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In Chicago we have had our study group meetings for the last 32 years. It has been a great source of support for friendship and creativity. Of course some months are better attended than others, and the quality and volume of the work varies. But I have always come away feeling better. From time to time, however, I’m saddened by the thought that with all the inspiring work that has passed through those doors, none of it has been chronicled. There will be no evidence that we even existed! 

   I know that over the years other study groups in other cities have sprung up, varying in size and frequency of meeting. In featuring all levels of works from them, the point is to show just how important a study group can be in our development as calligraphers, at so many different levels. And, YES, it shows, indeed, WE WERE HERE! This informal gathering of kindred spirits has nurtured us, given us continuity in ways we may have hoped for, or may never have expected. I would like for it to be a legacy to pass on to current and future calligraphers: a way to inspire others to start their own study groups. 

    So, for the beginning of this year I will be featuring attendees of our Chicago group. We have had an embarrassment of riches over the decades when it comes to talent. This is a sampling. PLEASE send me works from any study group you may have been part of so it may be featured here and inspire others:  contactreggie@comcast.net

Thank you. Reggie

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This work was done by Corinna Taylor:
"A Sign"

The quotation is from Deuteronomy 6:5, although it also appears in Matthew and Luke. It’s recited in every Jewish service after the Sh’ma. This part refers to the laying on of t’fillin. This is a long thin leather strap with a little box at the end. It’s wrapped on the bare left arm starting with a finger, so that it forms the letter shin, initial of one of the names of God, on the finger, on the hand, then three times up the arm, until the little box ends up on the inner side of the upper arm next to the heart. The shawl is a tallit, or prayer shawl, with tassels on the corners as prescribed in Leviticus. The little box contains a kosher parchment scroll with the sh’ma and the verses from Deuteronomy written out by a specialized Torah scribe.

The first time I did this piece was homework for Reggie’s Twenty-Six Seeds class in 1999. My son was being bar mitzvah, and using t’fillin is part of that rite of passage, as only adult men use them.

My first version (sorry, no photo) was made of cut metal foils, copper bordered by aluminum, and mounted on purple heart plywood, attached with copper tacks. It was rejected by the Newberry jury, most likely because the foils were too heavy to cut easily so the workmanship was rather poor. But I liked the design so I re-did it with ink on paper. The mechanical-looking striped shading was done with Formatt graphic film. The size is 12” wide (the width of the foils) and approximately 20” high.

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You can enjoy all the Pics of the Week from 2009 through 2018,
archived on the home page of my website www.reggieezell.com
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