Quilts
May 4, 2007Public
Photo: "Creation: The Prequel"  This 7 foot high quilt combines the Kabbalah's diagram of the the 10 sefirot with images from the some of the oldest light in the universe and other photos of God's cosmic handiwork. According to Kabbalah, God's goodness is bestowed upon us by means of 10 emanations, or ten different ways of revealing God, one per level. It is not God who changes but the ability to perceive God that changes. The diagram is known by several names, The Tree of Life, or Etz haChayim (עץ החיים) in Hebrew, Adam Kadmon, or the Primordial human form, and as the ten sefirot. It is a symbol Jewish mystics use to understand the nature of God and the manner of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). Kabbalists consider it a"map" of Creation. Exhibited in American Visionary Art Museum, 2008-2009.
Photo: Days 1-4: In the beginning G-d created  Heaven and Earth, and Earth was formless and empty; darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of G-d hovered over the waters, and G-d said, "Let there be light," and there was light, and it was evening, and it was morning, day one. Then G-d said, "Let there be an expanse of sky to divide between the waters above and the waters below...But wait! The are proteins and nucleotides forming in the primordial ooze... and it was evening, and it was morning, day two. Then G-d divided between the water and the dry land, and (and created DNA, then algae) then all the other plants, the grasses, the flowering plants, and the trees, each one bearing fruit after its own kind. Pomegranates here are symbolic of Torah, and wheat and grapes a hint of the Sabbath day to come...and it was evening, and it was morning, (though the skies were still empty) day three. Then G-d created the lights of the heavens, the sun, and the moon.  Was in American Visionary Art Museum, 2008-2009
Photo: Day Four (Yom Revi'i) Inspired by Maariv Prayer-In addition to the explanation on the previous photo the completed piece has the phases of the moon labeled with their corresponding Torah portions in Hebrew beads, and the vignettes from the Psalm for the Day have the text in sometimes playful English beadwork.  The binding on the outermost edge depicts clocks showing the hours and the minutes of the days.
Photo: Creation: Day 5 
And God said, "Let the waters teem with the moving creature that have life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open skies of heaven." And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after its kind: and God saw that it was good.And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." And it was evening and it was morning, day five.
Photo: And the Heavens and the Earth were completed and all they contain." The Sabbath: The Earthly View.
The Garden of Eden here contains a wide variety of wildlife, including panda, koala, platypus, elephants, Giraffes, deer, insects, various birds, fish, a mouse, prey relaxing alongside predators, notably the lion and the lamb. A dinosaur makes a cameo appearance, as does the Tree of Knowledge in the center of the Garden.
Photo: Sabbath: Heavenly View "And the Heavens and the Earth were completed, and all that they contain"  The planets and asteroids are all actual photographs.  The Sun is from the STEREO project.  The constellations are machine-embroidered. I made a point of including the AnneFrank asteroid, thanks to Ted Stryk for that photo, it seemed appropriate for a Jewish quilt.  The beauty and delicate color of the space photographs does not come across in this photo.  Needless to say, this is not even close to scale.  And yes, I included Pluto, it may not be a planet but it's still a part of the solar system.  The picture of Mercury is from the latest MESSENGER fly-by on 1/21/2008 and was actually added to the quilt on top of the previously available photo as the quilt was in already progress on that date. For info on the ongoing Messenger and STEREO missions, see the www.JHUAPL.edu, I apologize there is not room for all the photo credits here, most are from NASA and Hubble.
Photo: Sabbath, the Earthly View
"And the Heavens and the Earth were finished and all they contain."  The Garden of Eden here contains a wide variety of wildlife, including panda, koala, platypus, elephants, Giraffes, deer, insects, various birds, fish, a mouse, prey relaxing alongside predators, notably the lion and the lamb. A dinosaur makes a cameo appearance, as does the Tree of Knowledge in the center of the Garden.
Photo: The Deluge-Noah's ark is the tiny brown boat amid the raging waters.  See detail.
Photo: The Parting of the Red Sea
The disoriented fish are swimming veritically, the timeline moves from top to bottom from slavery to redemption from the plagues and bricks and taskmasters to the wilderness and eventually the land of (sheep's!) milk and honey. No, the 40 years in the wilderness were not a long cattle drive.  The Israelites were sheep and goat herders.  Also note the wheat and grapes because free people may observe Sabbath, and the two tablets with the 10 commandments waiting on the mountaintop just to the left of center near the bush level with Moses's feet.
Photo: This quilt includes all the necessary steps to celebrate the Passover Seder.
