I’ve been an artist all my life, going from a refrigerator Picasso to a professional Judaica artist in a mere 50 years or so. For all that time, I worked in black-and-white: pen and ink, charcoal, graphite. In 2001, I went from an avowed atheist to an involved Jew and a world of color opened up to me. The conversion led me to study in Jerusalem, and that’s where I found my new profession as an artist.
Jerusalem is a city of buildings made from sandstone that goes from a soft tan in the morning to blinding white at midday to deep gold at sunset. Most of its color comes from the people that live there, and the ideas they express. Jerusalem is (among other things), a city of artists. Painting, glass, calligraphy, textiles, sculpture…it’s all there. The art expresses every kind of notion, from complete abstraction to a love of the land, from modern art to religious longing.
I stayed in Jerusalem a month on my first trip in 2006, to study at Pardes. I didn’t expect to find so much art and so many generous artists willing to share their ideas, their work, their techniques. A chance meeting with a micrographer/artist in a gallery led to meeting world-class calligrapher Izzy Pludwinsky, and that led to meeting the master of Jewish papercut artists, Archie Granot. I immediately became fascinated with papercutting and awed by Archie’s work. I searched out all the fine paper and X-acto blades I could find in the ancient city. I went to school by day and cut paper by night.
Today, I have developed my own papercutting style and have a Judaic art business, Hebrica. It’s not full-time yet, as I still have a marketing practice, but my goal is to make it my “retirement job” when the time comes. I have returned to Israel and hope to do that again, soon and as often as I can. For me, it’s not only a distant and exotic place to travel, it’s the source.
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