman writes:

Shirts Galore!
What a lovely evening! What a lovely programme! What a lovely turnout! What an amazing group!

Rapunzel - courtesy of Susan Avishai

Rapunzel – courtesy of Susan Avishai

Susan Avishai was introduced to us by Rikki Blitt as a heroine to the environment and saviour of all sorts of trash en route to landfills everywhere: A perfect way to start the season as our theme for the year is Do not waste – with a focus on reuse and recycling. [About Susan]

Susan, already a fine artist in drawing, painting, and collage, shared her journey to fibre arts through pictures of her work. She told us how she got into fibre arts after cleaning out her late mother’s belongings. After grieving over her mother’s clothes for six months, Susan finally found herself able to do something with this new stash. So, she moved from painting to textiles to making tapestries of her mom’s remnants. She discovered through life that it is in fact the journey and not the destination. She fondly remembers a teacher who told her “…you will feel when its right”.

And then, men’s shirts galore! We saw an incredible collage of men’s shirts, shirts taken apart with seams and buttons intact all quilted with polyfill. She works on smaller pieces and then sews them into larger works. Her goal, always, is to see what she can do with what is there. No, she is not sexist, she uses men’s shirts because of their uniformity of construction which lets her apply a system to their deconstruction.

The evening became magical as we witnessed the transformation of trash to exquisite art pieces .created by a visionary with a deep concern for the environment. Thank you Susan for this memorable experience!

Rikki then thanked her for a magnificent presentation and for kick-starting our year of Do not Waste and members had an opportunity to share from their own stashes.

The theme continued in October with A Night in Japan, and Karen Sanders writes:

Our October meeting included a lesson in Japanese Furoshiki and a visit to Japan through the eyes of our President.

Furoshiki
Four women from the Japanese Cultural Centre came to tell us the history and to demonstrate the ancient Japanese art of Furoshiki, the use of textile squares for wrapping. Furoshiki refers to a flat folded bundle originally used to carry clothes back and forth from the bath-house. With current environmental concerns, there has been a revival of this old practice.

The most common size of fabric for wrapping is an 18” or 24” square of fabric. A silk scarf is ideal for the purpose of wrapping, though other sizes and fabrics can also be used.

There are many uses of Furoshiki including carrying, storage, gift wrap, wall hanging, tote bag, carrier for contributions to a pot luck meal. The squares are easy to maintain, eco friendly, easy to fold flat. The squares can be left as gifts or put in a pocket or purse to reuse.

Our guests demonstrated the basic knot, flat object wrap, basic carry wrap, bottle carry wrap, hand bag, watermelon carry bag, and shoulder bag. We had an opportunity to try our skill at wrapping.

The art of Furoshiki is simple, elegant, useful and fulfills our mission of reusing and recycling beautiful fabrics.

Living Singly and Jewishly in Japan
Nearly thirty years ago our President, Bruria, was young, single, teaching English and living in Japan. She found that it was easy to be Jewish because there was a synagogue and community centre, which included a swimming pool. Expatriate Jews gathered regularly for Shabbat dinners and for Jewish holidays.

In a slide presentation, Bruria illustrated a number of Jewish subjects she encountered in Japan. These included a Japanese Yiddish Club, The Fugu Plan (a book telling the story of how the Japanese rescued Jews during the Holocaust), the story of Chiune Sugihara, who gave exit visas to Jews during World War II. There was a Jewish dentist, a Chabad branch with a mikvah and a Japanese man who had converted and become a Rabbi. There was a man with an excellent collection of Hebrew manuscripts and a Japanese pro-Israel group.

The rest of the slide show illustrated the quirkiness of the Japanese. Bruria shared such interesting things to be found in the grocery store as bottles of diet water, hard boiled eggs in a tube, and sushi with “Hello Kitty” faces. She showed us a road going through a building and some of the many space saving devices like shoe drawers on the underside of steps or a combined toilet/sink. There were dogs dressed in kimonos, women dressed as dolls, and men dressed as women. These are just a few examples. Bruria had a good time in Japan, but we are glad she came back to us!

Show share and quell – eye candy!

Anna Vandelman reports: On June 17th members of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles, Toronto came together for the culmination of the year, our closing meeting featuring the work of our hands. What a treat for all who attended! Here is some eye candy for you.

Select any picture to start a slide show and see artists and titles, or refresh your page to rearrange the images.

The Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles, Toronto wishes everyone a productive summer of stitching, knitting, felting, beading, embroidering, quilting, weaving…..

Make in the summer and show in the winter – call for entry for Judaic Art and Jewelry Fair

Marilyn Levy shares the following proposal call

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.51.59 AM

Shalom,
We are delighted to invite you to submit your art for our jury.  Moriah Congregation’s Biennial All-Judaic Art & Jewelry Fair will be held Saturday night, Motzei Shabbat, 

February 27, Sunday, February 28 and Monday, February 29, 2016, with Patron Preview on Thursday, February 25, 2016.  Our exhibitors are nationally and internationally acclaimed artisans; from Judaic artists working in diverse media to creators of inspiring jewelry.  And, once again, we are welcoming clothing and purse designers!

Moriah Congregation is a vibrant, Conservative synagogue with an involved community located in Chicago’s affluent North Shore.  Our shows have been extremely profitable for both Moriah and the participating artists. Our last show welcomed over 2,000 customers and had more than 800 individual sales.

Feedback from our artists who have participated in previous fairs has been very positive; friendly home hospitality, an inviting Jewish community and the feeling of being warmly welcomed are typical comments. In addition, the Fair provides a wonderful opportunity to establish new contacts with Chicago Judaic retailers and gift shops. Extensive advertising and promotion will be done throughout the Chicagoland community for this show.

Please note the following:

  • All artists are required to be present to sell only their creations.
  • There is no charge to exhibit.
  • Moriah receives 20% of each artist’s gross sales. 
  • Kosher meals are provided for all of our artists from set-up to tear-down at Moriah. 
  • Out-of-town artists are provided with home hospitality from Wednesday, February 24 –  Tuesday, March 1, 2016. 

For more information and entry form click here: http://www.moriahcong.org/ArtFair

Torah Stitch by Stitch Celebrates its Second Anniversary!

Temma Gentles reminds us that it’s time for a celebration! Torah Stitch by Stitch achieves its 2nd anniversary with “awesome engagement, new scans & illuminations.” For more details see Engagement and Amazement. And help continue the project.

2nd anniversary, new panels, stitcher engagement

Celebrate: Critiques and Book Construction

Karen Sanders reports: On Wednesday May 20, our Artist-in-Residence Laya Crust gave the final session of her year-long theme of Celebration. Initially she spoke about the concept of a critique. A critique is not a criticism. It is an analysis of what you can do to make your work better. The person giving the critique should be objective, starting and ending with something positive, sensitive about not destroying the ego of the person whose work is being critiqued. Next Laya spoke about book construction, giving examples of fabric books, then of folded paper books. She supplied paper, glue, scissors, and ribbon so that we could make accordion fold books. Her directions are included here. Thank you, Laya, for a year of celebrating ourselves, our work, and our textiles!