Ritual has the power to create community, encourage the expression of joy, connect with self and planet, and bring people together to celebrate our humanity. Many important memories and events are “woven” into personally treasured objects.
Installation at SukkahWood, New York
Measurements: 5″ L x 4.5′ D x 6.5′ H
sustainably harvested maple, apple, and ash wood, dye, recycled plastic, woven ash bark roof
Bet Ha’am: House of the People
Sustainably harvested applewood, maple, red dogwood,
archival 140lb. paper, purchased reed, wood dyes, pigment inks, thread
52″L x 40″W x 22″D
In Jewish Tradition we kiss the Torah, prayer shawls, and some ceremonial objects to show love, respect and remembering. Members of Reform Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland, Maine were invited to kiss a triangle of paper while thinking about what they love about their congregation. These were sewn together into stars and then sewn together end to end, colored, and placed in a wall hung vessel evoking the Burning Bush and the ner tamid: eternal flame. More than 200 people participated in this project, which was part of a Maine Jewish Museum invitational exhibition of art inspired by Maine’s Synagogues.
Photo by Jay York
How Beautiful are Thy Tents: wedding canopy
mixed hardwoods, dye, mixed fiber
7.5′ H x 7′ W x 6.5′ D
Ready for wedding ceremony at Etz Chaim Synagogue, Portland, Maine 2013
photo by Aaron Flacke
Dwelling Place : Sukkah 2011 – 2012
Co-sponsored by University of New England 2012
Sukkot is a Jewish Fall Festival intended to joyfully reconnect people with the spirit of nature and forces larger than ourselves. It is a reminder that Jews wandered for 40 years in the desert with no permanent home. All are welcome: nature does not recognize religious or national boundaries. As we rejoice in our blessings we also remember that there are still people in our own communities who do not have a permanent home, whose experience of nature is often harsh and dangerous.
Traditional Jews eat, sleep and live in the Sukkah for a week, as weather permits. The roof, made of natural materials only, is required to be somewhat open to the sky, enough to see the stars. I have used local branches and saplings along with recycled plastic to create a space for celebration, community, contemplation, and prayer.
For more information, see Portland Press Herald article.
Project sponsored by Southern Maine Hillel and colleges and universities in the region. Funded in part by the 2011 Linda and Joel Abromson Award.
photos by Rosalba Breazeale
Congregation Bet Ha’am, Portland, Maine
plexiglas with standard size Kosher scroll.
In creating this mezuzah cover for the Congregation’s new building, I considered the power of words and prayer to inspire and focus us. Hebrew calligraphy has the ability to connect us to a history, a people, and a source of identity. This ancient text seemed too beautiful to be completely hidden, yet too complex in its intent to be left completely visible at first glance. The curves of the sanctuary roof and the simplicity of the contemporary building design led to the shape and material I used. Plexiglass is warm and, when sanded, silken to the touch. I wanted the person touching it to look forward to touching/seeing it again. I wanted the text under our fingers to be the focus of attention.
terra cotta, stains, underglaze, glazes, raku
dimensions: h 3″ x w 4″ each
Ceremonial objects for the transition to womanhood. Created for a collaborative project with letters, each made by a different artist. So much about our society and the English language is called “generic”, yet is actually male. It seemed that a “woman’s touch” might be useful, as well as fun. This literal interpretation led to an exploration of the material as well as the concept. 2005