Wednesday, October 21, 2009

mission complete

finished-ketubah2

picture-detail-2

hebrew-detail-4

picture-detail-3

hebrew-detail-3

and the ketubah is finished! i did this one in watercolor and ink on hot press illustration paper. the lines look wavy, but that's just because of the crappy camera angle. i assure you that i spent many pre-inking hours grappling with my t-square to make sure that this blessed piece, so to speak, had even lines and some sort of symmetry to it.

i started by ruminating about it for about a month and looking at the paper for another two weeks. then i took a deep breath and trimmed the paper to 16" x 20", a standard frame size (remembering a good ricë rant from a while back about what a pain in the ass it is to frame non-standard-size artwork), then did the watercolor wash and measured the borders.

the next part, which absorbed the largest chunk of time, was lettering the text that the couple provided for me. since there was no room for error, i penciled in and proofed the hebrew a million times before starting it. i even took care with the english part because it would have been ever so easy to miss a word in that sea of letters.

once i finished the lettering i relaxed and totally enjoyed the illustrations, all symbols of jewish life: family, holidays, life and love. if you have any specific questions about what each of them mean i'll do my best to answer. from start to finish (not including the pre-trimming rumination) the process took about 50 hours.

go here to see another handpainted ketubah, a beautiful one designed by susie - as well as a great story about how she got started as an artist.

now i'm in that post-major-mission flailing phase, trying to get myself organized to embark on my next secret agent project. first step: strong coffee. have a great day!

58 comments:

Valerie Lorimer said...

It's beautiful, Aimee! The couple should be thrilled. We should chat - I did a ketubah this summer for my brother-in-law and new sister-in-law. My first ever - as I was reading what you wrote it all came back to me...picking the paper, the measuring, etc. You did a great job.

Inner Toddler said...

this is spectacular! I love it so much. what a gift. what a person you are aimee.

steve said...

Oh wow, this is quite amazing Aimee!You must have the patience of a saint.

May said...

Gorgeous!

Liz said...

totally amazing aimee. I love the hebrew lettering, so beautiful - I have no idea what ant of it says, so the beauty of the letters can just speak to me... that's so cool sometimes, to be unaware of meaning, and all about the beauty... ok, that's my morning moment...

aimee said...

thanks all :))

and i look at the hebrew that way too, liz. it is a beautiful, very rhythmic looking alphabet. i know just enough to pick through the text - i can read the letters, which go from right to left, i know some words by sight and can figure out the ones i don't know by looking them up - but i have to concentrate very hard to do this; otherwise it looks like one very long soothing flow of symbols and i get mesmerized and distracted by that. so i had to focus focus focus focus focus on making sure i didn't slip on one of the letters since so many of them look alike. it gave my poor little brain quite a workout. a saint of patience, though, no. a master of swearing and fretting, yes.

cindy shake said...

Beautiful! It looks like there was a lot of planning put into the design and it paid off. It's very thoughtful, artful as well as illustrative!

sue said...

this is just lovely!! only 50 hours?? it would have taken me months. i love it!

Anairam said...

Wow - this is beautiful - and what a lot of hard work - 50 hours! (I shouldn't complain so much about my work, I think.) Hey, just think about it Aimee, you've also just completed your first Hebrew proofreading job!

Bella Sinclair said...

AAAAAHHHHHH, Aimee!!! Oh MY, this is spectacular. All that patient lettering. And the illustrations and the colors. Heavenly. GORGEOUS. I'm sure the recipients were over the moon. If it were me, I'd be so nervous about putting my signature on it. I'd have to have a John Hancock that was worthy of such a document.

By the way, that's the excuse I give for looking all wavy in photographs, myself. It's the camera angle, darnit.

CRABCAKES said...

Gorgeous! What a MAJOR accomplishment!
sigh.

joanne said...

i'm just in awe, Aimee... what a beautiful piece you have created... i am just speechless over the detail, the color, the loveliness... this will be a treasured part of a wedding memory, and as such a treasured part of a lifetime together...

congratulations on this amazing creation...

Desiree said...

Aimee, this rocks!!!
Having my afternoon coffee with this is by far, the superlative of my day :D

Maybe when I get married, although Christian, you can do one of these for me :DDD
Or of it never happens, I could have one with "spinster" written pretty on it XD

Fruenswerk said...

U just rock giiiiiiiiirl :)))))))))

cindy said...

it's absolutely incredible, aimee! you should be so proud to know that your work will be treasured for many years. the hebrew language is so nuanced and precise. wow!

whenigrowupcoach said...

So, so amazing. What a treasure, Aimee.

BloggingQueen said...

This. Just. Sings.

It's so beautiful, Aimee. What an amazing ketubah, and a profound mitzvah on your clients' behalf. Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww...

Jill said...

this is such a fabulous piece of work and it is great to know that is will become part of a family's history

●• Thereza said...

wowza!!! how large is it? hebrew... this is what i call craft... great! :)

Aris said...

Wow gorgeous!!! It looks so happily ever after! You must feel like you are unwinding right about now. I always enjoy making something for someone else but it is a very different feeling than creating for oneself and it always makes me feel a little bit in knots. Still wanting to hear more about your house and a commercial. Sounds exciting(:

S.E.Minegar said...

this is beautiful!

lori vliegen said...

well, i would say that you're an artistic genius, but i'm sure i've said that many times before. i would say that it's absolutely fantastic, but i KNOW that i say that every time i visit! so, for now, i'll just say "bravo, maestro....bravo!"

p.s. and you really are an artistic genius who did a fantastic job on this!! :))

jennifernew42@mac.com said...

