When this piece was commissioned, the person wrote to me: “On the theme of courage, I’ve been thinking about ‘Adonai sfatai tiftach…’ as a way to ask for courage to speak a prayer with my life, to be opened up to do what I feel I cannot without something flowing through me. When I was praying that one day I had an image of my heart being opened like a pomegranate, seeds scooped and spilling out.”
As soon as I read that, an image came to my mind for this papercut. The full text means “O Lord, open my lips, and let my mouth declare Your praise.” (Psalms 51:17) I used two layers, creating the layer of textured red paper by using watercolor paints.
This piece illustrates what was asked for, the courage to be open, a heart/pomegranate opened and spilling out. And it also has some confinement – the seeds still inside where we can’t even see them, the words contained (squashed together) within the circle. I think about the ongoing tension between opening up and staying safe, and also about the idea that there’s always more inside, always more we can and want to give, and more left for ourselves, for self-care and renewal.