Friday, August 8, 2008

And there was light...

I peruse flickr on a daily basis, looking for inspiration, celebrating the work of friends and colleagues, searching for Judaica. Earlier this week I found this absolutely phenomenal besamim (spice) box from Harriete Estel Berman, whose work we have feasted in before. This book was recently shown on the back cover and included in the book titled, "500 Handmade Books" by Lark Books.

Every culture holds some legend for the origins of the earth and humanity. The biblical narrative of Genesis provides a powerful poetic drama with six days of work and a seventh day for rest and reflection. In the eons since then, humankind has achieved significant advances: defining the relationships of the moon, sun, and stars as the passage of time, exploring the world in the search for spices, and acknowledging that the multitude of races and religions of the world hold more similarities than differences.“And there was light” is a book that opens to reveal seven hinged pages. On one side, the pages illustrate the biblical narrative – progressing through the six days of creation to the seventh and final day of rest. On the other side, each page illustrates an analogous theme of secular achievements and creation by mankind -- from enlightenment and logic to the scientific and engineering feats of humanity. For each page, the biblical event on one side relates to the secular theme on the other side.The final page, the day of rest, has a doorway-like niche within which the Spice Box rests. The Spice Box container is modeled after a contemporary door, inspired by historical Spice Boxes that mimicked the architecture of their time. The curtain on the reverse side of the Spice Box is pierced to allow the scent of the spice to permeate the air. As a portal between the personal inner sanctum of peace and the world beyond, the Spice Box helps us to pause and reflect amidst the rush of modern living.
If you are lucky enough to live in the NY metro area, you can see this work of art for your self. Hariette informed me that it is on display as part of an exhibit called "Envisioning Maps” at Hebrew Union College.
OPENING:Thursday, September 25, 20085:30 – 7:30 PM
Hebrew Union College Museum1 West 4th Street (between Broadway and Mercer)
Guests are welcome! If any of you visit, grab me a post card and get Hariette's signature/autograph for me, okay?
RSVP: Laura Kruger, Curator 212.824.2218


Anonymous said...

Thank you for featuring my book on your site. It feels great to share my work with your audience.

If anyone wants to see each of the fourteen pages of the book, they can look on my web site:

If you come to the opening at Hebrew Union College Museum, look for me and introduce yourself.

Harriete Estel Berman

Unknown said...

Have you seen Harriete's work on It is truly amazing. They have other incredible artists using recycled materials. Check it out!