From a very early age, I loved art. I spent hours drawing, making origami figures, cutting shapes and gluing everything together. My love of art was tied early to my love of books and illustration. My mother encouraged my art and brought me all kinds of art supplies. She took college art history courses when I was in middle school, and amassed a huge library of art books, which she freely shared with me.
The twin poles of my childhood home were art and Judaism. Although my family wasn't particularly observant religiously, my parents shared their love of Jewish culture and history with us. I learned to read and write Hebrew, and as a teenager combined this interest with art by teaching myself to do Hebrew calligraphy. At the age of 17, I made my first ketubah (hand-written, illustrated Jewish marriage contract, a traditional folk art.)
I have had the privilege of making ketubahs for two generations for several families:
I have been making ketubahs my entire adult life. I have made hundreds by now. I was part of the revival of the artistic ketubah from the very beginning, in the early 1970's. I have grown up with the ketubah, and it has grown with me.
My process is collaborative. Each ketubah becomes a portrait of a couple: their story, passions, personality. Talking with them inspires colors, simplicity or complexity, dynamism or serenity. My ketubah prints reflect the experience of telling many stories; in them, I express the things so many couples love: nature, colors, warmth, romance.
I feel a link with antiquity each time I sit down to write the same words that have been written for Jewish marriages for two millennia. At the same time, I am advancing the art form of the ketubah by offering modern texts and new imagery and techniques, and including diverse communities, such as same-sex and interfaith couples.
The Ketubah is unique to the Jewish community, and I feel it enriches the world community as a beautiful celebration of love, family and letters.
My work is nature-based. I am currently working on a series of woodblock prints which feature birds, mostly owls and ravens. I consider them to be spiritual self-portraits.
I have been on the teaching faculty of the Chicago Botanic Garden for fifteen years. I am a member of the Global Arts Alliance, which is an artists’ group dedicated to solving environmental and other social problems creatively. I was invited to present my work at the 2017 conference for Wild Things, a nexus for grassroots Chicago conservation.
I am committed to art, nature preservation and education.