Monday, December 12, 2005

First Chuppah

Finally got the photo posted! But without commentary, so here goes:
This was my first major project. I wanted to make a chuppah for my children that would encompass both personal elements and Judaic themes.
I am jealous of those who see the finished product in their head before they start working. My creative process such: I have an idea and start and see where it takes me.
I had decided on the format of squares and rectangles, mostly because I was afraid that if I did one large fabric canvas, I couldn't manage it and I wouldn't finish it. By "dividing and conquering" into smaller units, I would have the satisfaction of completing them, and then assemble them into the larger unit.
I knew I wanted to use my wedding "gown" --I got married in the late 60's on kibbutz so there wasn't a lot of fabric. It was a mini dress made from material purchased from a remnant bin in a Ramat Gan store... (Background fabric for chamsa). I also wanted to use something of my mother's. My mother, Charna, got married in Toronto in a backyard wedding. Her wedding attire was a pale blue suit, because to buy a white dress for one use was impractical and the suit she could wear more than once. But she had totally impractical lace fingerless gloves. They are the chuppah in the central panel. Some of you may recognize the central panel as being a well-known work by Obican. My Uncle Chaim had purchased a framed copy of a calendar page of it for $2 at the local Pioneer Women's or Hadassah bazaar. I loved the images in the picture -- the chuppah and the klezmerim so I used it. The bride is wearing pearls from a bracelet my sister Penina gave me as a bridesmaid's gift at her wedding. The bride's shoes and the groom's shoes are made from my Aunty Nechama's glove collection. The klezmerim are done in my "specialty" -- embellished felt applique. Above them is sheet music of a klezmer tune printed onto silk. My late father, Abe Galper, was a well-known clarinetist and published a collection of klezmer tunes, including several wedding tunes. The one I used is "Far der chuppah". The candlesticks, although a universal Judaic theme, also have a family twist. They are a replicate of my candlesticks which were my great grandmother's. Also a story. My mother had them gathering dust in her basement. I asked for them, took them home, shined them up and used them proudly. My mother's entire family came to Canada in the early twenties so this was a real heirloom -- or so I thought. Turns out my mother bought them for a few bucks at Woolworth's as a mother's day present for her bobbeh...The background fabric for the "ani ledodi" is from my cousin Ruthie's wedding dress. The "kol simcha etc." panels have actual bells so the chuppah makes music when it's in use. The top left hand corner is my homage to Moshav Sadot where my children were born. It is white crazy quilt with green trim (Sadot was actually "sadot yerukim" -- green fields). the tassels hang down when the chuppah is in use. As do the zodiac signs embossed on velvet (not terribly successfully) in the lower right hand corner.
A few other symbols, wedding rings, pomegranates, love birds, etc. round it out.
My subsequent work is perhaps technically more polished, but this one got me more involved in needlework in general and Judaic needlework in particular, so it will always be special to me.
And if my children eventually use it, I will be ecstatic.

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About Me

I am in my mid 50's, have been married (happily) for 38 years, have 3 adult children who live an ocean away... By day I am a legal secretary. The rest of the time I play with fabric but I still won't run with scissors...