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The other Monday I got a phone call from a groom, getting married that Friday. Was it possible to get a ketubah to him in time? (Yes, but there’s a rush fee.)
And oh, by the way, could you possibly add some animal illustrations? (Um.. What did you have in mind?)
Well, an elephant. And a monkey. And a Himalayan cat, a Russian Blue cat and a black and white Shih-Tzu.
I was up to the challenge, and 24 hours later their customized ketubah was wending its way across the country.
This, dear reader, is what emerged (the main artwork, my Spiral of Life ketubah, was done already; the additions are the animal illustrations in the captions):
And detail shots:
Thanks to the wonder that is Photoshop I was able to paint the animals, scan them, and add them to the existing artwork so that the piece looks like it was all created at once. (I especially love the monkey’s tail curling around the vine.)
Let me know what you think!
Interested in your own customized ketubah? Just email or call me at 866-KETUBOT (866-538-8268) and I’d be happy to discuss possibilities.
I’m always delighted when my ketubah clients send me photos of their ketubah, but the other day I got a very special treat.
Lauren and Jeffrey ordered my Windows to the Soul egalitarian ketubah in Seaglass for their August wedding a year ago. Lauren’s mom is an artist herself, and she hand-made a marvelous frame to coordinate with the “tile” design of the ketubah. I could not wait to see the finished product!
My wish was granted not long ago, when Lauren sent pictures of the framed ketubah. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.
(I wonder if Lauren’s mom is interested in going into the ketubah framing business?)
Do you have a special frame treatment for your Ketubahworks ketubah? Send it my way and I’ll post it here!
For my parents’ 50th anniversary, I wanted to make them something by hand, something special just from me and my brother and sister-in-law.
I’ve made a number special books for clients over the years, in the “X reasons why we love you” vein. The first one, 80 Reasons Why We Love You Dad was such a hit, that it spawned several more client commissions, all from word of mouth.
I wanted to make a similar book for my dad’s 70th birthday, and then for my mom’s, but somehow I never managed to make that happen. So when their 50th anniversary approached, I knew I need to jump on it!
(Plus 50 reasons x 1 is a lot less work than 70 reasons x 2!)
Mom and Pop’s actual anniversary was June 12, but the big party was June 19, and I presented the book during my toast.
Needless to say, they loved it. I’m delighted to report they’re having a display case built for it, so it will live where people can enjoy it, rather than up on a shelf somewhere.
I’ll take some “official” pics later, but for now, here are some snapshots.
I’ve been creating anniversary ketubot since I first started as a ketubah artist. My most recent one, though, was particularly special, because it was for my own parents’ 50th anniversary!
Imagine: 50 years together! And they’re still in love.
My parents are my heroes.
The ketubah was actually a gift from my mom’s sister, my Aunt Nancy, and her entire family – kids, grandkids and great-grandkids – and Nancy’s special request was to include all of their names on the ketubah.
The only catch: the ketubah was a surprise, so my job was to sleuth around and find out which design my parents liked best! Hmmm… How to do this? At dinner with my parents and a cousin one night, I pretended to be conducting an informal poll of family and friends to find out which ketubah I should feature on my home page.
My mom said of course I should put my best seller on the home page, but I said I was curious what her favorite was. Without hesitation she said “Oh, Spiral of Life, definitely. But your dad won’t like that one.”
“Dad?” I asked, “which one is your favorite?”
Surprisingly (and thankfully), Spiral of Life was his favorite too!
A few weeks later, while giving a presentation to my synagogue about the art and history of the ketubah, I happened to hold up a copy of my Spiral of Life ketubah. My mom said again “Oh, that one’s my favorite.” But then she said that she wasn’t crazy about the colors!
Time to do some custom colorization magic in Photoshop!
I had the ketubah framed, and Nancy and I managed to keep it secret for months. Last Sunday her whole family presented the ketubah to my astonished parents. They loved it!
Next up: pics of the special handmade book I made as my gift from me and my brother and sister-in-law. Plus pics of the invitations I designed especially for the anniversary party.
Internet connections can lead to wonderful things.
Um, no brainer!
I must admit it’s a little… amusing to see this Jewish girl’s work on the home page above the title “Christ reigns.” But hey, one of the most fun art directors I ever worked with was at an evangelical publishing company that commissioned me to create a ketubah for one of their book covers.
Yes, I designed the whole kit and caboodle, including the hand-lettered title, and chapter titles throughout the book.
Notice the cross at the bottom of the paper cut. The irony of this job is that the only reason I accepted the project (for significantly less than what I would normally charge), was because the contract gave me the rights to reproduce it for my own use. I planned to create a ketubah print from the finished artwork.
It didn’t occur to me to insist on veto power over the imagery included in the design.
Needless to say, a ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) with a cross in it is a bit of a hard-sell. Though I suppose there’s probably a market with the Jews for Jesus.
Maybe someday I’ll redo the paper cut without the cross. (On my mile-long list of things to do…)
One of my pet issues is archival materials and practices. When I’m making a ketubah or other work of art that people will cherish for their entire lives, it’s important to me to know that it’s going to last!
Whether the ketubah is an original commission or a fine art print, I start off with the highest quality, 100% cotton watercolor paper. I carefully select the most lightfast paints, and I print with the most lightfast inks I can get.
Even so, it’s important to remember that a work of art is a lot like a human being: it ages over time. The best defense is a good offense, which includes top-notch conservation framing materials and techniques, and displaying the art away from direct sunlight, and in an environment where it will not be subject to fluctuations of temperature and humidity (ie, preferably on an inside wall, away from kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces and heating ducts).
