Mizrach Papercutting Class

March 7, 2013 | Filed in:

I’ve been invited to teach a short class on papercutting at the JCC!

It will be announced in the next JCC Newsletter as follows:

Thursday, April 18th at 7pm

Celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday with a creation of your own. Learn the basics of the art of Jewish papercutting and make a “mizrach.” A “mizrach” is an ornamental picture hung on the east wall of a house or synagogue in the direction of Jerusalem towards which Jews face when praying. Use traditional symbols like hamsas, deers, lions, Hebrew letters, the tree of life or design something totally contemporary and new.

Materials fee: $15, payable to the instructor that evening.

Contact me if you have any questions about the class.


How vast are Your works

November 12, 2012 | Filed in:

The on this piece reads: “Ma Gadlu MaAseh Adonoi, Meod AmKu MaHoshVotecha”, meaning “How vast are your works Adonoi, Your designs are beyond our grasp” and it is from the Psalm for Shabbat. It was a commission from a long long-time family friend for her husband on an important birthday.

More details here »


The kind of law enforcement it insists on

September 7, 2012 | Filed in:

This piece was commissioned to be a donation for a silent auction held by the ECCPA, an organization through which citizens support their local police.

View the whole piece here »



January 2, 2012 | Filed in:

Commissioned by AG and JG for the first birthday of their son Louis, named partially for the great musician Louis Armstrong.

See more about this papercut »


Two Zebras

December 12, 2011 | Filed in:

This papercut was a commissioned piece. The two zebras are calmly intertwined, each doing their own thing, looking at what’s around them, but not with an absence of passion and tension.

See the full piece here »


This is the true joy…

August 10, 2011 | Filed in:

This piece was created as a commission. LR wants to give it as a gift to honor a physician mentor of hers. She chose the quote, which is from George Bernard Shaw and reads “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.”

See a full frontal image and piece details here »


Eyes, Beak, Comb and Wattle

January 10, 2011 | Filed in:

The steel hen has received the last of the attention she is going to receive for a while, I believe. Last week, I did the following:

  • Heated up the end of a quarter-in steel rod in the forge and banged on it with a hammer until it was beak-shaped
  • Used an oxy-acetalyne cutting torch to cut out a comb and wattles, then welded them on with same tanks
  • Melted holes in the head, found matching bolts, cut them short, inserted them. One later fell out and will have to reattached with more confidence at a future date.
  • Got a brief lesson in brazing (that’s when you attach two pieces of metal with brass, or in this case, try to color on some small pieces of flat steel with brass as if it were a paint pen, which is definitely is not) and attempted to use the method to give the new chicken head-parts some additional style and color.
  • Had my picture taken with the hen

She’s bigger than my chickens, though not by much. She is quite a bit heavier, though. Any naming suggestions for Her Henness?


Painted kleenex box cover

December 30, 2010 | Filed in:

Last night my sweetie and I went on a date to Simply Jane, a place kind of like Color Me Mine or Our Name is Mud. They have blank stuff and paints and materials, and you can buy a blank thing and paint onto it. I chose to paint bugs onto this kleenex box cover. I don’t know that I’d call it art, but it was sure fun. Plus, I haven’t used acrylic paints in a while, and found using them to be a fun change from the two-color process of creating a papercut, or even the wet bleeding process of using watercolors.


H.G. Wells loves him a bicycle

December 28, 2010 | Filed in:

Just finished creating this papercut this past weekend. A friend of mine wanted to commission a piece for her spouse for the ocassion of Christmas, the pending completion of their house-renovation project, and just love in general. They are both avid bicyclists and love a good story.

This quote from H.G. Wells was part of the request: “Every time I see an adult riding a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” It includes 12 es, 7 rs and is, 6 as, 5 ts, and ns, 4 us and os, 3 ds, hs, fs, ls and cs, 2 ys, gs, ms, and ss, and 1 v, p and b. In case you were wondering.

The bicycle itself comes directly from Talia Lempert’s painting of Goldie.

