The Blessings Tree | modern papercut ketubah

December 8, 2018

Lisa & Marshall wanted a design that married her love of tranquil nature with his wish for a vibrant Jewish style. She likes organic, subdued designs, he likes colorful and lush designs. My challenge was to come up with a comrpomise that would appeal to them both.

The design is purely symbolic for the couple. As Lisa wanted a no-fuss design, everything featured within had to hold meaning for the couple. I knew I was going to do a reference to Hanukkah as they were getting married on the eve of the holiday, so I hoped it will satisfy Marshall's wish for the Judaica style. I turned to the Bible for nature references that will appeal to Lisa and fit within the nature-theme, as well as connect back to Israel for Marshall. Bonus: the elements will symbolize all the principles for a loving union and work kabalah magic to strengthen their bond!
I made two versions eventually. The first papercut design featured the miraculous oil lamp of Hanukka (hope & resilience), from which a symbolic tree of blessings bloomed forth with the strong-rooted trunk of an olive tree (peace and health), the twisty, graceful vines weighted by grapes (love and fertility), and cascading blossoms of figs (prosperity and modesty).
Their feedback was that it needed to be more colorful, and they wanted to get rid of the oil lamp and replace it with a big menorah. I decided to alter the design to a frame of leaves and fruit so the combination of the different trees (and values) will be even more seamlessly organic. A few more mockups to tweak colors and the new design was approved - my most colorful papercut yet!
13X19 inches
Mercury | Midnight Blue | Moss | Fir | Olive | Copper | Super Gold
My Most Colorful Papercut Yet!
(click photo for best resolution) 

All the colors in this papercut are made of different layers. Assembling everything together was an unusual experience for me, it felt almost like piecing together a puzzle! It was labor intensive - I think it took about 6 hours all together - and it's not because I work slowly! I thought it would go much quicker, honestly, which goes to show that after 7 years every commission is still a unique experience. 

The photo to the side was taken pretty late at night - maybe early morning? - when I was finally finished and tiredly packing the ketubah for pickup the next day. I was sad to see it go. Also, I clearly work nights pretty often, you can see I have another papercut on my desk in the beginning stages, and a movie cued up on screen.
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