My friend Cheryl is an amazing calligrapher and I know she's also half excited and half in dread when she gets katubah assignments. They're tough. But WOWZA - you did beautifully!!!! Miss you!

Annie Pazoo said...

Oh, Aimee, I'm speechless. Wow. Goooorrrrrggggeeeeous.

Candied Fabrics said...

AMAZING! You have created a work of art that will be cherished BEYOND the lifetime of this couple...just think of 100 years from now when we're all gone and great-grandchildren are searching for their own artist to create their own special ketubah, passing this one amongst themselves. Truly, this couple is blessed.

painted fish studio said...

aimee, it's stunning. you are amazing.

Megan Coyle said...

Wow, this must have taken forever! Lovely colors and your lettering, as always, looks superb. Keep up the gorgeous work :)

likeschocolate said...

WOW! It is beautiful!

wild child said...

HOLY MAZEL TOV, BAR MITZVAH AND FREAKING OY VEY AIMEE!!!

It is GORGEOUS!!! Sheesh girl - you are AMAZING!!!

Meg xoxo

Guusje said...

wow

Ian said...

I like your calligraphy.

kendalee said...

Aimee, what an incredibly beautiful and special piece! Your care and creativity sings out of every gorgeous inch of it, and I'm sure it is going to be appreciated and treasured by the lovely couple who recognised in the first place that you were the one to do this for them. Brava!!!

trinsch said...

wow! that is one awesome ketubah!

if i ever was to have one, i would want one exactly like that :)

thank you so so much for your comment to my post from the other day! i am so sorry to hear about your experience, but i am glad you made it through and trusted yourself in the end. and that you took the time to share your experience with me.

hanna-happenings said...

Aimee, you truly are a Woman to admire!

Le blÖg d'Ötli said...

A great great job !!! Bravo !

la ninja said...

you little champion, you! but, of course, no-one around these here parts doubted you could do a wonderful job.

what was their reaction when they saw it? (they have seen it, haven't they?)

right, what the next secret agent mission, then? does it involve large quantities of ice cream and doughnuts... I thought so.

Romilly said...

Aimee I have great respect for you!

This is absolutely beautiful! I hope the recipients appreciate all the love that went into it. :)

You have just reminded me why I gave up doing commissioned calligraphy pieces so many years ago! I am a perfectionist, and deadlines requiring perfection stress me out!

Caroline said...

Stunningly beautiful - congratulations on completing this amazing piece of art! I know what you mean about checking and rechecking - absolutely nothing worse than discovering a missed letter when there's no room to spare!! I once did a few pieces of caligraphy which incorporated the names of race horses in arabic - I traced them as acurately as I could but was really nervous that my inking might not spell out the right word!

Alexandra Hedberg said...

well done!
They must be very happy with the result!

Alexandra Hedberg said...

And - I would NEVER EVER have dared to take this job. I am in no way dyslectic ... and good at spelling ... but something just happens when I'm supposed to put letters in an art context. I always F*** up. It's like I'm more concentrated on shape...

(The enamels - One error ... discoverd one year later. The watercolurs they commissioned afterwards ... one error)No more text for me!

Shannon said...

this is absolutely incredible! breath-taking.

Michael Dolich said...

Thanks Aimee. We love it already and can't wait to put it up on our wall.

The Lucky Couple
Lori and Michael

Katrina said...

oh my goodness. gorgeous!

BT said...

Oh aimee, you must be so proud of this work, it's utterly beautiful. What a lucky couple they are to receive such a work of art.

Lori said...

Awesome awesome awesome! What a truly heartwarming gift. You and the receiver are both blessed by it I am sure.

jess gonacha swift said...

Aimee, it is goooooooorgeous! You must be so proud of it!! What a lucky, lucky couple. And such a good way to start off their marriage. :)

cactus petunia said...

Simply amazing! I've done many calligraphy projects like that, and I know how daunting it can be to be so precise. Especially one as complicated as this one.
Beautiful job, Aimee!

Ces said...

Oh My! What a masterpiece! That is beautiful!

kj said...

how proud and relieved and smug you must feel to have finished this amazing piece, aimee!

you deserve a banana split.

xo

aimee said...

thank you everyone!! so much!

Christine said...

This is beautiful. I can't say I understand a syllable - but it's very very beautiful :-)

Kellys Art Journaling/ Sharing The Journey said...

Absolutely fabulous! You did such an amazing job on this project. Congratulations!

~Valentina~ said...

OMG! this is *GORGEUS-AMAIZING-BEAUTIFUL*
You Rock!!!

oneartistjournal said...

Oh Aimee...
ktubah yefeyfia...vecsooma.
Sorry I was gone somewhere and couldn't give you the gift of a first fresh comment...nevertheless...It is very very impressive...the Hebrew is so beautifully written...it touched me...and as I was reading the content it moved me more...this language is so beautiful and you have honored it and beautified it even more...
Much a-ha-va
Orly

peggyfussell said...

Oh Aimee, this is so absolutely gorgeous!! I can't stop looking at it! 8)

jennifer lee said...

Your piece is absolutely gorgeous! What a precious ketubah. And thanks for sharing your process, too. It's clear how much love and care went into it.

e.beck.artist said...

that is gorgeous beyond belief!

messyfish said...

wow wow wow! this is beautiful!