נוטה שמים–Establishing the sky

This morning, yesterday’s deep plums had dried to a lighter shades.  That meant that I had to get back to work spattering droplets of color on the tallit. When I work I keep thinking about my clients’ deep likes and dislikes.

 

Ari hates lavender. The tallit should not be blue. I keep hearing her voice in my head as I work. last Shabbat I attended a synagogue not my own. This weeks Torah reading talked about Bezalel, the architect/artist/ craftsman of the Sanctuary.The rabbi talked about the two types of architects/ artists mentioned in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Now that I’m not a starry eyed teenager reading the book, but a working artist, all I can tell you is that Howard Roark the architect who refuses to listen to his clients, and only listens to his muse is a major league jackass.

If you do commission work, the piece needs to meet the needs of your client.  It isn’t just that your client is paying the bill .  If you accept a commission they you need to meet the needs of your client. Ari’s tallit isn’t about me. I have helped her to articulate what a tallit needs to be for her.  Clearly I have helped her to think about tallit in a more sophisticated way than she might have done on her own. Clearly I have a point of view and any one who knows me that I’m certainly opinionated.  But I am making a tallit for Ari so her needs, her likes and hates  are a big part of the decisions that I make as I work.

The sense of an artist just expressing his or her own desires is a 19th century Romantic invention. I follow in the footsteps of artist/craftsmen who have been working with others to realize a vision since before the time of Bezalel.  I am not going to make a tallit that I think is silly, or one that goes against halacha in letter or in spirit.  My job though is to listen to my clients and to hear what matters to them and to help them shape that into a meaningful tallit.SAM_1908

So,  hearing Ari’s desires, I added more spatters of color. My method of painting this tallit consists of loading up a paint brush with dye, holding it my right and and banging the paint brush with my left hand. This yields a fine spray of dye. After several passes on the fabric my hand looks like this.

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My arm is freckled.

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Luckily it’s easy to get dye off skin, you just wipe it down with rubbing alcohol.

 

I added a spatters of silver to look like stars. I may sew additional twinkly stuff to the tallit once it is dry and the color has set.

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The silk has to sit for a day before I heat set the dyes and then wash all of the extra dye away and press again. Tomorrow I will get to work on the pinot and the atara.

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