Psssst ... wanna buy a snowflake? Seriously, it's for a good cause. You bid on it, see, and then if you get it, you, umm. I dunno. You hang it on your, uh, Hanukkah bush?
You can see my problem. I want to join the fight against cancer, especially after losing my mother in August. But I usually associate snowflake decorations with -- oh my, let's give the War on Christmas a rest, 'kay? Not gonna go there.
So thank goodness for Ann Koffsky, a fellow member of the tribe who took a tiny canvass and gave it an interfaith spin, while staying true to the seasonal theme. No mention of what a snowflake reminds me of, though. Just staying in the spirit, is all.
Did I pick it, or what? I mean, is this not the most stunning, inspirational -- and really, really small -- tribute to a beautiful place sacred to three great faiths?
And it can be yours.
First, let me introduce Ann Koffsky, who works wonders with an X-Acto knife:
(Just so you don't think I'm serious about the WoC, don't these round ball thingees look scrumptious? Ornaments! Yes, that's the word ...)
She's illustrated 20 books for children, many -- but not all -- with Jewish subjects, plus toys, calendars and Hallmark greeting cards. How cool is that?
So, how does she work these minute miracles? From her "About Me":
First, I cut complex designs from one or more sheets of solid papers. I then shift them around, to create interesting shadows, or matting effects. I then create the painted layer. This part is the most fun, because it usually involves splattering, spritzing, and overall mess-making with vivid colors. To create the final look, I layer the cut out papers over the painted paper. The contrast of loose textures against the clean cut-lines create a visual dynamic that I really enjoy.
Ann graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her snowflake, and I tried really hard this time not to sound like a dork.
Ann: Well, Christmas seemed to be pretty well covered by all the other illustrators, so I wanted to create something that would speak to a Jewish audience. The hope for Peace in Jerusalem as a symbol of the larger yearning for Peace for all humanity appears over and over in Jewish liturgy and artwork. I thought it would be wonderful to extend the motif into this project as well.
How hard was it to cut out such minute shapes for the Jerusalem scene? How long did it take?
I love doing papercuts--they have a wonderful quality, and people really seem to respond to them. This one was fun to do, because having the walls of the city project out from the rest of the picture really adds a sculptural effect to the piece--plus the gates in the wall open and close too! Cutting out the shapes didn't take as long as much as figuring out how to have the layers be at different levels--and all on one small snowflake!
What was the most fun part of creating your snowflake?
Experimenting with the play of cut papers against the textured, blue painted layer. I love setting up contrasts like that in my work.
What is it about this medium that first attracted you?
Being able to create clean cut lines that can be then layered over 'messy' and textured paints. It's great to be able to be messy and neat in the same piece!
What do you love best about illustrating children's books?
I find it so meaningful that my work can be used to educate and inspire kids. Nothing beats that. Plus, I can go to work in my pajamas!
So there you have it. A cool artist and one hot snowflake. What are you waiting for? Go bid! Bid a lot! Be a mensch!