Last night I finished my most recent project: a design for an exhibit in Misouri Sponsored by ImaJewNation.
I love the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah and am completely awed by the fact that something that brings me so much pleasure and satisfaction can also be a way to praise G-d. I often get lost in the process so much so that time loses all meaning. The idea of reinterpreting the traditional inspires me. Silk painting is my newest joy and I am making more tallitot and other silk painted items all the time.
I delight in the idea that a person wraps themselves in my art while they pray. It seems a tremendous honor to have my work used this way. I like the idea of art serving a purpose other than merely decorating a wall (not that I have anything against that, mind you, I have plenty of art on my walls). But something about utilitarian art appeals to the pragmatist in me.
The exhibit, meant to explore “rivalries inherent in the world and how we can mitigate its hurts” was an instant inspiration for me. As is my nature, I focused immediately on the positive aspect: “Tikkun Olam in a Chalah Cover”. If only we could let go of all the ridiculous boundary wars and oil wars and war wars and simply sit together as friends, share bread; accept our differences.
Sometimes an image comes clearly and easily to mind. I immediately pictured hands in a circle of prayer. It reminded me of the tradition of touching the challah while saying the blessing. I wanted to incorporate other meanings, not only acceptance of all nations, but also all creeds, faiths, and lifestyles. So, rather than painting the hands in various skin tones, I chose rainbow colors. The details were inspired by the Indian custom of painting hands with Henna. They are all different to represent the many cultures of the world.
The floral motifs that are so often found in my work are elements that have been with me since childhood. My elementary school textbooks are covered in them. They grew more bold and tropical during my high school years (spent inFlorida). And now, I find that New England has influenced many autumn flavored designs. It is something that flows from me unbidden like much of my work. I let go and let G-d.