Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cutting Paper at Camp Newman, 2014: Part 1

I've returned from my annual residency at URJ Camp Newman, and I had (as usual) a wonderful time – two weeks teaching papercutting to the campers in the Hagigah session, praying in the midst of giant trees, hanging out with our once-a-year faculty friends, and even trying a few new things (more on that to come).

First, however, I wanted to share some photos from my papercutting workshop. This year I had a group of 18 kids cutting with me every day (yikes!) – a very big group, but also a very talented group.

I've written in past years about Hagigah – the camp session focused on Jewish expression through the arts (fine art, dance, music, writing, photography, video, and more). They're all high school students, and many of them have been coming to Camp Newman since they were little.

First day? We get knives (after a talk on knife safety). And then we're off to the races, with two hours a day of cutting.

The first project was a mizrach, an ornamental wall plaque used to indicate the direction of prayer (east) in Jewish homes. We brainstormed as a group to get some ideas going, but each student designed their own mizrach, and then backed it with comics.

The second (big) project was to create "paper midrash" – using papercutting to tell or add to a story from the Tanakh (Torah, prophets, and writings) or midrash.  Some chose to work with stories from the b'nei mitzvah portions, or related to their names, or they just found something that interested them – it was entirely up to them (with a little guidance from me and some camp rabbis).

Both works from all campers will be shown in the annual "Peachy Levy Festival of the Arts" held at camp at the end of Hagigah. I'm holding back photos of the finished pieces until after the festival – that way the kids can premiere their work. But I *do* have pictures of the BACKS of their pieces...

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