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:
www.annyenlam.com
www.instagram.com/tinybladesproject
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!

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

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

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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