This 1966 oil painting by Marc Chagall, brings the surrealist’s eye to rainbow as the sign of the covenant.
The sign of hope – the cost of the covenant?
David Ben-Gurion, 1st Prime Minister of the State of Israel, born October 16, 1886.
Consider the brain as a creative medium.
Embroidery and Sacred Text: New Designs in Judaic Needlework is the author’s journal of her personal voyage into tying the mathematics of cross stitch design, planning and the final execution of the design to the celebration of various passages from text such as torah, tehillim, piyutim, decorative articles for the home, and personal family life cycle events.
The introduction sets the stage for the theme of repetition in Judaic text with the integration of math concepts present in embroidery design.
It discusses the idea of repetition that is evident in the Jewish calendar cycle, biblical passages that detail textual lists: of names, places, instructions for offerings, and instructions for the preparation and decoration of the mishkan.
The writer is a mathematician and is drawn to the orderliness of these lists, charts, the constant counting, columns, and the constant counting. She notes a similarity in the repetition of graph paper to woven fabric, particularly of Aida cloth which is the base for her embroidery echoing of the multitude of identical stitches needed to create the embroidery patterns.
The book consists of 22 full colour plates of embroidery in the “Blackwork” style. Blackwork, sometimes called Spanish work, is a very old type of counted thread needlework, traditionally done using black thread. Rachel Braun has given a new life to the form by using coloured threads to provide variations and contrast.
The book is divided into four parts. The first section of consists of beautiful colour plates of the embroideries. Each of the 22 colour plates is accompanied by a completely detailed artist’s statement and explanation.
The second section details the mathematical processes involved in creating and planning each pattern. The author delves into the concepts of geometry, symmetry, rotations, counting, and area, complete with enlarged detail colour plates.
Part three explains the differences between fill and border work in Blackwork embroidery, complete with an illustration of the graphing technique used. There are 3 pages of showing “fill” techniques, 2 pages of “corner” and “border” and “medallions”, and 1 page detailing progressive pattern (with a graph), all with colour plates.
The last section has both English and Hebrew fonts, graphed out for ease of use.
I enjoyed the detail in the colour plates and the artist’s use of colour. The embroidery work is exceptional. The attention to every stitch, every thought, and diarizing of each piece is intense, and would be most appreciated by an advanced hand embroiderer, a student of textile and embroidery arts, and one with a scholarly interest in Judaic textiles.
This review was written by guest contributor Paula Shuchat Miller. Paula is a Toronto-based textile and mixed-media artist, a certified Paverpol instructor, and a long time member of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles in Canada. You can learn more about Paula, her work, and custom creations
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We were mesmerized by the colors and fluidity in Chaim Parchi’s needlepoint design. With the words of “Nachamu – comfort” surrounding images of Jerusalem, Parchi’s design embraced us. We couldn’t help but wonder how the completed needlepoint would feel under our fingertips, magnifying how our sense of touch is connected with the idea of comfort and safety.
Thank you to the artist, Chaim Parchi, for his permission to use this image, and to Doreen Finkel at www.artneedlepoint.com for connecting us. More information and his other work can be found at http://www.artneedlepoint.com/artists/parchi-chaim.