Monday, February 23, 2015
Washington Workshops at Congregation Kol Ami
OK, I'm no comedian. But I did, in fact, just return from a long weekend in Washington and Oregon, where I was leading a papercutting workshop at a synagogue, checking on the windows I designed for a day school, and also just having some fun. Want to read about it? Then you're in the right place!
The entire flight up I was amazed to see gorgeous, snow-covered peaks from 30,000 feet up – just beautiful. And those dots? A close-up of the wall next to my seat. Just thought it looked cool.
There was an exhibit of quilted tapestries at the airport, much of the work featuring bridges.
Congregation Kol Ami of Vancouver, Washington, had invited me to up be their artist-in-residence for the weekend, working with their high school students and teaching them to make their own "paper midrash."
Their synagogue is beautiful – three years old, modern and sleek but warm and welcoming as well. Their ark has a gorgeous "parting of the Red Sea" design and a blown glass ner tamid that complements the theme. And the sanctuary has one wall of glass which looks out upon Mount St. Helens. Just beautiful, the way the building is situated on the grounds and integrated with the landscape.
We talked as a group about the idea of midrash – stories about stories – and how we can add to those stories, especially by creating art to express our ideas about them.
The students each found a story that held some meaning from them – such as Creation, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, and stories and legends from deeper in our tradition, discovered in Sefer haAgaddah – and planned their work. They sketched and drew and erased and measured... and then began to cut.
Sunday morning I headed back to Congregation Kol Ami to continue working with my students.
And of course, I had brought a big box of comics for them to cut up and incorporate into their work – just as I do. (Thank you again, Brave New World Comics!)
Two days with them, and already creating things I will DEFINITELY STEAL. Not really. But I am genuinely inspired by what my students created.
A wonderful congregation, and a wonderful community.
(As for the rest of my adventures... you'll have to read this.)