Monday, 28 March 2016

Amy's Album

Amy's Grandma requested a Batmitzvah album for her "Rock Chick" granddaughter. She loves to perform, Grandma told me, and does amateur dramatics. Purple is her favourite colour. 
I showed curly-haired Amy on the front of her album with her black guitar, which I had be sent a photograph of, and a peace sign that was specially requested by Grandma. There are a few music notes dotted around her. A Magen David (Star of David) in two corners added a Jewish element to the design.
I decorated five pages inside the album. The first page featured Amy's black guitar once again, above, then I included the logos from the musicals Annie and The Jungle Book on the next embellished pages. Amy has just had the lead in The Jungle Book, and the tables at her Batmitzvah were all names of well known musicals. Annie was her invitation. Amy likes shopping too, so I added some colourful bags to the next page, whilst the last page in her album featured a purple coloured peace sign once again. Each of these pages were embellished with music notes as well.
Grandma was kind enough to write to me when she received the album:
"Hi Lisa,
Thank you. The book arrived yesterday. It is really lovely and sure Amy will love it when she sees it.
It's been lovely working with you.
Best wishes

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Daniel and Ro'i

Football fan, Daniel, was turning 10. His favourite team is Manchester City, so Mum asked me to create a customised birthday card showing him wearing the team's sky blue shirt. He often likes to wear his favourite hat too, which Mum sent me a photo of. His precious Manchester City ball was included on the card as well.
Daniel, Mum told me, really loved the card!

Daniel's big brother Ro'i marked his 15th birthday back in January (hey, it's never too late to show you cards here!). For his birthday card, Mum chose a skateboarding theme. He loves to go everywhere on his skateboard, she told me. I tried to get just the right look for his longer hair, his "almost 15 year old look" as Mum called it. He's since had it cut short!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Tel Aviv's First City Hall

Beit Ha’Ir, Tel Aviv's first City Hall, was built in 1925 at the northern end of Bialik Street. Israel's national poet, Haim Nahman Bialik, had decided to move to the Holy Land in 1924 and was in fact already so famous that as soon as he decided to immigrate and purchase a plot in Tel Aviv, the tiny road next to his unbuilt house was re-named Bialik Street. It became a rather grand little street and was once the venue for parades, concerts, dancing and loud demonstrations against the British.
Around the same time that Bialik was making his home on the street named in his honour, Tel Aviv's first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, was looking around for a new municipal building (the Tel Aviv municipality was initially located on Rothschild Boulevard). Dizengoff was shown sketches for all kinds of magnificent buildings, but they were way beyond the city’s budget. Fortunately, an American Jewish family, the Skura family, had just finished the construction of a large building, originally intended as a hotel, next to Bialik's new home. The hotel had opened for business in 1925 but was deemed unprofitable due to the lack of tourists. In 1928 it was rented out to the city of Tel Aviv and stayed as the City Hall for over 40 years.
A new city hall was designed in the 1950s by architect Menachem Cohen, in the Brutalist style. It is located on Ibn Gabirol Street. In 1965 the City Hall moved there. The old Skura building, Beit Ha’Ir, was closed, and deserted for four decades, until it was meticulously restored and converted into a museum for the history of Tel Aviv, opening in 2009. 
The museum chronicles the development of the city of Tel Aviv through photographs and video clips. In the virtual information centre, housed on the lowest level of the building, computers with a time-line application allow visitors to select and view the events of any decade. Upon selection of a decade, the headlines for the decade appear on the screen. Selecting a headline brings up video clips which show the events around the headline.
Covering the walls are wonderful photographs of Tel Aviv from its founding in 1909 and through the following decades of the city’s development. These are pictures from family albums, culled from tens of thousands sent in by people who live, or lived, in the city. Also on display is a fabulous collection of colourful tiles taken from floors in Tel Aviv’s earliest houses. 
Take the lift – or winding stairs – up to the Dizengoff Room, restored exactly as it was when used as the official office of Tel Aviv’s first mayor. The office is in a lovely room, with a great view of the city. Various artifacts from Dizengoff's office are on display, including the original map of Tel Aviv hanging on a wall. Alongside the reconstructed office is a permanent exhibit about Dizengoff's work, which reflects the exceptional relationship that existed between the city’s first mayor and its residents.
A reading room on the top level of the building provides information about the city, and is designed to serve researchers, artists, students and schoolchildren. The renovated roof terrace offers a spectacular view of the city’s rooftops, whilst the entrance level has been kept for temporary art exhibits, the exhibit "My Shirt is Breathing" showing when we visited.
The architecture of the building alone is worth a visit but the museum was fascinating and proved a really great way to learn the history of Tel Aviv. The time-line application is really a highlight, so allow plenty of time if you decide to visit.
Tel Aviv hosts a collection of 4,000 Bauhaus buildings, for which it is called "The White City." These buildings, including Beit Ha’Ir, Bialik Square and its surrounding buildings,  have been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Further down the street from Beit Ha’Ir is the Bialik House, which was unfortunately closed on the day we visited, and another museum, the home of the Israeli artist, Reuven Rubin. His house was built in 1930 and showcases his work on four different floors, his studio being on the third floor. There are also several beautifully restored private homes. Bialik Street, filled with historical buildings in the Bauhaus and the Eclectic architectural styles, is definitely worth a visit.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Laura & Eli

