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Posts from the ‘Ketubah’ Category

Just Waiting

30 June 2008


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.


Hebrew Calligraphy, Watercolor and The Ketubah

20 February 2008


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


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.


20 January 2008


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.

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