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  MENORAHS ( MENOROTH ), FOUR CERAMIC WORKS

Menorah I  |   Menorah II   |   Menorah III  |   Menorah IV  

 


 

 

A menorah in semicircular form with mandala-like complex Star of David motif applied.
  • At the request of the Maine Jewish Museum, I was inviited to submit a series of menorahs for display at the museaum. Four were created. The works detailed here are the results of my application of considerable thought and introspection to this project. I wanted each to be a serious art form based on artistic inspiration and insight, and emotionality appropriate to the Hannukah season during which it is intended to be used.
  • Each is different in design, conception and execution.
  • The first, shown here (the middle one), is made from a circular disc of stoneware clay rolled out to a thin slab and cut to form. Dividing them in two yields two identical semi-circles.
  • Both are coated with a white underglaze. The front face of one of the half-circles is then decorated in an elaborate mandala-like design derived from the Star of David by the application of black glaze using the photo silk-screening technique.
  • A  long flat rectangular clay strip forms the side panel used to join the two half-circles into a three-dimensional object. Another strip is used to close the remaining long opening at the top. The several slabs are permanently joined by the score and slip method.
  • The narrow top surface serves as the site for mounting nine candlesticks. The tallest, called the Chamash (servant candle), is used to light the others, sequentially one on the first day of Hannukah, two on the second, etc., for each of the eight days of the holiday. The biblical command to Moses was for a seven-candle menorah, but a nine-candle version is now more traditional.
  • Construction sequence:
    • The work is fired initially to cone 05 in the bisque state.
    • Black glaze is applied by air-brushing.
    • The menorah is refired to cone 05.
    • Glaze embellishments are applied for the patina-like finish.
    • A third firing is done to cone 5.
  • Details of the creative process for the other three menorahs are furnished below.
  • Date: 2014.
  • Sizes:
    • Menorah I:   14.0" x 12.0" x 3.0".
    • Menorah II:  12.0" x 10.0" x 3.0".
    • Menorah III: 12.0" x 11.0" x 3.0".
    • Menorah IV: 12.0" x 12.0" x 5.0".
  • Displayed 2014 at the Let There Be Light exhibition, Maine Jewish Museum, Portland, ME., as illustrated here.
  • Available for purchase. Prices: 
    • Menorah I:   $400.
    • Menorah II:  $200.
    • Menorah III: $275.
    • Menorah IV: $400.

 

 

 


ENLARGED VIEW

Enlarged view of Menorah IV

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

 

 

    MENORAH I

 

Early construction image of Menorah I, showing two half-circles of thin clay joined by a tectangular strip.    

 

  • A thin layer of stoneware clay is rolled out and cut to the round shape of a preformed disc template.
  • The disc is cut in two to yield what will become the front and back panels of the menorah.
  • One of the half-discs is silk-screened with the image of a complex  mandala-like Star of David motif using black glaze.
  • The two half-discs are joined together with an intervening space, to give the work a three-dimensional aspect, by a rectangular slab of clay, using the score and slip method.

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Structure enclosed, base and candle-sticks added.     

 

  • Another rectangle of clay closes the top opening to form a platform upon which candlesticks of extruded clay are attached.
  • A  clay base is designed, sculpted and appended, as shown.
  • The piece is kiln fired for the first time in its bisque state to cone 05.

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 Black glaze is applied overall, except at the Star of David motif on the front panel.

 

Completed work with metallic luster applied for patina.

 

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    MENORAH II

 

Menorah II

 

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Glazes and metallic lusters are added before final firing.

 

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    MENORAH III

 

 

Menorah III.

 

  • This third menorah in this series is a newly-formed amalgam incorporating attractive elements of the disparate designs of the first two.
  • Flat slabs of clay are used to create this hand-built structure.
  • The black and white mandala-like Star of David motif of the first menorah is reintroduced in small silk-screened format onto the top of the front panel.
  • Extruded clay tubes are used in a manner similar to the modificaitons done in the second version.
  • In addition, the flat surfaces are paddled and reshaped, as in the second menorah.
  • When thoroughly air-dried to its leather-hard state, the work will be fired for the first time to cone 05.

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Work is enhanced with glazes and metallic luster finish.

 

 

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Menorah III completed with application of glazes for embellishments.

 

  • Colored glazes in shades of soft green are applied to the body of the work as well as to parts of the mandala Star of David image.
  • Cold finishes complete the work.

 

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    MENORAH IV

 

Menorah IV.

 

  • Newly-designed fourth menorah iteration is seen in its completed construction phase.
  • It will be ready for its first kiln firing after it has been allowed to dry completely to the leather-hard state.

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Menorah IV, completed.

 

 

  • The work is embellished with glazes and metallic luster.
  • A matching tile base is applied for stability.
  • Refiring is done to cone 5/6.
  • Cold finishes are applied to complete the menorah.
  • It is shown here as displayed at the Maine Jewish Museum.

 


 

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