My friend Laura recently got married. I wanted to give her, and her new husband Eli, something special. Now, I'm not always 100% sure about gifting my own artwork to friends. Some of them are rather puzzled about what I do. Some of them quite possibly don't really like my style of art. That's okay. Laura has always been very supportive of my work though, so I hoped that a special piece created to mark their wedding day would go down well.
It did!
Laura likes the shabby chic style. I sketched and then hand cut this piece which included their names, the Gregorian and Hebrew date of their marriage, and a Magen David (Star of David), to include a Jewish element in the design. A heart, flowers and leaves gave it a pretty, country look, and my signature little bird made it on to the papercut too. I hope that the lovely spotted backing paper - which unbeknown to me, matches their new dining room perfectly - completes the shabby chic look.
Laura and Eli loved the papercut! Laura wrote to tell me that she thought it was a beautiful gift. I had hoped that she would like it, but she tells me that Eli often comments how nice it is as well. "That's a man talking, so you've definitely made an impression!" she said.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Gadi's Album

We celebrated our youngest son's Bar Mitzvah back in January, though it still feels like yesterday in many ways! I have already shown you the design I created for his invitations and the customised card that I made for him. Of course he received a guest book too! Almost everyone stopped to write something and, once home after the party, it was a lovely way to end the night reading what each person had to say.
On the cover of the book I once again showed Gadi with a book in his hand, since he is a very keen reader. He also loves to draw, so I put a bunch of pencils into his other hand. Thankfully he seems to have stopped chewing them, so these ones are clean and sharp! Gadi is wearing a green t-shirt with the badge of his youth group, NOAM, on it. (NOAM is an acronym for No'ar Masorti, Masorti Youth, a Zionist youth movement.) His precious phone is next to him, and a computer is open behind him, with the logo of Garry's Mod, a sandbox physics game, and one of Gadi's favourites, on it. 'G' of course also stands for Gadi...
Just like his invitation, I added a blue Magen David, or Star of David, to two corners of the cover, to incorporate a Jewish element. The album was after all being created to commemorate a Jewish ceremony.
The inside pages of this guest book were a little different to the book available in my Etsy shop (though of course there is plenty of room to fill that book with photos too). I featured Gadi's invitation on the opening page, and embellished it with some little paper books and pencils. Then I filled the rest of the pages with photographs of my son, from his baby days up till today. Our guests seemed to enjoy the photos and my son is thrilled with the funny and thoughtful messages they left him. His book will always be a lovely reminder of his Bar Mitzvah and the people who made it so special for him.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Eden and Miriam

Eden is into hip hop, just as she was last year. Mum was very specific about the clothes that she wears to dance in. She wears black leggings, a white vest and black Vans, I was told, and always has a red and black shirt tied around her waist. I hope I got it right! Eden is also still occupied with the NOAM youth movement, as my own kids are, so I added the movement's badge and created the card in their colours of green and orange. The little orange sun can be found on the NOAM website and added a cheerful touch! The number 16 displays her age.

Optician Mizzie's husband requested an "Optics Miriam" theme for her card this year (this was last year's card). He asked me to show her in her white coat, to include her business logo, and to show an eye chart, glasses, contact lenses and a happy customer to symbolize her success.
Boy did I have fun cutting out those little glasses!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Blond, Dark and Gingie!

A customer asked me to make a wedding card for Adi and Zvi. He's Anglo and she has Moroccan/Indian origins, my customer told me. She was keen for me to accentuate the difference in their skin colour, that he is blond and she is dark, but added that they are an adorable couple. She also thought it would be fun to add a food dish from each of their countries of origin, and perhaps an Israeli and US flag too. I gave Zvi an old-fashioned all-American apple pie and for Adi I crafted a little paper tajine pot filled with a tasty casserole. Adi and Zvi are both computer students, so I added a laptop computer, with a big red heart showing on the screen. Finally, the couple are standing under a chuppah, the canopy beneath which Jewish marriage ceremonies are performed.
My customer absolutely loved the card.
I made a ginger-themed card when Jo and Amit got married back in 2011. They recently welcomed a little boy to the world, so my customer requested another card, this time showing the redheaded parents with their new baby. Apparently he is strawberry blond at this stage, but I don't think that will last! I added some baby items too, as well as a little yellow duck, my customer's favourite bird.