Monday, October 15, 2012


Rabbi. Stitched words: Waiting for the Messiah. Xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidery.  25” x 19” unframed; 31” x 25” framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

Something rather serendipitous seemed to be in the air during the holiday season 2008. Without any conscious effort to coordinate Rabbi and Priest, two Decision Portraits, I ended up taking the photos within two days of one another. The initial transfer for the priest was less than perfect, so I started stitching on the rabbi.... right before Christmas. It seemed so fitting.... waiting for the Messiah.

The stitched words for the priest are "Called to Serve". While designing my own "Star of David" inspired Blackwork pattern (Don't faint.... I can actually manage counted thread embroidery when absolutely necessary!), it occurred to me that both these men were "called to serve" and both these men are "waiting for the Messiah".... whether for a first or second visit doesn't matter.

Thus, I spent much of the holiday week thinking about our global cultural, religious, and historic similarities. It was a wonderful way to stitch and celebrate. I am thrilled with this piece.... especially the Blackwork. There's a good chance that my desire to adorn the background in this manner is the result of blended cultural arts too. I recently read Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book. My mom and dad practically insisted that I read it, and they were right. I LOVED IT! The fictional plot focused on the real 14th c. Sarajevo Hagaddah. My mind danced with all the beautiful Moorish patterns that many illuminated manuscripts from the Middle East include. I knew I wanted something that reminded me of these books.

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