Freedom and reality

B and I attended the same Jewish day school. B was two  years ahead of me. We had never spoken. Given how small the school was, ( there were 28 in my graduating class) we certainly knew who one another was.
B, now lives around he corner from my husband’s closest friend.  A couple of years ago, while visiting my husband's friend B. and I went for a long walk and had a long heart to heart about our school experiences.  Despite never having spoken during our school years, we really knew one another quite well.

A few weeks ago  B. and her family hosted us for the weekend. Just before we left, B. handed me her tallit. she loved the tallit but hated the atara/neckband  pictured here.  I suggested that the new atara serve as B’s gateway into prayer and that she should think about a verse that would be that gateway.

beula's tallit (2)
A week or so ago, B called . She had chosen the verse
“ And the spirit of God hovered over the face of the water”
Many of you may recognize that verse from the beginning of the Genesis.

I love B’s choice. I asked B if she wanted to discuss the design with me. She said something that is both very freeing and completely terrifying. She said that she completely trusted me as an artist. despite the freedom that B. gave me, the atara had to fit with the existing tallit.
I thought that I wouild have the text hovering between the sky and the water. The hard part for me was making the atara work with the existing pink stripes.

I decided that rather than making a blue sky, I would show a rosy sunrise/sunset sky. I dyed a length of heavy, heavy silk satin.
beula's tallit (4)
Here is the silk I dyed next to the pink dyed by the artist who made the tallit.
beula's tallit (1)

I then began to add text.
So far it reads “ And the spirit of God hovers”.

I then had to build the water. Such a grand statement needs not a river but an ocean to stand for the water.  I fused some blue charmeuse to interfacing and  cut it into waves. I sealed the edges with acrylic paint and painted more watery movement on the waves.  I plan to layer the waves . I still have to sew everything down.
I have lots of decisions to make as I work, but I’m happy about how this is shaping up.

So far the hardest thing about working on this atara was removing the old atara.  The stitching was teeny and worst of all was white on white.  To complicate matters a bit more the tallit itself is not the sturdiest of silks.  I didn't curse all that much while pulling out the stitches. But, yes, one could go blind doing this sort of work all of the time.


  1. love your work, sarah .... you have an amazing talent ... thank you for showing us! take care and love .... darlene (a sewing list sister)

  2. Your work is beautiful. B should be so pleased.

  3. It's just lovely, Sarah! Thanks for sharing. Charlotte from the Creative Machine list

  4. I'm so happy to see my CMN sewing pals here. Thanks for your generous comments!!!


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