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February 24, 1995 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-02-24

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ral Canopies

--- Artists of different
worlds combine



enee Wasserman-Gruskin
grew to love art as a child
attending school in Detroit.
She remembers the day a
painting teacher at Mum-
ford High complimented her
style as reminiscent of
Nadia Matveyeva's love
of art was Russian-born.
She studied painting,
graphics and sculpture at a
prominent school in
Moscow. In 1991, she
immigrated to Michigan
with her husband, Lev.
Three years ago, the
women met through friends
affiliated with the "Connec-
tions" program, sponsored
through Jewish Experiences
For Families.
They shared their interests
and goals and decided to merge
talents into a business. To-
gether, they have begun to
create chuppahs in the base-
ment of Mrs. Gruskin's West
Bloomfield home.
One silk canopy radiates
with bright colors like a stained-
glass window. The design — a
man, a woman and angels —
recalls The Wedding by Marc
Another canopy shimmers
with opalescent designs of flow-
ers, doves, a kiddush cup and
Torah. Lace forms a delicate
border around the pastel pat-
Mrs. Gruskin recently stood
beneath the Chagall chuppah
as a bride to Dr. Alan Gruskin.
The wedding was held Dec. 28
at Temple Israel.
Depending on size and com-
plexity, the chuppahs take 20
to 30 hours to complete. The
women start with silks and
dyes from France. They tightly
stretch the fabric over elevated

boards and replicate a design
from stencils sketched before-
"Gutta" glue keeps the colors
separate, and dozens of brush-
es are used to drench the silk
with a rainbow of hues like
veridian blue and crimson.
After the silk is painted, it is
left to dry for 24 hours. Then,
the women tightly wrap it in foil
and cloth before steaming it.
Steam sets the colors.
Afterward, Mrs. Gruskin and
Mrs. Matveyeva add sequins

Renee Wasserman-Gruskin and
Nadia Matveyeva spend hours on
their art.

the latest in fashion ideas, they
often consult magazines.
The women do not have an
official name for their business,
though their scarves, which
cost between $75 and $250,
have been sold at such notable
places as Saks Fifth Avenue,
Neiman Marcus and Henri
The chuppahs are a new pro-
ject. To date, none have been
sold, but the women say their
enterprise is just beginning.
They aim to custom-make
chuppahs for engaged couples.
A plus: After the wedding,
the chuppahs can be framed as
paintings or sewn into bed
For Mrs. Matveyeva, the pro-
and other embellishments. ject holds special significance.
Near the chuppah's four cor- In her native Moscow, art
ners, they attach grommets, teachers didn't encourage at-
which slip around poles that tempts at Judaica.
hold the canopy upright.
"We couldn't have a lot of
Using an almost identical Jewish activity there," she says.
process, Mrs. Gruskin and Ms. "Doing chuppahs has given me
Matveyeva create wall hang- the chance to bring tradition
ings, scarves, hats and ties. For back." ❑

Mrs. Gruskin stood
beneath the
Chagall chuppah as
a bride.

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