Creating light


I had to make the physical reality of the materials I had at hand match the vision inside my head so I could complete Ari’s atara.  I stitched the chiffon down to the layers of fabrics.


I then stitched around the word  ohr/light with silver metallic thread. The stitching would draw the eye to the word.


I added lines of the silver stitching over the two other words in the verse, illustrating the verse “ in Your light, we see light“.SAM_1967

But, then I had a second thought, beading the letters.


I know, it’s a slightly deranged idea. But I had a beading needle and my eyeglass prescription is pretty good, and I have lots of teeny beads.  The process was obsessive but took less time than I had expected.


I also couched four rows of the silver Lurex yarn to the atara to border the piece. 

I added dark bugle beads  to the rays of light . You will be able to see those later in the post. Photographing this tallit has been surprisingly difficult. There are so many layers of subtle twinkle, shimmer and glimmer that it seems to have thrown all of the sensors in my camera our of whack.


This tallit is interesting because while it is in many ways serene, it’s really busy, there is so much going on. The silk is made up of layers and layers of dots of color  that have been further embellished with beads and sequins. The pinot/corner pieces and atara/ neckband are made up of several layers of fabric that are designed to interact visually with one another, not to mention the additional hand painting  and beading on the top layer of chiffon.  I’m struck though by how unflashy this piece is, despite how much is going on when you look closely. The visual complexity draws you in to keep looking at the tallit.

Yesterday I finished assembling the whole thing.


You can see the dark gunmetal colored bugle beads below.SAM_1990SAM_1991

Here you can see some of the beading on the tallit itself.



Today I ship the tallit off to Ari, in a couple of days we will tie the tzitzit together via Skype.  I can’t wait for her to see the tallit in person.


  1. So good to see it all together. I love the addition of the beads and the layers of meaning with the stitching across the other words. The layers of dye really work to give an infinity perspective.
    To me this one comes under the heading of 'Sophisticated'.
    Well done! I hope she appreciates the meaning as well as the look.

  2. I think this may be one of my favorite pieces you have made. So beautiful with so much detail, and yet a kind of restraint too. I think Sandy has called it right... it's sophisticated in its design sense.

  3. One of the great things about working with Ari is how definite she has been about her likes and dislikes. NO BLUE. NOT GOLD. HATES LAVENDAR. also Ari and her mother have been offering me feedback as i went along...they didn't publish their comments publicly but we have been conversing back and forth through the entire process... Those conversations back and forth have helped me tremendously. I have been thinking as I have been working about my colleagues who sew wedding dresses... I don't know if bat mitzvah is a more rational time but my clients have nearly all of them been thoughtful and pretty terrific to work with...In 20 years of doing this there have been only one or two bat-zilla's-- at most. All the rest have been delightful from beginning to end.

    As for Ari appreciating the meaning...we studied the texts together. So yes, she does understand the meaning of the text. For me the whole point of doing this work is to get my clients to understand what a tallit is all about before we talk about what it ought to look like. it means that together we can create smarter work that can remain meaningful over a long period of time.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts