The slideshow below shows the stages in making a mezuzah. I began with a block of bird’s eye maple. Studying the grain of the wood gave me the idea for the design that I carved. I then gilded the face, outlined the letter ‘Shin’ in crimson, and then varnished it. On the back I carved out a niche for the klaf, which will be sealed with a piece of maple veneer.
My last post about the Megillat Esther that Josh and I are producing was back in December.
Here’s a slideshow to give you an update of our work as it has proceeded.
Work on the illuminated Megillat Esther continues.
I recently completed the 11th illumination, an image of an Achaemenid gold cup, probably dating from the time of Xerxes, the ruler who is often thought to be the Achashverosh of the Esther story. Thus, this cup may have actually been used in the revelry that opens the story!
Here’s a short slide show of the stages in producing this image. We see
1. the sketch, with gold ground laid
2. raking light on the gold ground as I prepare to burnish it to a glossy finish
3. close-up, showing the difference between the burnished snakes (uroboros) and the forehead
4. first layer of gold, unburnished
5. illumination completed, fully burnished
6. crystal background completed
The image is 3” x 2”.
While Josh is producing pages of text, I'm working on the illuminations. Here's my most recently completed image, a portrait of Vashti, the king's courageous wife who will not be disgraced as a sex object by the crude and drunken king. The image comes from an Achaemenid silver bowl. This slideshow presents the main stages of the image's development.
Very busy summer... Hope yours was memorable and uplifting.
Since my last post Josh and I have done a lot of work on the megillah. Here's a little slide show of some of what we've been doing. Enjoy!
A quick pic of the first 2 images+ on the storyboard. #1, Akhashverosh is complete; #2, the rhyton is is nearly done; #3, the dancing girl just has the ground for the gold (in pink).
The second image for the megillah is a rhyton (drinking vessel), in this case a solid gold one from the Achaemenid period. The illumination is mostly done now, except for some touch-up. Here's a slideshow of the image as it has progressed...
After gilding Akhashverosh, I began the colorwork, but I ran out of black (for the beard), and it took a few days to replace it. In the meantime I began illumination work on the 2nd image, a gold rhyton (drinking vessel). Concurrently I continued developing the sketches for new images. My recent focus is on some "filler" images, based on Islamic illuminated designs. In the following slideshow you can see my progress...
I failed to mention in my last post on the megillah Josh and I are making, that most of the images are based on Achaemenid artifacts, some, or many of which may date to the very era in which the Esther story takes place. So you art historians, you should have some fun unpacking the history of these images.
I have completed the illumination of the first image, King Akhashverosh, that merry old soul, known in the Greek as Xerxes. He was a real jerkxes. Here are three images...
About 4 months ago Josh and I decided to create our own illuminated manuscript of Megillat Esther, the biblical book that is read on the holiday of Purim. This and the Pesach seder are the Jewish books most commonly illustrated and artistically embellished. Josh and I decided we were ready for the challenge.
Josh is doing the Hebrew calligraphy, and I'm doing the illustrations and illumination. Not surprisingly, Josh is forging ahead much faster than me. Here is a sampling of what we've accomplished...