Photo: Sefirat HaOmer Calendar Digital Art  
Each day of the counting of the Omer (Barley offering in  ancient Israel) is represented by a combination of two Hubble Space Telescope images. The inner one is in the shape of a sheaf of barley.  There are 49 possible combinations one for each day of the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot.  The images represent the same concepts as the  lower seven of the Sefirot in the Prequel Quilt above.  There is a tradition of linking those Sefirot with the Sefirah of counting, a play on words, and a linking of mystical concepts.  See http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/276672/jewish/SpiritualnbspGuide.htm for details.
Photo: Sefirah Calendar Quilt - the previous image has been printed on fabric 36"square (.923 meter) and made into a quilt.
Photo: Bilaam (Balaam) & Talking Donkey. In Numbers 22-24 God makes an ass out of a prophet and a prophet out of an ass.  Despite his better judgment, Bilaam sets out to curse the Israelites from a hilltop. His she-ass sees an angel in the path and stops, but the prophet cannot see the angel till the donkey speaks and God opens his eyes.  Bilaam praises the Israelites with the words of Ma Tovu, "How good are your tents, your dwellings, O Israel" and compares them to trees by streams with well watered roots. Cotton, fleece, yarn, wool roving, beads, pieced, appliqued and felted.
Photo: David's Harp- Starting at the upper right, David sees Bat Sheva (Bath Sheba) bathing in the center of the quilt. He sents for the married woman, commits adultery and descends as he attempts to cover up adultery with murder. The left side shows he ascent into Teshuvah, repentance.
Photo: Ezekiel 37 Valley of the Dry Bones Ezekiel 37- The Valley of the Dry Bones: Ezekiel had a vision that God placed him in a valley full of dried out bones. God brought the bones back together into skeletons, added flesh and skin, and blew the breath of life into them from the four directions. God told Ezekiel the bones represented exiled and despaired People of Israel. He will enliven them and bring them back into the Land of Israel. This is the inspiration for the song, "Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Dry Bones" Machine and hand appliqued and machine quilted.
Exhibited in American Visionary Art Museum 2008-2009.
Photo: Ezekiel 37 Revisited, or "Welcome Back"
The newly resurrected women contemplate their situation.
A friend of mine came back to life from sudden cardiac death awakening from a coma on the eve of Hanukah, 2008.   Now that she is back, immensely grateful for her miracle, she finds herself reflecting on God's purpose for this newly restored life.  (A good question for any of us to contemplate when we arise each morning.)
Photo: Purim Masquerade! 
 The quilt is dressed up as a Persian Rug because the Book of Esther takes place in Persia.  The fabrics depict the story and the holiday celebration.  Masks, graggers (noisemakers,) Megillah (the scroll of the Book of Esther, hamentashen, wine, the racially diverse young women of from all the provinces from Asia to Africa who sought to become queen. Esther, the banquet, Mordechai riding on the king's white horse, gifts given to friends and charity to the poor, the royal treasury, even the purple wall-hangings from the palace are depicted. The palace itself sits in the center of the quilt.
Photo: Reveal Your Hidden Light!
This Hanukah piece contains a menorah that isn't obvious close-up, but is readily apparent as the view backs up a bit.
The back depicts donuts, a Hanukah treat.  (Private Collection)
Photo: Holidays Wall Hanging Whimsical Version
Photo: First of two Holiday Quilts, "Hag" the light centers suggest the days of the holidays, the companion quilt will have dark centers, and will be "Erev Hag" suggesting the evenings.  Machine pieced with Machine and hand quiliting, and detailed hand embellishment.
Photo: Sunrise Mizrach- A hanging for the Eastern wall of a home indicated the direction to face for prayer. (toward Jerusalem.)
Photo: Mizrach
The Hebrew word means East and indicates which direction to face when praying in order to direct one's heart toward Jerusalem.  This is a quilted Mariner's Compass framing a silk painting.  The solid teal background is not part of the piece.  The quote from Psalms is "From the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, praise the name of the Holy One."
Photo: Tevye's Dream (Fiddler on the Roof)
Mirrors the dream and nightmare that Tevye made up to convince Golde to break Tzeitl's engagement to the butcher in favor of Motel the Tailor.
Photo: Synesthesia is the mixed perception of two senses. Here we see the music.  I made this for my mother-in-law. Well, she asked for something colorful! The musical instruments either are or have been played by members of her immediate family and grandchildren.  The triangle is the catch-all. I figure we've all played that somewhere along the way.  The double-belled euphonium is a rare instrument that my father-in-law played. It doesn't appear on any fabric I've ever seen. I had to build my own from available parts, so to speak.  Mom plays piano, Pop played trumpet, they are intertwined on the top layer of the quilt representing their loving marriage.