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!

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.


Anna Vandelman writes:

Once again three dozen Guild members came together on a beautiful evening for a textile movie night, complete with popcorn! Kudos to our program committee.

The movie, Yarn, focused on the sheep that provide the wool and the artists who work it. Opening scenes showed wool caught on barbed wire and continued with beautiful knitted and/or crocheted and woven items hung on and in unusual places. A travelogue of sorts, as we followed crocheted, knitted and woven fibers from Poland to Rome to Iceland to New York to Denmark to Japan showing unbelievable items of clothing and art pieces. We learned it’s not just the yarn it’s the whole sheep! Many people – artists, knitters, etc. – buy raw wool and then dye the wool.

The arts of knitting, weaving and crocheting can bring generations together. We saw textile sculptures, textiles made for royalty, still sculptures, and play structures as well as circus acts based on yarn and textiles. We viewed a beautiful gift to The  Goddess of the Sea. As the sea surrounds us all, sending gifts out into it is a way to unite us all. The practice of working with yarn exists across the planet for functions old and new. For example, in Barcelona we saw crocheted lampposts covers: in Grandma’s or Bubbie’s house these items may be overlooked. When we place them in a new context, we more fully appreciate the beauty of the work and its craft. Engaging with yarn makes the mind sharp while it adds colour to life. The best part is that you can unravel the work and start again!

It all begins with a line – an evening with Helen Liene Dreifelds

“It all begins with a line,” says Helen, a weaver of fascinating shapes.

Helen Liene Dreifelds spoke about her own artistic journey, illustrating it with many examples of her work in woven monofilament and hand-spun fibres. She concluded the evening with a hands-on exercise for us.

Helen explores textile constructions to see how she can expand beyond traditional boundaries of the craft/art. When a number of us remarked that a striped piece seemed to recall a tallit, Helen said such observations help connect her to a recently discovered Jewish great-grandmother.

Every table had a chance to look up close at samples of her very fine work, and compare them – as she urged us – to her photographs of them. With music playing, Helen often works in 15” widths on a 36” wide loom and builds up sculptural forms by layering, twisting, weaving, and hanging the narrow strips together. Due to the properties of the filaments and threads, much of the work is self-supporting and they are miraculously completed with the use of light shining through them.

Positioned like actors on a stage, Helen’s work will be on view at the Lonsdale Gallery from 23 November – 23 December 2016. Helen can also be found working at Harbourfront Craft and Design Studios where she works, learns and shares ideas with the other 28 artists-in-residence in a wide variety of disciplines.

We all felt the metaphysical experience of her work hands-on as Helen led us through an exercise to use pieces of screening, cellophane, along with other materials we were not used to. And – believe it or not – a flashlight to help us let the shadows of our work tell a story. We each surprised ourselves by creating nylon mesh sculptures. Take a look at our work here, and Helen’s too.

Jewish Treasures of the Caribbean

Dorion invites us:
Please join us at Beth Tzedec Museum on Thursday, March 26th at 7:30pm  to meet and hear Wyatt Gallery (a person) who is the photographer of the exhibition, JEWISH TREASURES OF THE CARIBBEAN. We also expect representatives from some of the Caribbean islands.
Entry to the building through the back doors off the parking lot at the security booth.
Jewish Treasures of the CaribbeanMarch 9 through April 24, come see our newest exhibit, Jewish Treasures of the Caribbean, a travelling exhibition by photographer Wyatt Gallery capturing the little-known history of the Sephardic Jews of the Caribbean. and continuing through April 24. To book a tour, contact museum curator Dorion Liebgott at 416-781-3514 ext. 232.

Engineering and Design Students Collaborate on Image Transfer Megillat Esther

We hope you all had a festive Purim last week.
Maybe next year you will read from a textile Megiilat Esther

Follow the link to a story about an engineering and design collaboration to see a machine embroidered (actually, knitted) Megillat Esther and a short discussion of the themes that the creative team considered in its production.

Thanks to Laya Crust for this link!

Celebrate: Celebration in Jewish Tradition (and the first hint of winter)

Celebrate: Celebration in Jewish Tradition – Launch of new Pomegranate Guild Exhibition
Anna VanDelman reports:
On Wednesday November 19th, 2014  fifteen intrepid Guild members and two guests braved the first snow of the season – and treacherous driving conditions – to attend a wonderful presentation by Rabbi Elliot Diamond.

To kick off the launch of the call for our new exhibit, Celebrate, Rabbi Diamond gave an inspiring presentation. He began with a quote from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel:

“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.”

 Rabbi Diamond has generously shared his notes with us. Here is the overview.  More detailed notes will be provided on request.
1. Categories of Celebrations:
i.             Holidays: Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim, Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur
ii.           Life Cycle: Birth, Bris, Zeved HaBat, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Wedding, Birthday, Anniversary, yahrzeit
iii.         Accomplishments / Milestones: Graduation, job, siyum, business achievement, being the first to…., Chanukat HaBayit, Inauguration
2. Role of Celebration
3. What Does “Simcha” Really Mean?
4. The Secret of LeChaim!!
After the presentation, Janis Katz walked us through the call for entry requirements for the next exhibit, and Artist in Residence Laya Crust facilitated a discussion to help us start imagining our response to the call.