Thursday, November 17, 2011

Paper Tefillah series:
"Ahavah Rabah" papercut


I've completed my "Ahavah Rabah" papercut -- part of the "paper tefillah" series I'll be showing this January in Memphis, Tennessee. (Details about the show are forthcoming.)

The "Ahavah Rabah" prayer focuses on the love God shows for us by giving us the gift of Torah and the mitzvot (commandments). The pomegranate represents the mitzvot -- it's said that it contains 613 seeds, the number of mitzvot in the Torah. The prayer mentions the four corners of the earth, which is a cue for worshippers to gather together the tzitzit (which have knots also representing the 613 mitzvot) at the four corners of their tallit and hold them together, so the four corners of this piece are backed with salvaged pieces from genizah-destined prayerbooks that reference the prayer, the mitzvot, and tzitzit.

The pomegranate is backed with comics that reflect the rich juicy color of the fruit, and there are quite a few goodies hidden in this one. It's best seen in person, but until the show you can enjoy these close-up shots. And as always, you can click the pix to see them larger.



2 comments:

  1. Gosh, I am really loving your work! Really clever and creative. Glad I found you!

    Also, sort of bizarrely coincidental with all the little circles, since I just finished this (excuse the terrible photography, my real camera is broken) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthmergi/6352943081/in/photostream/

    Can I ask, how big is this piece? Are you comfortable talking about your technique? If you do, I have questions. :-)

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  2. I like your circles as well, Ruth! In answer to your questions, this cut is 18" x 24". I start every piece with study of the subject -- usually text from Torah, midrash (and in this series, tefillah) -- and then I sketch. Sketching involves thinking about how to express my ideas about the text in both form of the cut and papers used to back it. After sketching I draw out the final piece on cold press watercolor stock -- backwards! -- and start cutting. Usually I stick to the drawing, but there are always adjustments made during the cutting process. After the paper is cut, I start laying in the backgrounds.

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