Nouveau Judaica ketubah

October 27, 2015

When I tell people I create papercuts, they usually ask me what kind. Most people know the Chinese Jianzhi and the English Silhouettes. There are many schools of papercutting, from different countries and cultures. I myself am greatly influenced by the West European school of papercraft - the principles of Arts & Crafts are what started me on the path of papercutting to begin with! I was researching illustrations for the Pied Piper folktale, if I remember correctly.
If I had to describe my style in any way, I would call it NOUVEAU JUDAICA. Judaica art (that is, Jewish art) does not appeal to me in itself, but my work is definitely a part of it. If I have one image in my mind which I can point to as the iconic brand that shades all my work, is Nippon Animation Studio's Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics series, specifically the Henzel & Gretel episode. Weird, right? But that's young mind for you. The Beatles' Yellow Submarine song also terrified me as a child, so that's a random fact for you. Anyways, what was I saying?

Right, my style. So I try to steer away from the traditional imagery of Judaica art - Jerusalem, Doves, Shabbath Candles, Kiddush Cup... But sometimes I'm confronted with them by well-meaning clients, and I'd be damned if I will not rock a papercut ketubah with them! In my Arts & Crafts European style. This is how the ketubah below was born:

When Tamara and Adam contacted me last year they had a pretty set idea of what they wanted, sketches and reference photos included. I welcomed the challenge of including all the images they wanted, but adapted to my own organic style. A bit of a big ask for such a small size, but happily we made it (and even sneaked in the couple's initials)!
A copy of this ketubah also took part in the 'Breaking the Glass: The American Jewish Wedding' exhibit earlier this year, and now resides in the archives of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, CT. Also shown, my Seven Species Garden and Ginkgo Leaves ketubot.

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