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Posts from the ‘Hebrew Calligraphy’ Category

The Art Nouveau Ketubah

21 December 2008

octavineillustration


Finally, after three odd years, I sifted through all my Art Deco wedding photos. Despite a constant conversation with myself about why I chose to wear that particular hairstyle, I love my wedding pictures. Reminding me of joy and insanity, friends and family, the photos serve to highlight that blur of a day. I do not know if I would have remembered Uncle Stu wearing a tuxedo with a clown nose or “Redbeef” (my husband’s roommate from college) donning a kelly green suit and matching top hat.

However, while photos jog the memory of a place and time, the ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract, serves to remind the couple of the emotion felt, the feelings had.

The Art Nouveau inspired Ketubah pictured is just that. An original design painted in gouache, the stylized waves are reminiscent of the bride and groom’s time in Santa Cruz, where they met many years ago. Contacting me personally to execute both the text and design, it was a joy to create. The text, Art Nouveau inspired English and Hebrew calligraphy, is their vows: promises to each other to be met over a lifetime.

A Grand Wedding and The Art Deco Ketubah–A Modern Jewish Marriage Contract

20 September 2008

octavineillustration

The Ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract outlining a couple’s commitment to one another, is an honor to create. Given pictures of the groom’s grandparents 1940s Art Deco style Ketubah, photos of grand interiors, and cutouts from magazines, I set to work designing a hip, modern take on the Art Deco Ketubah.

Working with the bride to create an homage to her beloved’s family yet incorporate the couple’s own aesthetic, I set to work painting in gouache the image of the tree and birds as well executing my own unique English and Hebrew alphabets in calligraphy.

The bride sent me the pictures following the wedding. Held at the Ruins in Seattle, it was most certainly an affair to be remembered. My jaw literally dropped; she was so beautiful and the wedding a spectacular gala event, reminiscent of a scene from The Great Gatsby or maybe Grand Hotel. I felt like a movie star myself to be in some way part of such a lovely Art Deco inspired scene.

Just Waiting

30 June 2008

octavineillustration

Much of my time spent as an artist is in waiting. Waiting for the next show, waiting for the customer to call back, waiting for the paint to dry. Just Waiting. And while waiting, beginning other projects that will soon, in turn, be waiting themselves. If patience be a virtue, right now I have virtue in spades.

Currently I have three projects in wait. Two Art Nouveau inspired marriage contracts and an Art Deco style wedding invitation. Both marriage contracts are actually Ketubah (Ketubot in the plural), Jewish legal marriage documents with both English and Hebrew calligraphy denoting the text. One is a simple black and white Art Nouveau inspired assymetrical frame with Hebrew and English written in a simple, yet elegant hand. The second is inspired by the bride’s grandparents’ Ketubah ca. 1940.

The wedding invitation is in an Art Deco style specifically inspired by the Oviatt Penthouse a Los Angeles Art Deco landmark reminiscent of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel in beauty and opulence.

The waiting, however, is over for the purchase of my images on iPop magnets. Femme Fatales four pack set and the Fashion Plates four pack set as well as the large La Belle Vie single magnet are all available for retail purchase via the website.

So I sit and wait. Not a bad thing. I sit in the sunshine and work, my art in constant revolution as each project takes a turn in time to become whole.


Calligraphy As Art: Hebrew, Font and The Invitation

25 February 2008

octavineillustration

The beauty of Hebrew calligraphy is its malleability. One can render letters to create a mood, atmosphere or theme.

Pictured is the cover of a wedding invitation. The graphic is the Hebrew names of the bride and groom interlaced with one another.

The design of a wedding invitation can be quite a process–possibly involving the bride, her mother, the groom, an aunt or sister or two, and, of course, a mother-in-law; quite a force to be reckoned with.

However, so many minds at work produces a work of art in which everyone has played a part. Feeling truly part of the festivities for this most important aspect, the wedding invitation, allows for the family to help the bride and groom begin their life anew.

But sometimes, I am given full artistic license (as in this case) and just go with a feeling I have about the couple; allowing my creativity to simply grow from there.

Hebrew Calligraphy, Watercolor and The Ketubah

20 February 2008

octavineillustration

The Ketubah pictured was commissioned by a bride and groom from Los Angeles. The wedding took place in June in Bel Air; just the picture of springtime. Creating a forest of flora and fauna, I sought to capture the beauty of blooming California flowers.

The Ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract dating back 2000 years. Although traditionally written in Aramaic, in Hebrew the word literally means “it is written.”

The Ketubah is one of the first legal documents securing financial and legal rights to women.

The calligraphy is executed by my own hand. The font chosen is modern and informal. Hebrew calligraphy is done with the same calligraphy pen as one uses with English. As a left-hander, Hebrew calligraphy suits me well as it is from right to left. When executing English calligraphy, I must constantly take care not smear my work with the side of my hand. When writing Hebrew calligraphy I do not have this problem so my work is actually faster, more fluent.

The illustration, design, calligraphy and watercolor of a Ketubah is quite a large job. Poster size (16″ x 20″), each inch is detailed, every centimeter given care. Meant to hang on the wall for life and be kept for generations to come, the Ketubah is a work of art meant to capture a specific time, place and the love of two very unique people.

Calligraphy in the Modern World

30 January 2008

octavineillustration


I received my first calligraphy set at age eleven from my great aunt Octavine.

As the family correspondent, Aunt Vinee appreciated excellent penmanship and the art of font. Octavine was old fashioned. She wore bloomers and muslin dresses from the 1950s.

Aunt Vinee encouraged me and I found I very much enjoyed the rather “old lady” pastime of calligraphy. I practiced and practiced. I bought alphabet books and taught myself fonts. As a left-hander, I couldn’t follow the instructions given thus I developed my own style and technique.

Once I had the basics of letter formation, spacing, and placement I began to practice Hebrew calligraphy. I was taught the Hebrew alphabet at a young age, so the letters were familiar.

Luckily, I have figured a way to turn my “old lady” talent into a practical art. Finding that Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract), wedding invitations, Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations, marriage contracts, concert posters, baby announcements and graduation announcements all require the flair of calligraphy allows calligraphy to blossom in the modern world and bring beauty to the everyday.

Ketubah

20 January 2008

octavineillustration


I began my professional career as a Hebrew calligrapher. Asked by close friends to design and calligraph their Tanayim (an engagement contract between the betrothed as proscribed by Jewish Law) I taught myself the basics of watercolor and botanical illustration setting to work on my first ever commission. The Hebrew calligraphy came naturally; I had been practicing for years with a calligraphy set my great aunt Octavine gifted to me on my eleventh birthday. Calligraphy was easy and fun, albeit rather un-hip and definitely “old lady;” but illustration was more difficult and my perfectionist tendencies made for quite an exercise in tedium.

Following the wedding, word of mouth spread and over the years I have calligraphed and designed numerous Ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts). Adorning a Ketubah has recently made a resurgence among couples wishing maintain tradition and create a beautiful and meaningful objet d’art.

The illustration of a Ketubah tends to take me away from my French Art Deco leanings. Using watercolor, I seek to create a fanciful world for the bride and groom. Botanical illustration, biblical flora and fauna, and calligraphic adornment and various other classic motifs lend themselves best.

The Hebrew calligraphy is the final addition to the Ketubah. This is the most stressful aspect. It is very difficult to erase or cover up any mistake; and because it is on the final piece of art, the whole thing could be lost in one fell swoop. I have tried executing the calligraphy first but this is difficult as the Hebrew calligraphy has to fit organically into the image rather than the reverse.

Over the years I have had the honor to illustrate and or calligraph many Ketubot. Designing and producing a Ketubah is a labor of love indeed but brings immense satisfaction and pride.

My Newest Endeavor–Silkscreened Bat Mitzvah Invitation

15 January 2008

octavineillustration


This past week I finished printing a Bat Mitzvah invitation which i also illustrated and hand-calligraphed using my very own alphabet. This was a Bat Mitzvah invitation that I also did the printing for. What a job. There were invitations drying all over the house.

I worked with both the mother and daughter to design the final Hebrew calligraphy image you see. The Bat Mitzvah invitation is three layers.

I loved combining an Art Nouveau sensibility with Hebrew calligraphy. The fonts I chose for both the Hebrew and the English were based on 1920s fonts I found whilst traveling in Morocco and France and then further developed.

The invitations were printed on my amazing Japanese Gocco silkscreen. I love it. Someday I will write an ode to the Gocco.

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