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“From Earth to Heaven” tapestry


2000

COMMISSIONED FOR THE FOYER OF SINAI TEMPLE • SPRINGFIELD MASSACHUSETTS

This crazy-quilt tapestry shows, by form and colour, Israel’s constant struggle to approach the spiritual. The colouration moves from earthly red upward to heavenly blue. Priestly purple intermediates between people and God, recalling both Torah and the holy Temple.

The symbol of transition is a ladder. The most obvious is the ladder in Jacob’s dream, mid-way through Genesis. Four other “ladders” are present.

The form of the quilt combines the biblical history of the Jewish people with the yearly cycle of readings. From right to left, the 54 vertical strips represent the Torah portions. Selected texts chosen by the congregation are placed in that week’s column of text. Special readings for holidays are highlighted in colours keyed to the megillah read on those occasions. The megillot are physically placed in their chronological positions amid the Torah texts.

As the reading of Torah is never finished, the traditional phrase recited at the conclusion of each book appears in the divided lozenge at the right and left ends.

Crazy quilting is a traditional technique that uses pieces of fabric that frequently evoke personal and familial history. In this tapestry, some of the materials came from a wedding dress, costumes for the theatre, fabrics used in his creations by a dear friend who died too young, and others..

 

⊕ Various fabrics and embellishments; wood and metal armature

⊗ Appliqué, photo transfer construction

 

 

 

 ↔ 4.60 m / 15′

⊥ 1.80 m / 6′

⌊ .3 m / 1′

 

 

Metal armature: James Maxwell

Photos: Paul Kay