Monday, March 9, 2015

Transforming Kehilla Comunity Synagogue Sanctuary

I hope you will come celebrate and see the completed sanctuary on March 21st. There will be a service from 10-12 followed by a reception for the artists, designers, and committee members who worked on the project from 1:00-2:30. 1300 Grand Avenue Piedmont, CA 94610

Over the course of five years the interior of the Kehilla Synagogue on Grand Ave. has been transformed. It was an interesting process, akin to walking a labyrinth, sometimes the goal seemed just in sight only to become very far away again. We had many meetings. The process of making aesthetic decisions in groups was fascinating and I often felt like everyone else could think much faster than I could. People had so many opinions about what they wanted in the space and I often felt uncertain. Although I can be a very verbal person it took me a long time to put into words what I thought would work.  In the end we came up with a design that works on many levels. The interior designer, Reni Aniela, who designed the paint scheme described it as "an embrace".
At the High Holidays I felt that embrace when I participated in Havdalah, the ending of Shabbat and of Yom Kippur. I was standing on the bima, holding a glowing braided candle in my hands, surrounded by singing congregants and the strands and images I'd created alone in my studio surrounding all of us. It's an extraordinary honor and privilege to have one's art serve a communities spiritual needs.

Another exciting part of the process was getting to meet and work with the other artists. Nechama Shaina Langer created the lettering on the back balcony. The phrase, selected by the spiritual leadership committee reads in Hebrew The great shofar is sounded and a still, small voice is heard.” The words are painted beautifully. Each letter breathes and the colors harmonize with the other elements of the design.

Ed Kirshner, created a lamp with xenon gas inside it for the ner tamid (eternal flame). He worked with the committee to design the shape, an amphora which was blown by glass artist, Pamina Traylor The lamp was created from breath and its shape connects practical vessels for carrying liquids to something that carries light and spirit. The deep blue color blurs into the background and creates a visual field one can sink into. In an other twist of the creative process the original color was to be lighter but Ed realized this color would be more evocative and powerful. Again the artists' vision moved past what can be articulated verbally.

I look forward to celebrating with the community on March 21st.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

following fallow

I just had a significant birthday, one that ends in a 0 and one that means I'm likely past the half way mark of my life. In the Jewish tradition the 49th year, seven times seven is a fallow year, a Jubilee year, in which the fields rest, debts are forgiven, prisoners are let out of jail...I did feel fallow this past year though I'm still paying the mortgage and worked hard teaching and mothering. However I'm looking to 50 as the time to start again. To dig deeper into my creative process, my green work, and mostly mindfulness. I'm writing my intention here with the internet as witness; to cultivate a practice of staying still and getting quiet. Just connecting to my breath as ballast. Breath, simple something to practice, for the next day after day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

yogurt lid cut outs

Here are some yogurt lid cut outs I made. I have a big collection of yogurt containers and lids and well, one thing led to another and I began making these cut outs. I've given some away and some were made with a particular person in mind but I'd like to have a show with a group of them sometime.

There is a tradition of Jewish paper cuts that I'm also referencing in this work and an amazing 8th grade student I know also inspired me with some of his cut outs...Also I can almost finish one if I get up early and start cutting before anyone else in the house is awake. It's a great way to start the day when I can manage it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mini-Maker Faire

I'll be making a collaborative solar powered sculpture at the East Bay Mini-Maker Faire on October 24th, More info is here

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

my own private Idaho

We went to Idaho to visit family for the holidays. When I was a child Idaho sounded impossibly remote to me. I lived in the Oregon woods but in Idaho I was sure the trees were taller, disappearing into the blue, the shaggy dark green branches, covered in snow like heavy frosting and drifts so deep one had to tunnel out for months at a time. Now when I drive to my in-laws from the airport we pass Borders, Target, the Olive Garden. Everywhere feels like everywhere. On our return to Oakland my 7 year old daughter points out TJ Maxx. " They have that in Idaho." "Yup, they do."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

solar chandelier video

solar chandelier installed!

Here are some shots of the sculpture. First being installed by Maurice and Jeff Levitch. I'm so glad I didn't have to ascend the ladder. The second shot shows the panel and the last two show the piece hanging...It all went well, a few adjustments were made and I was nervous as it went up, would someone fall? would the panel work? (edit...oops posted in the opposite order of preview for some reason so the first mentioned is the last, but you get the to follow)

Monday, December 29, 2008

it moves

my solar panel is moving the solar sculpture in circles...maybe a bit faster than I had hoped but moves!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

where I've been

I've been away from my blog. yup, between the obsessively following the election, teaching, doing laundry, and working on the biggest ever solar project I've made I got out of the habit of posting but I'm going to start posting again. Above you can see the Solar Chandelier in my studio...still very much work in progress I've spent every recent Friday tying teeny tiny knots in filament to make the stuff hang just so. My panel arrived cracked so now I'm waiting for the replacement to see if the thing will turn or not.....very suspenseful.

Friday, October 3, 2008

my new hero

Today I was struggling with my solar powered sculpture project. It's coming together but there have been some technical areas I just didn't know how to make work. The art/techy types I emailed weren't responding...despair was beginning to set in. Finally, today I called, yes just got on the phone with, Therese who I had been referred to by Tony and she sent me to Guy. Guy is the guy I would be in an alternate universe. Look at his website. He has designed all kinds of amazing stuff. Created his own art and collaborated with other artists. He's built a solar hot water system. He lives in gorgeous Maine and to top it off he answered his phone and gave me several easy answers to problems I could not solve in my brain at 4 am! I heart Guy!

Friday, September 26, 2008


This week I celebrated 20 years of being married. In the midst of the busyness of school starting, daughter's bday, and myriad details of daily life my husband and I managed to get away for 24 hours! We had a light green theme to our celebration...On the actual day(Wed) we visited the temple of food and bowed down to local, organic, delicious, slow, tastes at Chez Panisse. It was the first time we'd ever eaten downstairs and the food was not surprisingly, amazing. The vibe felt warm and perfectly celebratory for 20 years, a number I find it hard to get my mind around...I guess I don't feel old enough to have been doing anything for 20 of my adult years but at the same time yes, of course, and glad to be doing what felt exactly right, eating that incredibly artful and honest food.

On Saturday we took the ferry to San Francisco with our bikes. Then ate more delicious local fare at the ferry building, Acme bread, local blue cheese, figs...then biked to our downtown hotel....we splashed out big time and had a view of the whole Golden Gate bay from our lovely room. In the afternoon we made our way to Crissy field along the water. It felt incredibly freeing not to have to worry about parking, all that stress of looking for it and paying for it, gone. We kept pace or even beat the traffic on our two wheels. Wandering around North Beach later we found Cafe Divine, another restaurant with local suppliers. The waiter, a younger version of my husband, gave us champagne and treated us with sincere kindness.

Sunday morning we went back to the ferry, ate more delicious local fare then onto the boat and with tenderness watched the city recede...pedaled home through the quiet Oakland streets to reunite with kids and all the stuff of life.

Transforming Kehilla Comunity Synagogue Sanctuary

I hope you will come celebrate and see the completed sanctuary on March 21st. There will be a service from 10-12 followed by a reception for...