Tallitot is plural for tallit. For those of you who are wondering what a tallit is — it is a prayer shawl worn for Jewish worship. The shawl has special twined and knotted fringes called tzitzit attached to its four corners. There are more than two tallitot involved here, but I really liked the alliterative reference!
This previous post described one of my long term projects – a commission to weave eight ceremonial tallitot, prayer shawls for a large synagogue. The project is currently on my loom and looks like this.
This is the first prayer shawl in a series of four. These are ceremonial tallitot and so are narrower than standard prayer shawls. They will be worn around the neck much like a scarf and with a seam in the back. The tallitot will be lined and taper to a width of about four inches at the seam at the back of the neck. Here is my sketch for one side of the tallit.
The reason that I am weaving a single tallit side by side is so that the pattern bands are equal in length as these will lie in front of the wearer and for the congregation to see. Ideally the pattern bands should line up with each other. This means that I am weaving with four shuttles at a time: each side has one shuttle for plain weave and one shuttle for the pattern weave. I will also be weaving a separate neck band or atarah which will be sewn over the back seam and whose design will extend onto the front of the prayer shawl. This is the blue green band that is at the top of the design sketch.
The warp and plain weave weft yarn for this project is an undyed natural 8/2 tencel yarn. The pattern weft is Bambu 7 in solid colors and also a handpainted 5/2 tencel. The pattern design is a variation of a honeysuckle twill. The weave pattern for the atarah will be in a different design. The imagery of the twill weave reminded me of a flame, and so this collection will be titled “Ner Tamid” the eternal light above the Holy Ark that houses the Torah and thus is a symbol of God’s ever presence.
This first set of four prayer shawls should be completed by the time of the Jewish New Year, or the High Holy Days which this year occurs the first week of September. And at this time as well, Lark Books will introduce a new book: “500 Judaica: Innovative Contemporary Ritual Art.” This is one of Lark Books’ “500 series” of publications showcasing collections of contemporary design by an international array of artists in varying media.
And it just so happens that four of my original design handwoven tallitot have been selected for publication in this book. This book will be available in September and can be purchased at all book stores and online shops. To find out more visit Lark Books.
Filed under: Fiber, Handwoven, loom, Memphis, Weaving, yarn | Tagged: 500 Judaica, atarah, Bambu 7, handweaving, Jewish, Judaica, Lark books, loom, Memphis, prayer shawl, synagogue, tallit, tallitot, tencel, twill weave, Weaving, worship, woven | 5 Comments »