Thursday, October 27, 2011

In the Beginning. A very good place to start.

Today I began working on a new design idea. The latest Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles, Toronto challenge is to make a textile piece on the theme of one of the days of creation. 

Being no biblical scholar my first step was to do a little research on the Seven Days of Creation and the imagery that other Artists have used to express the related themes. The first symbol that called to me was Light. For this project I associate light with the candles for Shabbat, Chanukah and Havdalah. 

Now I'm not silly enough to try to make a fabric candle, but I have been wondering for a while what would be involved in using textiles in candlesticks. My two main concerns are stability and how to separate the flame from the fabric - separating the light from the darkness. Please do let me know if you think of a clever way to separate the fabric from the flame.

If I were to use the First Day of Creation as my inspiration I would be working with this text:

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1-5

The candlestick would represent the Darkness of Night, the formless void of the earth, separate from the light but offering support to the candle. Would the candlestick be very dark? Would it have the colours of Earth, Water and Wind rising up to meet the Light? The candle would represent the Hope, Warmth and Comfort of Day.

According to the Jewish calendar, not only Jewish holidays begin at nightfall, but every day does. With the lighting of the candle we begin a new day.

Light and Dark, Yin and Yang, the Universal Law of Duality.

If I'm making this for Shabbat I have to make two candlesticks which is a bit of a deal breaker. Cool! I just looked it up and Havdalah means separation. Things are falling into place. I'll make a candle holder for Havdalah, my favorite moment in the week.

If I were to use the Light of the Fourth Day of Creation as my inspiration I would be working with this text: 

And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. God made the two great lights - the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night - and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19

I start to see how I would make two candlesticks. One would be for the day and one for the night but when I think about the Fourth day I start to get overwhelmed by the complexity of the imagery.

The images of Havdalah Candle Holders on Google seem to have a nice low centre of gravity. I'll have to find a way to weigh the holder down or give it a wide base. That gives me a scathingly brilliant idea. I could use a smaller version of my Magen David basket bowl design. This is starting to get exciting!

Havdalah candle holder in honor of the 1st Day of Creation it is!

No comments: