Hearing Voices

When I work, I often have ear worms, that is little chunks of music that play themselves over and over in my head.  I have learned, over the years, to pay attention to those ear worms. Often they have something to do with my work.

One of the pieces that I have been working on is the Parochet/ark curtain for the Solomon Schechter School. I had met with the 8th grade girls who are commissioning the piece just after Rosh ha Shanah. The text that they chose, comes from the Psalm that we recite, actually, more often, sing, as we return the Torah scroll to the ark after we have completed reading it for the day, at services.  "The earth is God's and all it contains"

The melody that we most often use, is a wonderful grand Germanic stately march. When you hear it you can, in your mind's eye, see the angels marching across the clouds. This morning as I was going about my business, eating breakfast, putting up the challa dough, taking my shower, I kept hearing that melody in my head, and yes, singing it.


When I bought the wool for the parochet, I knew that I would dye it. I was unsure about the colors. I began with what would be easiet, the swath of water. By painting the dye onto the wet wool and by diluting it, the water would look watery.  I used a similar technique to create the sky.I also needed to indicate, as in the rest of the verse, " the world and its inhabitants". My clients, the 8th grade girls, wanted the world indicated by trees.

The wool absorbs the dye in a soft way. When you paint on silk, you usually get an intensity of color. The fuzzieness of wool diffuses the effect of the color. I decided to imply the trees with couched spirals of yarn. I'm not usually a fan of hand work. But I'm loving hand couching the yarn to the wool background. the yarn came to me from my friend Mary Katherine, who was, for a while, a technical editor at Vogue Knitting. One of the side benefits of her job was fabulous yarn.

Because I am a dribs and drabs knitter, random skeins of lovely yarn suit my needs perferctly. I tend to knit or crochet small things, like baby sweaters. The varied textures and colors of the yarns are shaping up nicely.

The parochet is at exactly the stage, when it is a good idea, not to show it to your client. There is often a point when a piece looks like pure chaos. We are currently there. The parochet will be beautiful in the end. I have seen some clients get very anxious when they see a piece in it's early stages. I want to assure the Schechter girls that they will be happy with the parochet in the end.

So stay tuned to see this piece emerge from chaos into order.

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