I have been embellishing my work with these lovely meandering vines for quite a while now.
I think I first began playing with the motif when I had to come up with something that looked vaguely Persian. Drawing those tendrils is slightly addictive and very comforting.
The motif has always felt very correct on Jewish ritual objects and deeply Jewish in a way that I didn’t fully understand.
I finally made the connection today.
This is my kiddush cup. It’s Russian and was made in 1867. My father inherited a similar one, slightly larger and with slightly more ornate floral motifs from his grandfather, David Joseph Jakubowits of Konin, Poland. My father’s cup was stamped 1848.
Growing up, my father had his kiddush cup, my mother had one from her father. When my older sisters were little someone had given each of them a small silver Israeli stemmed goblet. We owned lots of kiddush cups, but none were specifically mine.
At my own table, my husband used the kiddush cup his synagogue gave him at his bar mitzvah. My kids were each given a kiddush cup when they were born. I was an adult but still didn’t own my own kiddush cup.
I decided that for my 40th birthday I wanted my own kiddush cup. After looking at lots of kiddush cups I decided that what I really wanted was one like my father’s. I finally found exactly what I wanted on Ebay.
I realized today that the meandering vine that I use so often in my work is the same as the design on my kiddush cup. No wonder it seems so deeply Jewish to me, so right for embellishing Jewish ritual objects.
Sometimes I’m just slow.