Back to work



Passover is over, the regular dishes are all in use and the Passover dishes and pots are all put away ( Many thanks to my family for working with me to make it all happen. ) .  The horseradish root has begun sprouting in earnest.  Mostly, I’m happy living in the city without a yard.  Allergy season usually has me delighted to not have to deal with all of that additional vegetation,and pollen,  but this sprouting root has given me garden lust. I would love to plant this ugly root and eat  the resulting roots next Passover.  I have been munching on some of the delightfully bitter leaves.

I actually have begun work on my next sewing project.  I was asked to make a challah cover for Eli and Rachel.  I met Eli when he was two. His parents were members of our community when I moved here. My husband was a college friend of Eli's mom, Beth.

Beth died about ten years ago, a month after her daughter’s bat mitzvah after a long hard fight with cancer.  When Eli’s older sister got married a couple of years ago, I was asked to make a challah cover for her.  I was charged with making it as if it were a gift from her mother. This is what I came up with Channeling Beth.

When I met with Eli and Rachel, we discussed the Challah cover that I had made previously and they asked to see the photos.  I didn’t want to impose exactly the same piece on Eli and his bride. But they asked to me to read them the text on the piece. They both loved it.  We discussed some of the colors they might like on their challah cover.  Rachel mentioned blue and gold. She also particularly loved some of the African wax prints I have used in some of my other work.

A day later I went up to the African shuk on 116th street and bought two fabrics that I thought would work well for the piece. This fabriceli   rachel altabric

caught my eye first. I thought I would combine it with blue silk shantung and just use the fabric as an accent.


I liked this fabric as well. I didn’t love that the printing was slightly mis-registered. After I looked at it at home I figured I would back the piece in this fabric.

e r fabric3

Today I began to calligraph the lettering.  Rachel wanted gold lettering.  I couldn’t find a blue or purple silk shantung in my stash, so instead I used a deep blue cotton velveteen. Painting lettering on the napped velveteen is actually kind of an awful job. The paint on half of the paint strokes just won’t adhere.  I decided to go ahead anyway.  It was less awful than I had anticipated.

eli   rachel detail 3

The lettering needs to be strengthened a bit, but it looks pretty good.

The fabric that I had thought would be perfect for the back started to look really good as the border of the piece. It was even a border print with two rows of border design.

eli =racherl detail2

I love how so much of the process of working is about ditching ideas that don’t quite work and creating a “ plan B “ that is far better than “plan A”.


I understand that there are artists who come up with a concept and then have their lackeys do the actual work of creating a piece.  Clearly,  I’m someone who needs to stir the pot and taste the soup as I work.

I will post more photos tomorrow because I was forced to make a few other  “plan B” decisions in making this piece.


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