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August 02, 1985 - Image 41

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-08-02

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Friday, August 2, 1985 41

Lynne holds a finished ketubah,
out a page on her basement printing

tions and ketubot is a "highly tradi-
tional trade" and "a way of preserving
history." Keeping an observant home,
Roberg proudly puts her beliefs into
her work. Most people have "never
seen what can be done with invita-
tions," she says.
She incorporates a person's name
into a design such as putting Malka (a
queen) into a crown. She also used
different types of Hebrew print and


Roberg has a vast knowledge of
Hebrew and the Bible, and this knowl-
edge comes through in her work. In
fact, she will refuse requests that go
against history. She refused to print
the name of God, since the item could
be discarded incorrectly — Jewish
practice dictates that any item bearing
God's name be buried. "Sometimes
people want something so outrageous,
I can't do it," she explains.
According to Orthodox tradition,
women are restricted from doing cer-
tain tasks. Roberg checked with a
rabbi before starting to make ketubot.
Her ketubot designs are as origi-
nal as her invitations. Her creations
include a ketubah with a round text —
the words on straight lines while the
length is adjusted to form a circle.
The Robergs' Oak Park home is
filled with her artwork. She has man-
aged to combine calligraphy with
many forms of art, including need-
lepoint, plaques, jewelry and sculpted
paper. She works surrounded by these
pieces and can do elaborate work in
just three or four days.
"I had to do something, even be-
fore I retired," she says. "That it would
grow into such a thing, I did not

dream." She describes her rewards as
"nice pocket money," but says her real
motivation is "I think it beautifies the
Jewish system."
Unfortunately, she is rarely able
to exhibit her work. Although she be-
longs to the Michigan Association of
Calligraphers, most of their work-
shops and sales are held on Saturdays.
The Detroit Public Library, however,
has exhibited her handiwork.
Roberg often experiences a crea-
tive struggle, losing sleep over her
work. "When it comes out, you're very
grateful." she says.
Her lettering is done by hand and
she uses acrylic paints because "I am
very conscious of durability."
Roberg does both English and He-
brew calligraphy, but due to eye
strain, she no longer makes ketubot
commercially. But with three children
and 26 grandchildren, she is bound to
be kept busy.
"I know my limits," she says, "but
calligraphy is something I can do."
Avadenka also does both invita-
tions and ketubot. "I consider myself
an artist" and this is one way to "make
my Jewishness come out."
Avadenka began making ketubot.
eight years ago while working as a
youth adviser for Cong. Shaarey
Zedek. After graduating from Wayne
State University with a masters de-
gree in fine art, she began doing callig-
raphy professionally.
She works on parchment paper,
which she stretches herself on a board
in her basement studio. The stretching
is done to insure the paper will lie flat
when she puts on the design.
The ketubah itself, which cost

Lynne holds a finished Ketubah,
with the text forming the path
leading from the city of Jerusalem.

$300, is a collaborative process with
the couple. "I want it to reflect their
First, she makes a sketch for the
couple and after they approve it, she
does a full-scale copy on tracing paper
to work out all the problems. "The
most important thing is that it's cor-
rect," she says.
She gets a copy of the text from the
rabbi that will officiate at the couple's
wedding, to make sure that her work is
ritually acceptable. However, she has
made ketubot that the couple wrote
She then puts the work on parch-
ment using permanent colors so that
the ketubah will last as long as the
marriage." She does the lettering in
one sitting, approximately 21/2 hours,
to keep the pen stroke consistent.
"People are redefining what they
want in their wedding," she says. Her
designs for them include a Chinese
theme where the text was written into
a waterfall, and a nature motif, with
the text as a path.
Most of her art "uses Jewish

themes." With the help of two printing
presses in her Huntington Woods
home-studio, she binds and makes
handwritten books.
Through the help of the Michigan
Council for the Arts Creative Artist
Grant, she has made a sculpted book
(that stands up) of the Songs of Songs.
The pages are arched, made to repre-
sent the arches of Jerusalem, and
"I think there's a way to express
yourself Jewishly in a contemporary
way," she says, and "I'm always get-
ting better."
It is hard being a full-time artist,
she admits. Balancing work between
her 21/2-year-old son, her newborn
baby boy and her husband is difficult.
Three days a week, her children go to
day care, and she works at night as
"Nobody cares if you do it except
you, and you have to get your work out.
You just work and hope someone out
there will connect with it." She plans
to continue her art forever, "It's what I
have to do." ❑

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