When you get your ketubah framed, make sure your framer is conversant with conservation materials and techniques. Here’s an article from the Art/Framing Forum at Creativeshake.com. Although this info is more technical than most laypeople will need, you can print it out and bring it to your framer to make sure s/he uses the techniques and materials mentioned here.
I hope you find it useful!
|How would one mount this document printed and hand lettered on watercolor paper? It has a deckled edge and I want that to show. I would think it would be mounted on foamboard, but how can I do that archivally?|
|posted 4/12/2010 9:23:00 AM by Lynn Osterman|
|In recognition of this document”s high personal value (and in some cases, monetary value as well), I suggest using only the finest preservation-grade materials and methods to frame it.
First, for the matting and mounting, use alpha cellulose boards (made of purified pulp or cotton linters), lignin-free and buffered. If you cover the mats with fabric, make sure the fabric and adhesive are chemically stable. Buy the fabric from an established framing-fabric source, and use starch paste or acrylic medium for its adhesive.
Float mount the Ketubah by Japanese paper hinges & starch paste to a slightly undersized 4-ply or 8-ply mounting board. Then attach that assembly to the surface of a sturdy, reinforced background. For reinforcement, use alphacellulose board layers or fluted polypropylene (Archival Coroplast, marketed through Bainbridge distributors). I suggest not using foam center board in the frame package, due to the possibility of offgassing from the styrene core, even though a high quality paper covering would not be an issue.
Mats, with windows cut larger than the artwork, may be elevated to provide an air space of at least 1/8″ between the art and the glazing. That way, the background mat color would be visible, recessed between the edges of the Ketubah and the window mat.
For the glazing, use only 99% UV-filtering glass or 98% UV filtering acrylic. For the best appearance, use optically coated glazing, such as Museum Glass or Museum Optium Acrylic.
Be sure to fit the frame with sufficient tolerance to enable all materials inside to expand and contract freely. Fill the frame”s rabbet depth with insulating filler board layers and install a tight-fitting, sturdy dustcover.
Use a two-point hanging system. If a wire is to be used, be sure to provide two wall hooks, and make the wire long enough to depart the frame at angles of at least 60-degrees from vertical. The closer to vertical the wire departs the frame, the less stress would be imposed on the frame assembly over time.
|posted 4/13/2010 4:50:00 PM by Jim Miller|
I was in New York last weekend, first participating in a panel on the business of calligraphy on Friday night [the video on this link is not currently working, stay tuned], and then spending ten hours on Saturday and Sunday teaching an enthusiastic group of calligraphers from the Society of Scribes everything I know about making a ketubah. We covered:
- deciding on a design and lettering styles
- laying out and copyfitting the text
- collage, painting, drawing, paper cutting, paper sculpture and gilding techniques
And a whole bunch more!
I love love love to teach, so this trip was a real treat. I’ll admit I was anxious about this class – I really wanted it to go well, and it was challenging to figure out how best to structure the info. But if the feedback I got is any indication, the students got a lot out of it.
Today I got this lovely note from the VP of the group, who was also my gracious hostess for the weekend:
I wanted to send a note and tell you that I have received many positive comments in reference to your weekend workshop (Big Text Blocks, Borders and Letters, Oh My!). You did a wonderful job explaining detailed tools and techniques so that we could understand the processes you use to create your amazing art. However, the biggest impact of this workshop on the class was the expansion of artistic possibilities for the calligraphers. Most of the class has been involved with the art of beautiful writing for years. This experience allowed the group to focus on complementary decoration and layout of written text blocks instead of practicing letter forms.
We enjoyed the computer e-presentation of your work, detailed answers to all of our questions, your preparedness for the class, and the bonus of hearing your jazz DVD while we worked. Thank you again Melissa, your workshop has been a wonderful addition to our class offerings.
Society of Scribes, Ltd.
New York, New York
All in all, a fabulous weekend! I look forward to my next itinerant teaching opportunity.
What a treat to find my article, Variations on Modern Ketubah Texts: Reform/Egalitarian, Interfaith and Same Sex Wording, on 10,000 Couples!
10,000 Couples was created in October 2009 “as an online magazine dedicated to celebrating, affirming, and strengthening the commitment of gay and lesbian couples to one another and to their relationships. From that first encounter with ‘the one’ to child-proofing your kitchen right through to financing your retirement, we strive to give each matter the seriousness and the humor you deserve.”
I’m so honored that the editors selected my article for publication.
I love making ketubot, invitations, chuppah canopies and other artwork to celebrate gay and lesbian unions. Of course, I love all of my clients, but my gay and lesbian couples get hit with so much prejudice that when they encounter someone who supports them, they practically glow with appreciation!
It just makes me feel all warm and gooey inside!
As a way to ease the challenging process of planning a wedding in a world that doesn’t always support it, I offer a special discount for same gender couples.
If you know of any other great same gender resources, please let me know!
I’ve been a busy bee! It’s wedding season (hooray!), so the ketubah and wedding invitation orders are ramping up again, but I’ve also been hard at work on the new line for my Zazzle shop.
Unlike a ketubah, which can take dozens, even hundreds of hours to design, calligraph, paint/collage/paper cut/etc., these little pieces emerge relatively quickly. And the magic of having them almost instantaneously appear on various 3-dimensional items (thanks to Zazzle’s user interface) just tickles me!
It’s such a treat to make art purely because it inspires me, and will, therefore, hopefully also inspire others.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!