Monday 10 June 2024

Rotem & Natan

Rotem and Natan got married in May 2023. Natan's mum wanted me to make a piece of art for the couple back then, but I was in the throes of organizing the art exhibition in Gadi's memory and it was simply not the right time for me. I told her that she could ask me again for their first anniversary, which is what she in fact did. This time I was able to create a special card for the couple and I had a photo from their big day to base it on too.
Natan's mum sent me the couple's favourite photo and, in addition, a second one which she thought had a nicer background. I suggested showing the couple posed the way they are in their favourite photo, but with the second, more natural background.
Mum thought it was a lovely idea.
I was careful to match the exact shade of Natan's green suit and the flowers in Rotem's bouquet. I added his maroon pocket square and the dainty flowers in her hair.
Natan's mum wrote to tell me how much they loved the card. "Once again a really beautiful job. Thank you so much." she said.
I cannot finish this post without mentioning the Hamas war on Israel. On 8th June 2024, after 245 days in captivity, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrei Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv were rescued from Gaza in a joint operation by the Israel Defence Forces, Shin Bet, and the Israel Police. A total of 116 hostages, taken prisoner during the 7th October 2023 attacks on Israel, have now been freed. 120 hostages remained in captivity in the Gaza Strip.
Bring them home now!

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Monday 3 June 2024

"Ha-Morah"

As summer approaches and you all start thinking about end-of-year teacher gifts, I thought I'd share with you some pieces I created back in 2022. I have not yet posted about them here.
My customer wrote to me to tell me that her daughter was graduating high school that year. She had had the same two teachers for the past six years and really wanted to get a special gift for them. She asked me to create a custom-made papercut and was totally open to suggestions regarding the design.
One thought my customer had was to include the word "Ha-Morah" (the teacher) in the design and to add decorative leaves and vines. Her daughter also wanted to incorporate an infinity symbol, which has been adopted by the autism/neurodiversity community, though she didn't want the symbol to be the main focus. Flowers are great too, she said.
I created a circular piece, which fitted into a 9x9 inch frame. The inside circle is solid with the word המורה (the teacher) cut out of it. The outer circle is filled with pomegranates, flowers and vines, along with my signature little bird. The infinity symbol, which specifically represents autism acceptance, appears at the bottom of the papercut and blends in nicely with the swirly vines.
If my customers are local, which this lady is, I offer to frame my pieces too. My customer asked me to frame one piece in jewel tone green and one in jewel tone blue.
The papercuts were very well received.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Flowers

We did very little during the Passover holiday. There isn't much to celebrate at the moment and anyway it was extremely hot for some of the days of Hol Hamoed, the five days between the first day of Passover and the last day. I had however booked tickets for "Flowers" in Tel Aviv, which was advertised as the largest flower exhibition in Israel. We went to a wonderful flower show in Haifa back in 2012 and I was intrigued to see how this new show would compare. It was cool inside the Expo Tel Aviv complex, where the exhibition took place, though unfortunately we were far from the only visitors! It seems that every Israeli thought to escape the warm weather too and let's just say it was rather crowded.
The "Flowers" displays were created using over two million flowers. Many of these were rare species not native to Israel and were specially imported for the event, along with flowers that were grown in Israel, including in the Gaza Envelope.
Each hall in the exhibition had a different theme. The first hall was the Tropical Hall. It featured floral monkeys, a huge yellow, red and white snake which towered above the crowds, and a peacock with a four metre long tail that stretched out on the floor like a colourful fan. The peacock was made up of a variety of flowers including scabious and lisianthus. Other animals included butterflies, a lion, a zebra and more. 
Next was the Hall of the Planets, which included the sun, the moon and the earth. The earth was woven with beautiful blue lobelia flowers, while the crescent shaped moon was designed using petunia and lobelia. The sun was created in yellow and orange, using bidens, marigolds and chrysanthemum. 
The Hall of Legends covered the world of fairy tales. Alice in Wonderland's tea party table, below, included beautiful tiered cakes and cupcakes sculpted with more than 4,500 flowers such as carnations, Belvedere rose, alstroemeria, Craspedia, orchids and more.
The Yellow Ribbon is a symbol of hope and solidarity, expressing support for bringing home the hostages. More than 250 hostages were taken captive by Hamas following the 7th October terrorist attack. Since the hostage deal between Israel-Hamas in November 2023, 125 remain in captivity.
I wasn't a fan of the next exhibit, the magical Swan Lake. Ten swans covered with 5,000 chrysanthemum and white alstroemeria, which were grown especially for the exhibition, swam on a huge lake. Unfortunately they looked more like little fat ducks than swans to me! I have not included a photo.
The finale of the exhibition was a giant chessboard. The game pieces included a green knight decorated in pink at the base and with a mane made of amaranth flowers. The queen had a green base with 3 rings shaped like crowns, above, all made of alstroemeria flowers, scabiosa and orchid branches. The height of the chess pieces ranged from 2 to 2.5 metres.
How did the exhibition compare to the one we had seen in Haifa all those years ago? There were way too many people inside the buildings, making it impossible to see the flowers properly. While some of the displays were impressive, it was hard to enjoy them while jostling with the crowds. More attention should have been paid to entry times and the number of entrants should have been limited. In addition signage was poor. I would have liked to have read more about the flowers and the meaning of each piece, though frankly I could barely see the signs that were there anyway!
But, the flowers were beautiful, and that's what mattered. With everything going on in Israel today, it was nice to escape into the cool halls for a couple of hours to enjoy the beauty of the displays.

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

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