My new Etsy shop: Schultz Yakovetz Judaica

Recently, I took the plunge and did something I’ve been thinking about for ages: open a storefront for my Judaica artwork on Etsy.

Check it out! Visit now: www.etsy.com/shop/SchultzYakovetz

SYJbanner

For anyone not familiar with Etsy:

Etsy is a marketplace for crafters, artists, and collectors to sell their handmade creations, vintage goods, and crafting supplies. Etsy celebrates individual creativity in design and craftsmanship by connecting unique people, stories, and items in a playful and meaningful way. —from the site

So far, my storefront features a subset of the art prints available on my main Judaica site. Here’s a quick sample:

In the coming weeks, look out for:

  • Downloadable hi-res digital files (so you can print a piece for yourself and save on shipping!)
  • Photos of the framed finished pieces (so you can see how awesome they’ll look on your wall)
  • Holiday cards (remember, Rosh Hashanah 5776 starts Wednesday, September 24)
  • My top ketubah designs available to customize
  • New art pieces exclusive to Etsy

Happy shopping… and shabbat shalom!

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Space ketubahs!

Today is Tu B’Av (the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av, a date sometimes known as the “Jewish Valentine’s Day”)… and our 6-month wedding anniversary is coming up in just a couple days. So in honor of those two romantic observances, let me share with you one of my favorite wedding-related design projects.

In planning a Jewish (or, in our case, Jewish-style interfaith) wedding, one of the fun things to work on is the ketubah, or marriage contract. This traditional document is signed — usually by two witnesses, the couple, and the officiant — on the wedding day, often in a separate ritual before the actual ceremony, though our rabbi had us incorporate the signing right into the ceremony.

Now, anyone who knows Mr. Y at all knows that he is a huge Star Wars geek (you should see the collection in our upstairs hallway). But what is only slightly less well known is that he is also a longtime real-life astronomy buff, who worked for many years in the local community planetarium (WHICH WE TOTALLY HAVE, FYI, and which he has yet to take me to visit, but I digress).

So when I started thinking about what would make the most awesome motif for our ketubah, the answer was SPACE.

When I emailed a first set of drafts to Mr. Y, I couldn’t resist including this version, which I made on a lark (click to enlarge):

DEATH-STAR-KETUBAH

While this had precisely the desired effect (“That’s FANTASTIC! … I totally cracked up when I saw the Star Wars version. Freaking great! You are awesome.”), we concurred that it probably wasn’t seriously the best way to go, no matter how perfectly it would complement the set of movie posters in our living room.

But I’d also created a draft that we would eventually refine into this:

SPACE-KETUBAH

After editing together the final art assembly, I spent some time looking for just the right Biblical text to draw in the cosmic theme, and ended up with Psalm 19: “The heavens tell the glory of God… In them He has set a tent for the sun, which emerges like a bridegroom from his chuppah, like a hero rejoicing to run his course” (19:1, 4-5). How’s that for relevance? This passage is used as a decorative border all around the piece, mostly as white text, with corresponding key words accented in yellow in both the English and the Hebrew.

Note that since Mr. Y is not Jewish, this text is not the traditional ketubah text, but basically a completely unrelated text in English and modern Hebrew, one that I had received previously for a custom ketubah project. We liked the wording a lot, but just as importantly, I also trusted the Hebrew translation to be not only accurate, but idiomatically correct (this is often not the case with Hebrew translations of custom texts; I could do a whole post of horror stories on that topic).

And, since everyone asks, the final version was signed in silver Sharpie. (Just one more of their million uses. :-) It’s now happily framed in our front hallway:

SPACE-KETUBAH-framed

New ketubah design: Flames

Friends in the Philadelphia area invited me several months ago to create the ketubah for their wedding, taking place today. I’m sadly missing the wedding itself, as I am away on vacation with my mom (this post is appearing through the magic of pre-scheduled posting; thanks, WordPress!), but I was excited to be able to play a role in their special day nevertheless.

Today is Lag Ba’Omer, the 33rd day of the seven-week “omer” period between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot. Sefirat ha-Omer is a period of semi-mourning in which a variety of joyful activities are customarily proscribed, including listening to live music, buying new clothes, cutting one’s hair (!), and getting married. However, the 33rd day of this period is observed as a minor festival, with a temporary lifting of those prohibitions… making it a very popular date for Jewish weddings, particularly when it falls out, as this year, on a Sunday.

Weddings aside, Lag Ba’Omer is typically associated with outdoor celebrations, and especially with bonfires. So when it came time to ponder artistic themes for this ketubah, I suggested fire, and the idea immediately touched off, well, sparks.

ketubah

A bonfire-themed ketubah for a Lag Ba’Omer wedding.

In this all-text design, the two primary flames are the ketubah text itself: standard Orthodox Aramaic incorporating the Lieberman clause, and an accompanying English rendition (not, mind you, a translation; the actual standard legal text is highly technical and nothing so poetic). The additional decorative “sparks” rising up around the flames are verses from Song of Songs (2:10, 2:14, and 6:3). Producing this piece digitally meant that I could apply a gradient color scheme to enhance the flame effect—something we could never have achieved with hand-lettering.

The finished piece is 16×20. It was output by my go-to colleague for digital imaging, Jim Paradis of Baldwin Hill Art & Framing in Natick, MA, as an archival-quality giclée art print on smooth art paper. The entire design and approval process took just over five weeks, and the final print was shipped overnight with a week to go before the wedding.

Mazal tov, Lawrence and Ellyn!