Working while yukky

Last Friday our dear friends came to town.


We went out to lunch. I was however coming down with a cold so I crawled into bed as soon as we finished luch.

I have been sick with what my friend Marla calls the yucks. The yuks tend to be accompanied with large quantities of snot.  The yuks are still with me.


But I have been working.



This challah cover bordered with African mud-cloth is now complete. SAM_3595


I could not be more pleased with how it turned out. SAM_3596

Yes, I am particularly aware of the power of using an African textile in a Jewish ritual object during these particular weeks.


I love the graphic impact  the mud cloth adds to the challah cover. I purchased the mud cloth at the African Shuk on 116th street.  Each time I purchase something in one of the stalls at that shuk  the the exchange is always more than just the exchange of cash for goods.  Each purchase always ends with clasped hands and an exchange of blessings.


I have also been working on Isabel’s tallit. I know isabel from my synagogue. For most of her life she has chosen to dress herself as if she were a child from the mid 1940’s. For the past year or so she has shifted to wearing clothing that makes her look like she is from  1960’s and early 1970’s.


Isabel’s Torah reading describes the garments of the High Priest. she wanted her tallit to reflect the colors used in the sanctuary.  She wanted to use the pomegranate and bells that appear on the hem of the High Priest's robes as the motif on the strip of her tallit.

I was not surprised that Isabel chose a heavy weight silk charmeuse for her tallit.  It is exactly what I would have expected from her.


I painted the silk for the main body of the tallit in layers This was an early stage of the painting.


Each layer of color needs to be heat set before you add the next layer of color.


This is about three layers of color later.

I have been working away on the pomegranate and bell stripes. Those too have to be worked up in layers.

isabel's tallit

This was the first layer.


I then stippled additional color onto each pomegranate and outlined the pomegranate and added gold details.

SAM_3602 SAM_3605


Next, I outlined the bells.


The I filled in the bells and added some details.




Next I’m going to add a bit of trellis work connecting the bells to one another. This design is based on an older Moroccan design.Isabel 001


I like how nicely the pomegranate strip goes with the painted silk.SAM_3620

Isabel is clearly of the more is more school. last night I met with a set of twins. I am making their tallitot as well. Their tallitot are all about restraint and editing. You will see those tallitot as they are being created over the next couple of weeks.


  1. Thanks for sharing your incredibly beautiful process. Amazing you can build all this up while you are yucky. Feel better and happy new year.

  2. Your work is totally awesome! I so enjoy your beautiful tallits.

  3. Wendy- thankyou. I can do small tasks while feeling yucky.There is lots of slack jawed time while ai am sick but I can occasionally muster up some energy.

    Thank you Roxanne!!!


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