Thursday, 31 October 2019

Bulgaria, Belize and back

Twins Gabi and Adi each receive one of my customised cards on their birthday every year. I certainly remember making cards for their Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13, if not before, and they are now 23! Last year I showed Gabi at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and Adi campaigning for his favourite candidate in the local municipal elections. This year these young men have been travelling. Gabi has been swimming with sharks in Belize, Central America and Adi went to Bulgaria. (Just to show my age, I am now resisting the temptation to write Great Uncle before Bulgaria 😂)
I have shown Adi against the mountainous background that I could see in the photo his mum sent me. Apparently about 30% of Bulgaria is mountainous and mountains take up most of the southern and western parts of the country. I added the Bulgarian flag behind him to show where the photo I based my card on was taken. A big number 23 marks his age.
Gabi is actually still travelling but sent his parents a clip of him first feeding sharks and then swimming with them. Yikes! I have shown him swimming in the sea, wearing diving gear. A shark is swimming towards him.
I asked his mum how Gabi was going to get his birthday card since he is currently halfway across the world. "I'll take a photo of it and send it to him!" she replied. "We couldn't have a birthday without one [of your cards]!"
How wonderful is that?

Monday, 28 October 2019

Football and Fishing at Fifty

Mark really wanted a Lordship from the Principality of Sealand for his 50th birthday and so that is what his family surprised him with on his special day. His wife asked if I could make a card based on that theme.
I have shown "Lord Mark" standing in front of Roughs Tower, an offshore platform in the North Sea which Sealand claims as its territory. He is wearing a Manchester City F.C. shirt to show his support for his favourite football team and is holding the certificate declaring his Lordship.
Balloons and a big red number 50 mark his age.
I hope that his family now remember to address him in the appropriate way!
Another husband was celebrating his 50th birthday as well. His wife told me that his hobbies include cricket and fishing and watching rugby and football. She also wanted me to put a 50 somewhere on the card.
I have shown Gerald with a fishing rod over his shoulder and a cricket bat in his other hand. To his right is the badge of his favourite football team, Watford F.C. and to his left the England national rugby union team emblem, a red rose.
My customer seemed thrilled with the card. "I love love love it!!! Thank you" she wrote to me.

* This post has been shared on The Good. The Random. The Fun., The Weekly Link Up, Made By You Monday

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Ashkelon International Sand Sculpture Festival

Back in August I drove south to see the Ashkelon International Sand Sculpture Festival. The coastal city of Ashkelon was hosting the festival, which featured the work of 10 artists from around the world, for the first time. Sand sculptures apparently need a special, gritty sand whose grains hold together and 2,000 tonnes of this specialist sand had been brought to Ashkelon's Bar Kokhba beach to create an array of giant sculptures of characters from famous children's fairy tales. Together with friends, I had a lovely time checking them all out.
Many of the characters featured were instantly recognisable. Sculptures included Cinderella, above, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, below, and several other classic fairy tale characters. All of them were made of hundreds of tons of sand.
Montserrat Cuesta Marin and Sergio Ramírez Pérez, sand sculptors from Spain, came to Ashkelon to contribute to the festival. They created a huge sculpture of Gulliver, the protagonist from Jonathan Swift's famous novel "Gulliver's Travels". Made from 380 tons of sand and standing two metres high and nine metres long, it was quite possibly the largest sculpture at the festival. Other sculptors arrived from Indonesia, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Russia, the USA and the Czech Republic, to make their elaborate fairy tale images.
Now a little bit of history. The city of Ashkelon has been known for its strategic importance throughout history, and indeed since pre-history. The Canaanites established an international market there; battles occurred between the Crusaders and the Fatimids in Ashkelon; the Greeks came, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, the British, and then the Israelis. It is a city with so much history.
The name Ashkelon is probably western Semitic and may be derived from the triliteral root shkl, "to weigh", perhaps attesting to Ashkelon's importance as a centre for commercial activities. Scallion and shallot are words derived from the Latin Ascalonia, which was how the Romans named the town. In the Ashkelon National Park today, there is a vegetable plot where they're growing shallots retrogressively, hoping to culture them back to the original vegetable once again.
On this occasion I did not visit Ashkelon to learn about its history but rather to see the sand sculpture festival and to hang out at the lovely Bar Kokhba beach (Simon bar Kokhba was the leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE, establishing an independent Jewish state which he ruled for three years). The festival ran for a week, with activities and shows on the promenade in the evenings, though we visited during the day when the sun was hotter but the crowds were smaller.
Oregon Girl Around the World

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Amit & Roei

A customer asked me to make a papercut card for her friend and assistant at work who was getting married. She had no specific requests apart from a preference for an oval shaped design and purple for the paper inlay. She told me the names of the young couple, Amit and Roei, the date they were getting married and finally, she requested that I create the design in Hebrew.
I was ready to get cutting!
I hand drew their names in Hebrew lettering and added the date of their wedding below in a ribbon banner. Flowers, oak leaves and a small heart add a romantic touch. The card opens the Hebrew way, from right to left.
"It is beautiful!" my customer wrote to me and told me how the bride had contacted her shortly after her wedding to say how much she loved the card.