The Hebrew text in this piece is Psalm 34:13-15 and means:
Who is the man, who desires life
And loves days, to see good (in them)?
Guard your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deception.
Turn away from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
This papercut was commissioned by B as a surprise present for her husband N on the occasion of his 59th birthday (prime number!). He has told her that he exists with this text (which has been set to music) on repeat in his head. He finds it to be an inspiration and a challenge to himself in his life, as he is always trying to repair the world, bring music to the world, and make it a better place.
I asked B to send me some photos of the other artwork that they have in their home, to give me a sense of the kind of things N likes (I know him to be a discerning and careful purchaser of art!) and noticed a lot of mandalas and spotted some sacred geometry-inspired elements in their ketubbah. These ideas led me to create this design, which has elements of sacred geometry in it as well. Once I had the design, I felt that it was calling out for some colorful backgrounds to bring some more visual order to the piece, so I created a three-layer background of cut papers, which I had to carefully create in order to make everything line up exactly right. As usual, I did all this cutting by hand! When I saw this gold paper, it called out to me to be the grounding background.
Click on the thumbnail images to enlarge them to see the background papers by themselves, and a photo of all the tiny bits that I cut out while making this!