Catherine and Gabe, the creative duo behind Woodcut Maps, came to Ketuv artist Jason Leinwand wanting a ketubah that matched the tone of their knitted chuppah. After a few conversations, and a few sketches (one of which is pictures below), and some custom calligraphy by Edeet Bergman, this is what he came up with.
And for a bit of behind-the-scenes action, here is a peek at Jason’s initial sketch:
Catherine and Gabe loved the sketch, but Catherine thought the design within the text box looked too much like fallopian tubes (ha!), so Jason amended them to what you see above.
Read on for an exit interview with Jason about his process.
Q: What medium did you use?
A: The ketubah was made with archival ink pens and Faber-Castell polychrome colored pencils.
Q: What were Catherine and Gabe looking for with this ketubah? What was the inspiration?
A: Catherine and Gabe were looking for a ketubah that expressed their dedication to, and wonder of, the world they want to live in, create, and share with others. It seemed to me that the energy and spirit of a community was the focus not just of their wedding, but of their lives. I think my style of artwork was attractive to them, not just because I was their friend and part of that community, but because it hopes to capture that very busy and active essence of life, the universe and love. They had a very specific color palette that drew from the colors and patterns of a sentimental pillow they own. They also wanted it to be playful, even making reference to their pet cats. (But that is our secret as to where that comes into the piece!) Other inspirations for the piece were the little crocheted squares that loved ones and wedding guests have selected that will be knit together to form their chuppah. I tried to emulate this idea of many different patterned squares being put together to form the overall layout of the ketubah.
Q: How does this relate to what you are exploring in your studio these days?
A: This ketubah relates so perfectly to what I am exploring in my studio. I have actually been making only 20″x 20″ square, colored pencil drawings for the past 6 months or so. Making another one for Catherine and Gabe seemed completely in line with the last drawing I made, which also consisted of a squared grid. Ultimately, I have found that in addition to making work about cosmic and worldly energies, I really just love to color! Getting to color and meditate over their ketubah, reading the text they had chosen and creating something special around it, highlights the elements I wish to be present in all my work.
For more information about Jason Leinwand, visit his artist page.
Custom Map ketubah by Rachelle Tolwin
We know that commissioning a custom ketubah can be intimidating. That’s why we recently shared our tips with Jewish wedding experts, The Wedding Yentas. We had so much info on the topic that the post comes in two parts, Part I and Part II.
If you’re considering a custom work, definitely follow the links to the post as a whole, but either way, here are some excerpts that will give you a sense of the process.
Figure out what your ketubah is about: Talk to your partner about what aspects of your relationship you would like your ketubah to highlight. They should be the things that you feel are truly special about your relationship. You may want to think about the stories that are important to you as a couple: how you met, the moment you “knew,” a trip you took together. Your ketubah can depict, say, the park bench where he proposed, or a map of all the New York City apartments you both lived in before you met one another.
Start thinking about color: This could be as basic as wanting the ketubah to echo your wedding colors, or the colors of your home, or it could be more symbolic.
Figure out what you like: There is no special formula to finding the right artist, and you don’t have to know about art to have an experience with it. Look around. When you like something, listen to yourself. Collect images of the artwork you and your partner like, and look at all the images together to see if there is a pattern emerging.
Communicate: Let your artist in on the details of the conversation you had with your partner, and share your little folder of inspiration images, taking him/her through your vision for your ketubah. In one case, a couple even sent me a crude version of what they wanted, which they sketched out themselves in crayon!
The client’s sketch to the artist’s rendering
As we told The Wedding Yentas, this may sound like a lot of work, but we believe that you and your partner can figure out the basics of what you’re interested in over the span of a dedicated afternoon. It might also be fun, an opportunity to literally “visualize” your relationship. Don’t forget that your artist will also bring something to the table. You don’t have to have everything figured out in order to start the conversation!
Again, for the full post, including more information about ketubah text on a custom work, as well as the details of the agreement between artist and client, please visit The Wedding Yentas, and Ketuv’s posts, Part I and Part II!
We’re Ketuv, a new business offering a fine art option in ketubahs.
For the uninitiated, a ketubah is a decorative Jewish marriage contract, signed at the wedding to unite the couple. But it’s not just for Jews anymore. In recent years, the ketubah has become a powerful statement of partnership for all couples.
We got to thinking: why do most ketubahs look just the same when there are so many unique couples, and so many talented artists?
Ketuv’s stand-out launching line features ketubahs by a diverse and innovative group of artists, with dynamic careers outside the Judaica and commercial sphere. We guide each artist in applying their studio practice to the ketubah tradition, without compromising their aesthetic. The result is a stand-alone piece of art, whether it be a limited edition print or one-of-a-kind work on paper.
We invite you to check out our website to learn more about us, our artists, and our mission. Visit our shop to browse close to 30 limited edition prints by over 25 emerging and mid-career artists. Most of them are available on the site for custom commissions. Among the options, you’ll find wedding and anniversary artwork for same-sex, interfaith, non-denominational and non-Jewish couples, in addition to ketubahs for Jewish couples of all denominations.
As a business, we’re relying on our community to help us spread the word. We hope you’ll forward this post widely:
Engaged, or know someone who is? Check out our shop! Forward to your friends!
Artists: Interested in making a ketubah? Send a link to your website to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rabbis and Wedding Planners: Help us get the word out! Contact us at email@example.com and we’ll send you a stack of Ketuv postcards. We’d also love to meet with you (in person or digitally) to tell you about our product.
Press: Want to write a feature on Ketuv? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you our press kit.
By taking an inclusive approach to the ketubah text, and nestling it within a fresh piece of contemporary artwork, Ketuv is renovating the ancient tradition for the next generation.
Arielle and Maya