New York City has been everything that I dreamt of and more! Connecting to Jewish Spirituality, the world of fine art and exploring the networks of the New York Jewish Art scene. I was astonished at the warmth, kindness and friendliness of New Yorkers – so overwhelmingly welcoming and helpful in all aspects of life – in the subways, on the streets, in the stores and shopping labyrinths, gardens, public institutions – EVERYWHERE – the generosity of spirit was abounding!
Once again, like in Israel, I managed to catch up with some old friends from Australia and some distant relatives living and settled in New York, as well as making new friends and developing very special connections with a diverse range of like-minded people.
So I got of to a great start - from the soft and ever-so-comfortable landing at Brett Solomon’s spacious brownstone apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn …
On to Sag Harbour, Long Island where I did a printmaking workshop with Dan Weldon (at the Long Island Art League). Dan was the most patient, generous and inspiring teacher and host. With a very full class of women, he managed to get us all doing a range of exploratory prints with some very successful outcomes. I experimented with solar plate etching techniques and consolidated some of the ideas inspired by my pilgrimage from Israel and Turkey.
From fine art to Jewish spirituality, I was blessed with a weeklong emersion into Jewish creative community collaboration at the Isabella Freedman Centre in Falls Village, Connecticut – the Mikvah Retreat. This was an amazing experience, where all participants facilitated their own creative workshops – some of which included, cooking, yoga, meditation, prayer, Talmud, hiking, authentic body movement, textiles and the Midrash, mysticism of the Hebrew letters, Jewish Tarot – I needn’t mention the extent to which I found myself in my element! It was all that our little town of Denmark offers under a Jewish umbrella! I met some incredibly talented women – coined as my New York soul sisters - laughing, crying, caring and sharing life stories. It felt like such an abundance of love. Three of these special women have hosted me throughout the duration of my stay in NYC. With a couple of nights at Eszter Margit’s in Riverdale (NY) and Suzi Finkelstein’s in Albany (NY), and a month long sojourn at Jamie Askin’s apartment in upper Westside Manhattan, where she welcomed me as a virtual room-mate for the entire month!
Jamie’s apartment was a couple of blocks away from the expansive Central Park, as well as what is know as the ‘Museum Mile’ (5th Avenue), where one comes across the Jewish Museum, the Solomon Gugenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and, not too far away is MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art)…speaking of expansive! These institutions need at least a week EACH to really absorb what they have to offer! Nevertheless, it was a feast for my senses and I was completely green with envy of locals who can experience these collections whenever the inclination arises…
Whilst staying with Jamie, I had the opportunity to attend several Shabbat services at Romemu - a Jewish Renewal service led by Rabbi David Ingber who is a most dynamic and inspiring leader. The services and activities that I attended with the Romemu community have been some of the most spiritually engaging and heartfelt connections that I have experienced so far on my journey. Meeting Jamie's friends and community and getting a taste and insight into her lifestyle allowed me the opportunity once again to feel embraced with acceptance, love and connection and deepened my own feeling of being a Manhattan local for a brief moment in time....not to say that it won't happen in another time and space!
Throughout the month, I did manage to escape the city for a few days’ respite at an old friend of my mum’s in New Jersey. I spent a few days here feeling very run down with a chest infection, so it was a timely and much needed space for recuperation from the incessant and all-consuming pulse of NYC. Lena cared for me as if I were her own daughter – her love and healing were truly appreciated - yummy!
Back to the buzz, I returned to Jamie’s 16th floor, Upper Westside apartment and rented a studio space to print for a week at the Lower Eastside Print Workshop (located midtown Manhattan in the garment district, contrary to what the name suggests). This was yet another brief, but exhilarating and satisfying ‘global’ printing experience! Remarkably, I had a lot of the space to myself - spreading out on every possible surface of bench tops - apparently very rare, in fact reports have it that it is usually a very hectic place with limited space to work. I met a few very inspiring printmakers, one of whom was also visiting (on a regular basis) from Turkey and preparing for a big exhibition in November. I worked on my ongoing exploration of sacred geometry, playing with the repetition and organisation of squares, circles and triangles, to develop ornamental patterns, incorporating the Kabbalistic Tree of Life (also known, as the ten Sefirot in Jewish Mysticism). I also managed to introduce COLOUR into my work - looking at the vibrations and dialogue of colour and non-colour compatibility…something which I am looking forward to developing whilst travelling through New England during the FALL.