Arts Shabes II Recap

Our Arts Shabes II on Zoom in early December featured Boston Workers Circle Executive Director Rebecca Hornstein and BWC member Myron Tupa. 

Rebecca’s Art

Rebecca showed us some of the beautiful ketubot she has designed when working with engaged couples on their marriage contracts. Rebecca finds out from each person in the couple what is important to them and then incorporates that information into the calligraphic text and the artwork surrounding the calligraphy. Rebecca sees ketubah creation as a container for pre-commitment spiritual exploration and emotional preparation. 

Rebecca has described her deep dedication to sofrut calligraphy, Jewish scribal art, this way: 

“Sofrut has been a powerful spiritual practice for me, as art too has always been. There’s something that happens when you’re doing something creative in that you become a vessel for and partner with the divine in a more embodied way. You get in that weird time warp when you get in the zone creatively. You say “wow I made that” but you also feel like you didn’t make it alone in a way.

Creation is something that happens all the time. When we do creative things we become part of that act in a more direct way.”

Myron’s Art

Myron Tupa has produced art in various media, including printmaking, but working with wood has been his life-long love, starting when he fashioned his own toys using hand tools.  Myron currently creates kinetic sculptures which are automatic knives (switchblades) crafted out of a variety of beautiful woods. 

Myron is both a historian and a collector of knives, and he introduced us to the fascinating history of automatic knives. In the U.S. they were a helpful tool for disabled soldiers who became one-armed in the Civil War. For many years the auto-opening knives were sold at hardware stores, general stores and available through the Sears and Roebuck catalog. But During the 1950s, U.S. newspapers, the tabloid press and movies like Rebel without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle joined forces in promoting the image of a young delinquent with a stiletto switchblade, and that tends to be what the word “switchblade” conjures up for most of us today. 

In perfect contrast to that image are Myron’s unique kinetic sculptures which are works of art that have been designed to feel good in the hand and look lovely to the eye — as well as being designed to spring open. Myron described how he manages to make the knives without using any metal at all — just wood. As an artist, Myron offered us a change in perception. The word “switchblade” has been given a beautiful new look and meaning. 

Also during Arts Shabes II, around 50 Shabes participants met in small groups for very interesting conversations about what art has meant in our lives.   More interesting Shabes conversations and presentations will happen at 6 p.m. on February 24 at the Food, Memories, Celebrations, & Connections Shabes.  Register to attend the Shabes here.  If you would like to share a recipe or related photos, please complete the form here. This event is pay-what-you-can (suggested donation of $5-10+)

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