See the full piece here »


Chicken gets a head

December 24, 2010 | Filed in:

This hen is getting quite heavy. Quite top heavy. I spent some time trying to add a small dense weight to her breast so she’d balance, but there were two problems with this plan. One, I didn’t embark on this plan until I’d already gotten her almost completely sealed up with new lower front and lower back pieces. Two, she’s so top heavy that even if I do get her to balance, it will be very tenous. The new plan, then, is to weld on two spikes to the bottom of her feet, once she’s all done. Then I can jam her into the ground and she’ll stand up.

So now she’s got all her parts and a head (she got very hot-headed at one point, which is why I put it in a bucket of water). The head isn’t done – you can’t tell from these pictures, but she does have a suggested beak, comb, and waddle, but needs a longer beak and a second waddle. Also, I want to braze her beak so it’s got a different color from the rest of her. And she may get some treatment. Stay tuned because the hen is due for some more artistic attention in the first week of January.


Shake your tailfeathers

December 16, 2010 | Filed in:

Massive surface area added to the chicken last night. I cut and forged the second wing, the second piece of the middle far back, the last piece of neck, five pieces of tail, the top back and I don’t remember what else. Sadly, Miss Hen is no longer properly balanced and will fall over if two (not one, but two) bricks aren’t weighing down her feet. Hopefully this will change, but she’s getting SO top-heavy that I am losing confidence.

Next week, I plan to fill out her under-tail (aka her “booty butt”) area, and some other nether regions. I also realized I’m not sure how I want to build her head, so I’ll try to figure that out as well.


Forging ahead

December 9, 2010 | Filed in:

Last week, which did not get a blog post, I started creating the external surface of the chicken. Starting with a large rectangle of relatively thin plate steel, I cut out rounded shapes with an Oxyacetalyne cutting torch. Then I heated up small areas of those pieces with a rosebud torch, and banged on them with a hammer to shape them. This proved to be slow and frustrating. The area that the rosebud could heat up was just too small.

This week I tried using a small forge instead (pictured first above). This limits the size of the steel pieces I can use, but that proved to be a worthy sacrifice, because the forge heats up pieces fully and I could shape them more easily. The chicken now has a few additional pieces attached, and four more have been forged and will be attached next week. I also took some time to strengthen the welds at the heel and hip joints; the upper part of the chicken is getting heavy and I don’t want it to collapse. At this moment, the chicken can stand on its own! The balance will go off and on again over time, but hopefully it will end up stable.


Art cards for everyone

November 18, 2010 | Filed in:

Yesterday my art cards arrived. I tried out a new (to me) printing service called Moo. Their cards are printed on nice solid cardstock and the best feature is that you can have one side be printed from a selection of up to 50 different images. So of course, I uploaded 50 images of my artwork for the backs of the cards. They’ll be on the art table on Sunday along with the lasercuts, greeting cards (yet to arrive) and original artwork in frames.


laser cut papercuts

November 15, 2010 | Filed in:

In preparation for the art fair I’m going to be at on Sunday, I had five of my designs cut with a laser by Pololu. Today, they arrived in the mail. No, you’re not seeing blurry! There are 10 of each in this photo. These will be for sale for the first time ever on Sunday. Soon after, they’ll be available on this website. Each design is a limited edition. Get them before they run out!


Metal chicken

November 11, 2010 | Filed in:

The chicken support structure/skeleton begins. It’s kind of hard to tell, but it’s got a basic body outline, hips, legs, and initial neck.


Pedal to the metal

November 6, 2010 | Filed in:

Well, it’s not art exactly. It’s functional. After years away, I am back in a metalshop, this one provided by CAFAC (the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center).

The last few weeks have been a refresher, and today was the first day I got to turn on the fire. Actually, this hanging storage system required the use of the cutting wheel on the grinder and a measuring tape more than it needed the Oxyacetalyne, but that part was necessary, too.

Next project? Chicken.


Eat Food IV

July 24, 2010 | Filed in:

This is my fourth papercut inspired by the first line of Michael Pollan’s article “Unhappy Meals.”


Lo Alecha II

July 20, 2010 | Filed in:

This is my second piece with the phrase starting “Lo Alecha”. This text loosely translates as “It is not for you to complete the work [of repairing the world]. Not up to you to finish it. But neither are you free to desist from it.” This phrase comes from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), which is part of the Mishna, the Jewish oral law.