Monday, July 14, 2008

Paper Prayers

I share with you today two paper castings of essential Hebrew prayers- one for peace and the other for healing.
Allison Tobin Clark, a reform Jew and recent Bat Mitzvah lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her custom design process usually begins with a tiny seed of an idea which is collaboratively explored and refined by the client and the artist until it blossoms in completion. Research may involve checking a number of sources, such as prayers, biblical passages, Talmud, etc. Accuracy and respect are required when working with sacred sources, and every consideration is given toward the proper development of each piece.

The decorative arts process continues with specific text selection and layout of the piece. Readability is an important consideration. Decorative elements may be inspired by the passage itself, or perhaps by ancient or medieval sources such as the incredibly beautiful Hebrew illuminated manuscripts of Europe. Effective custom design requires responsive communication between the client and the artist, and every attempt will be made to assure pride and satisfaction in the resulting artwork.

While many castings can be made from a single mold, none are exact copies, and the process is much, much slower than (for instance) having a run of "prints" made by a commercial printer. My cast pieces share the serial nature of a "print" - yet each is an individual, handmade creation with its own unique ragged edges. Additionally, minor changes may occur to the mold, and each piece is hand-tinted with acrylic and/or watercolour media. Thus, each piece should be considered an original, and it is signed and dated. Many are numbered for the sake of establishing provenance and to allow me a method for tracking process or materials variations.
Paper-making requires a gloppy mixture of water and fibers, with each batch prepared for archival quality. The usual mixture is composed of approximately 95% cotton fibers and 5% hand-prepared fibers from local, natural sources (e.g., Autumn red Bradford pear leaves). Batches vary somewhat in appearance depending upon the selection and relative percentage of fibers. Wet paper pulp is placed onto the prepared plaster mold and lovingly turned into delicate works of art featuring raised lettering and exquisite decorative devices.

Allison's glasswork and chuppah designs are rather amazing as well and I recommend you take some time to investigate her other work on her website.

No comments: