Monday, September 21, 2020

May Her Memory Be for a Revolution!


Ruth Bader Ginsberg z"l.  I made this mask of her a few years ago and I can honestly say that this mask generated more comments and praise than my other masks. A woman admired from afar by so very many of us. The mask sold and now lives in a loving home in California.

Below is a copy of my recent post on my FaceBook page:

I don't write posts on Shabbat or on holidays. Tonight is different. Tonight I have much to say.
We conclude 5780 on too many sad notes.
It was my father's custom to memorialize all the members of my family who perished in the Shoah from Rosh Hashanah through the end of Tishrei. . We don't know when they perished. I continue his tradition and also include my family members who survived but are no longer here. Their names are inscribed with gold ink on black glass "stones.
Tonight I cannot include Ruth Bader Ginsburg among those stones. But I certainly have begun grieving for this monumental woman. How many plagues must we endure? Covid, Fires, Droughts, Hurricanes, and explicit Permission from the leader of our country, to express hatred not only verbally, but also through acts of violence. And now the death of a spectacular jurist and human rights advocate makes the list of enumerated plagues.
Earlier this evening Rabbi Sari Laufer posted this message that I would like to quote: "The traditional Jewish response to hearing of a death is Baruch Dayan Haemet- Blessed is the True Judge, orBlessed is the Judge of Truth." "....A more radical response: May her memory be for a revolution!" My most recent ancestors were denied democracy and it cost them their freedom and their lives (yes, even those who survived....they paid a costly price. Survival doesn't mean good health, and it doesn't mean they were ok. It means, they survived."
Please , please...act on behalf of RBG. Let her legacy of truth, equality, and justice prevail. Get active, vote, encourage others to vote...and deny the powers that be the opportunity to act hastily in the name of "POWER" in order to strip each of us of our own power.
We all must grieve...but you can simultaneously honor her memory and the memory of all who lost their lives because they were denied the opportunity to live their lives without suspicion , hatred, and violence.
I don't think we can reasonably say kaddish for those we love and not act in significant ways to regain and retain true justice.
This is my prayer for this Shabbat and Chag.
May we all be blessed to breathe freely, and be accepted for who we are. May we take action to save our planet putting aside our personal wants and focus more reasonably on our true needs. May we learn to talk out our differences and come together to create a better world for EVERYONE. May 5781 bring us true healing.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

ART in the TIME of COVID

 My husband and I have been hunkering down since March. We stopped our social and vacation adventures in February. Our excursions now involve  either a quick trip to the grocery store one every couple of weeks and a daily trek to the dog park.

As you can see from his picture, he loves the park and is thoroughly exhausted until it's time to play again!

So back to making art in the time of Covid. In March, April, May and much of June I did very little glass. I made tallit clip gifts, I shopped in June for glass at Bullseye...yes I shopped in person. They allowed customers to make an appointment to come in and purchase sale glass! But still I did not glass.

COVID loomed on my mind. My mother-in-law, at age 93 was recently widowed and two weeks later she developed an eye in her remaining "good" eye, and went blind. Suddenly her world shifted, since she could no longer remain in her independent living apartment. She moved to convalescent care in the same complex. Oh, did I mention...she lives in Florida! We don't!    Once Covid struck, her isolation grew. No visitors, including a stellar care giver who faithfully came multiple times a week to provide her with companionship as well as helping her with routine chores she couldn't manage on her own.

The questions without answers kept bouncing around my head. How "at risk" am I?  How at-risk in my husband? When we we be able to see Mom in Florida again? When can we see our son and daughter in-law again? 

And then George Floyd was murdered. 

I had already grown numb to the antics of #45. But it appeared that America was waking up to the realization that racism is no longer living under a rock somewhere. It has been right our faces....taunting us, daring us to do something. 

His murder caused those of us who were paying attention (I'm talking about white folks) to understand our complacency and our lack of awareness. Complacency is a luxury no person of color can afford. 

Lenny Sternberg who is the director of cultural arts programming at the MJCC invited ORA artists to submit a piece of art for an upcoming show called Art in the Time of Covid. I signed up. I had no art and no ideas...but I signed up.

Lenny asked us to document our progress on a piece and then submit it all to a virtual show that the MJCC would host. At the time, he thought there was a possibility that we could entertain an opening person! Indeed, the "J" is open to members now...but only a few at a time may enter with an appointment to work out. Our show will be hung September 13th...and we celebrate our opening virtually over ZOOM.

So, how did I move from no art making, no ideas, and no motivation to actually submitting a piece? There were several factors that all seemed to collide at once. Nightly protests in downtown Portland...and I couldn't attend! Rayshard Brooks is murdered by police in Atlanta just weeks later. Then Breona Taylor murdered by police in Louisville. Interspersed with the nightly news about police violence directed at people of color were the updates on the Corona Virus. How many people tested positive? How many people died? How many people are predicted to die....and the reminder that more people of color will die. 

I have a studio in the basement of my house, but I try to work outside on my lower deck whenever I can. We are neatly tucked into a patch of forest. It is a soulful place for reflection. I sat there pondering what I could do. I drew a blank. No ideas! I tried redirecting my thioughts and I landed on one of my most favorite poems written by the Hebrew poet Zelda. I only know the translation provided by Marcia Falk. It's called: Each of us has a Name. My source for this poem is The Book of Blessings by Marcia Falk. I read this poem often and for a variety of reasons. It begins...

Each of us has a name                                                                                                                                           given by God                                                                                                                                                                        and given by our parents.

Just past the midpoint of the poem Zelda wrote:                                                                                                            Each of us has a name                                                                                                                                                                         given by our enemies                                                                                                                                                                    and given by our love.

Zelda concludes this piece:                                                                                                                                      Each if us has a name                                                                                                                                                given by the sea                                                                                                                                                            and given by our death.

 "Great...." I thought to myself... It's a great poem. What do I do with it?

TO BE CONTINUED..........    

Monday, September 7, 2020


 I am quite pleased to be in this show....I will show some of my process in upcoming posts...

In order to attend out virtual show you will need to register! It's free! You don't have to be a member of the MJCC (our co-sponsor and host).  Art is available for purchase...but there is no pressure to buy....


This is piece is different from anything else I have done. I am excited to share it with all of you!

Register at:

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Gifts for Bar and Bat Mitzvah!


This first set was created for a wonderful student who picked out tallit with a number of geometric patterns. His request was for me to create a geometric shape that fit in with one of the designs on his tallit but toss in a little bling.  This is the one he selected. Clips and a gold chain were added after the photograph was taken.         

Another of my students commissioned a tallit from a local silk painter (Diane Fredgant!) His vision was a rainforest. For clips he was hoping for a parrot. The parrot was a failure on my end! It was just too heavy because of all the colors. I offered a frog, did some research and fell in love with the re-bug-eyed frog and simulated it for his clips. 

My final Bat Mitzvah student of the summer ordered a lovely tallit with blue pomegranates and song birds. She asked for song birds....she selected the white set.

It's time to take a break now from tallit clips and get serious about some other art.

Next week I will begin talking about my latest project which will be revealed September 13th.

As always....stay tuned!

Monday, August 17, 2020

How Embarrassing!

 I can't believe that MONTHS have gone by without a single post! 


What have I been doing all this time?

What haven't I been doing all this time?


I am happy to announce that I have been busy. Really busy!

I've been teaching Bar and Bat Mitzvah students over Zoom.  I've been sorting through photographs (true confession: I haven't finished!), I've been playing guitar with my husband who plays bass, I've been leading services for a local assisted living facility, and I've been spending a lot of time at various Zoom meetings. The up side of Zooming is that you can't beat the commute!

I didn't follow through on cleaning out my studio, and other than making a few new tallit clips as gifts for my students....I haven't made much art. 

I have been thinking a lot about COVID, a lot about upcoming elections, a lot about black lives matter, and a lot about future glass projects.

Last month I worked with wonderful ORA artist Wendy Russell, who just moved to South Carolina (silently weeping here!) to present a Zoom workshop to other ORA artists about goal setting, logo design/branding, and taking action. 

As a result, I was able to be my own student. In the few weeks since that workshop I have gotten an "art buddy", I have clarified my own short term goals, and I am working on a project that that has captured my heart. Will it work? Maybe! But my enthusiasm has been renewed. I'll post specifics when I can. In the meantime, I will certainly be more mindful about tending to this blog.

Please stay tuned!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Jewish Arts Month @ MJCC

Yikes, I haven't posted in months!!!!!
I am in a show at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center through this Friday at noon. Other art work is also available for purchase including turned wood, jewelry, photography, silk painting, and a variety of 6x6 cradleboards. You don't have to be a member of the MJCC to come to this show...just bring your photo i.d. to get in!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The New "MAN" in My Life

Groucho! You crack me up!
While channel surfing I stumbled upon Duck Soup ....and I was inspired. This wall mounted mask also sports a real cigar (although you can't tell from this picture!)

Friday, November 1, 2019

CELEBRATION OF ART 2019 this weekend!

I have been very quiet on this blog. Sorry about that!
It has been a very busy fall and somehow the time just slipped away.

CELEBRATION OF ART 2019 is this Saturday 7-9pm and Sunday 10am-4pm November 2-3at the MJCC 6651 SW Capitol Hwy Portland Oregon.

I have a new mask that will be revealed Saturday night!

This guy was known to sport neck and bow ties....and things were always "ducky" with him.

Here's a picture of me finishing off his little tie!  Come see him fully "dressed" at the show. He's pretty cute! You just might want to take him home with you!

Monday, September 23, 2019

A View to Work By

I am so fortunate to have a sheltered outdoor workspace in addition to my studio. I do my wet work out on the back lower deck. A creek runs through this wooded canyon serenading me when I'm not running equipment. The birds add to the symphony....

Looking forward to seeing my work that went into the kiln this afternoon.... what a peasant bit of work it was!

Celebration of Art is November 2 and 3. Come see me and my new work!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

My Next Art Show!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

I've Been Traveling!

I was blessed to spend 3 weeks in the Balkans with my husband, son and new daughter-in-law.
What an amazing set of adventures we had.

Much of the Balkans suffered greatly not only in WWII but especially during the ethnic cleansing war aka the Serbian-Croation War in the 90's.

I was on the lookout for glass...but didn't find much. I found beautiful art, remarkable nature, and met many fine people.

Below are some windows I found in the National and University library of Bosnia in Sarajevo.

Before I resume making art, I will post a few more pictures, reflect on the journey a bit more...and then perhaps clean up my studio. The ideas are starting to come!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Copper-ific: Finished

This is the piece commissioned as a gift for the outgoing board chairman of a local non profit jewish agency. 
It is wall mounted. 

The Words in hebrew are Mee Ha-eesh...which in common vernacular translates to "Who Da Man?" Thes are the first two words taken from Psalms 34:13-15. The entire phrase is translated as, "Who is the man, who wants life, loves all his days, and sees the goodness." It is not really a question...rather it is an instruction.  

The backing is a sheet of hand-polished copper. 1/4" above it is a sheet of clear tekta that I covered with black stringer and tack fused. 1/8" above that is a black rainbow iridescent, clear capped disk with hebrew lettering cut out of dichroic glass and a small chamsah (also dichroic.)

I hope the recipient likes it.  He worked hard to benefit the community and deserves praise and recognition.

Friday, May 24, 2019


A wall mounted commission involving copper sheeting as a backing to the glass. Step one....clean it!
Lots of elbow grease! Once it was clean and sparkling, I used hand sanders to etch swirls into it.
...and then....

an application of car wax to protect the shine!

...and then gluing some stand-off glass squares for mounting a first layer of glass.

I'll post more pictures in a week. The project is complete, but it is a commissioned gift...and the gift hasn't yet been awarded.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Completed seder plate!

This is the completed seder plate. The wood is Oregon black maple . It was turned by neighbor and art collaborator Jack Liskear.

The edging of the wooden tray slopes down gently toward the glass. The glass is an insert; it pops out so the wooden tray can be used as a separate tray.

A kiln mishap made it necessary to  make a new seder plate. Fortunately there was enough left-over glass to start over.

The letters around the edge are copper foil while the center lettering is dichroic glass. 

I wish the new owners of this seder plate a joyous Passover!

Friday, March 29, 2019


I've been commissioned to make a new seder plate. The glass pictured above is even more gorgeous than it looks. What appears to be charcoal grey here is actually purple!  The plate will be inserted a custom black maple tray that my neighbor and co-artist Jack will make.

I'll post my progress on the project when I have something to report!

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Join us this evening at 7pm in the Isaak Foyer at Congregation Neveh Shalom.

Our Art Show is entitled ART OF SACRED COMMUNITY and represents months of study in preparation for making art that honors; sacred community. We are celebrating the synagogue's 150th anniversary!

A multi-media slide show, artist talk and pop-up shuk will accompany free refreshments and an opportunity to schmooze with the artists. Who are those artists? Laura Fendel, Diane Fredgant, Wendelin Russell, and me!

Here are two of my special pieces: Torah Adornments made of glass!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Art of Sacred Community: Panel Discussion

Thursday February 21st, 7pm @ Neveh Shalom   
8831 SW Peaceful Lane  Isaak Foyer 

I will be part of an Art Talk about this wonderful exhibit. This photo represents a very small piece of what is on display.

We will present a multimedia slide show, talk about our process and journey, and take questions.

I hope you can come.... share in the conversation, enjoy some nibbles, and learn about our process!

Sunday, February 10, 2019


Due to weird Portland snow and ice conditions, our exhibit will open Friday night February 15th at 6:15 pm at Congregation Neveh Shalom following Friday night services.

Services will conclude by 7:30 and the artists will be on hand to schmooze with you.

Thursday, February 21st we will have a formal artist talkback with a brief slide show and yummy foods to nosh on!

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

More gratitude!

In many critique groups, the artist puts herself "out there", grits her teeth and braces herself to hear what is wrong with her art work. That is a generalization and possibly an unfair one.

Our group is different. When we meet, we bring a piece to the session. We follow a format where the artist shares the piece. It could be a sketch, a rough idea, a work in progress, or even a finished piece.
The artist talks about the piece and frames a question for the group to discuss. The group takes a few minutes to ask clarifying questions ...and then they begin discussing answers to the artist's question. The artist listens and takes notes. What is great about this process is that it allows a good bit of dignity for the artist and it provides some answers! Yay!  The artist then tells the group what she heard ....and sometimes even tells us what she thinks she'll actually do. Sometimes it evolves back in her studio. Bottom works!

We met several times to prepare for our upcoming show. We had four hebrew words we studied in an effort to  honor the synagogues anniversary and respond to something tangible. The original synagogues that eventually merged were Neveh Tzedek (Oasis of Justice) and Ahavai Shalom (The Love of Peace). They became Neveh Shalom (Oasis of Peace.) We brought ideas and/or works in progress and using our process we supported each other along the way.

Yesterday I spoke about Esther Liberman. Tonight more gratitude  goes to  Laura Fendel, Diane Fredgant and Wendelin Russell. Their loving support, advice, and close listening means the world to me. I hope I was able to offer some small measure of help to each of them.

Laura Fendel works magic with fabrics. In the piece she developed for this show, she blends architectural imagery from founding congregations Ahavai Shalom and Neveh Tzedek as well as the current Neveh Shalom. Remarkable in its juxtaposed architecture, it evokes a sense of past and present. There is also a holiness and the spiritual that is communicated through the textures of this piece. You have to see this in person to appreciate this work!
Silk artist Diane Fredgant has been conceptualizing her installation piece for sometime and its evolution has been a significant element in her spiritual journey as an artist. Best known for her tallitot, this installation  is a contemporary interpretation of the Mishkan (our portable sanctuary in the desert.) You will step into a holy space and a unique experience. You will find spiritual refuge, contact with holy words, and the beginnings of many questions!
Wendelin Russell is a painter. Her large-format painting (and a small piece) are wonderful interpretations of being at the Kotel, also known as the wailing wall. You won’t see tears in this exploration of this timeless structure. There is expansiveness and yet, there are tiny details that demand you give yourself to the painting, and in return you will experience something quite moving.

Friday, February 1, 2019


Artists do not need to work in isolation!

Our artists' guild offers artists the opportunity to be part of what we call critique groups, but really...they are support groups.

Each group is different and has a different way of operating.
The group I am part of is small. We all work in different media:
Silk painting, fabric construction, painting, bead work, and glass.

We come together to inspire each other, problem solve, study, and eat!

Most recently we  took on the challenge of creating art to celebrate Congregation Neveh Shalom's 150th anniversary!  Our work is going up in the Isaak Foyer and the exhibit will open February 10th. More about that in a future post.

This is my part one gratitude post. What would I do without the amazing women who have over the years encouraged and motivated me...and more importantly have consulted with me and on occasion, made elements to add on to my project?

I created a torah adornment (aka breastplate) that needed that extra bit of bling. Esther Liberman, our bead artist came to my rescue.
Don't let my poor photography skills take away from the beauty of these beads. They enhance the project in so many ways. Her choice of color, size, and texture all make for a stunning bit of embellishment. I'll post photos of the competed projects in another post. Looking at this photo I realize I need to get a better close up so you can appreciate the tiny copper elements sandwiched between glass beads.
Due to traveling, Esther was unable to create new work for this exhibition, but she has been involved with our process throughout. Esther is also our guild president and co-founder of the organization. 

Thank you Esther! You are amazing!      

Want to see her incredible artwork? Go to our ORA website or google: Esther Liberman bead artist. The work she does will amaze you!