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September 17, 2018
Ten Plagues Illustrated from Nina Paley

I illustrated the Plagues with videoclips in 2015, but never assembled still images before. Again, thinking about a book…











Murrain (cattle disease)




Hail (and fire)






Death of the Firstborn Egyptians



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Dayenu Illustrated from Nina Paley

As I contemplate making a Seder-Masochism Haggadah, I chose some stills to illustrate the Passover song “Dayenu”. Song does not reflect my own opinions, etc.

Out of Egypt

If He had brought us out from Egypt,

and not carried out judgements against them,

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Pharaoh Moses Aharon Snake

If He had carried out judgements against them,

and not against their idols

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Moses Ishtar1

If He had destroyed their idols,

and not killed their first-born

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Death of Firstborn

If He had killed their first-born,

and had not given us their wealth

– Dayenu, it would have been ...

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September 6, 2018
How to Resist Flea Market Judaica from Gefilte Quilt

Perhaps because I make quilted Judaica - perhaps because I am the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who came to the US with zero possessions - when I see a Judaic object at a thrift shop or flea market I must fend off a powerful compulsion to adopt it. For many years, I rarely said "no." As a result, my home is exploding at the seams with Jewish objets.

Fortunately, one of the best ways to stiffen one's resistance to flea market finds is now at hand - the cell phone. I take pictures, and can thereby keep the object with me ...

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August 6, 2018
Stitches from Sorrow, Neatness Doesn't Count: Outsider Art in Lausanne from Gefilte Quilt

In my last two blog posts, (1, 2), I talked about quilt-ish inspiration from a week in the mountains, streets, and, of course, the cheeses of the French Alps and Lausanne, Switzerland. Along with ancient sites, one of the most astonishing places we went was Lausanne's Art Brut Museum - "Collection de l'Art Brut."

Art Brut is a term coined by French painter Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) - in English, it's called Outsider Art. Here's how the museum explains it: 

"Art Brut is made by self-taught people who often live on the margins of society....Among them are prisoners ...

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July 13, 2018
Judaica, Old and New, With and Without Charlton Heston from Gefilte Quilt

Judaic studies professor Jodi Eichler-Levine wrote a beautiful essay about Judaica and "riffing on tradition," published in the Association of Jewish Studies' magazine, here. I'm beyond honored to be mentioned. Here's he full matzoh cover that she discusses.

And the detail that caught her eye:
Doesn't everyone put Charlton Heston on their matzoh covers? I blogged about it several years back, halfway down the page. Thank you, Jodi. It's amazing to be understood
In tallit news: One disadvantage of being an empty nester is that my kids, who used to serve as fresh, unpaid supermodels, are ...

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April 13, 2018
Freemotion Quilted Hebrew Alphabet Postcard Tutorial from Gefilte Quilt

How's your Hebrew? Mine could be much better, but that didn't stop me from making thirteen 4" x 6" quilted Hebrew alphabet postcards for a recent exchange.
A little closer: 

One example: This is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, 'aleph.' 
Mystics saw its structure as a ladder between heaven and earth (Can you see the ladder on the far left?) The rest of the background is freemotion quilted with objects that begin with aleph, including pears,  pineapple, ears, fire, and lion. OK, they're very sketchy, but they're there! 

These cards were made for my ...

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March 12, 2018
L’Shana Haba’a from Nina Paley

L’Shana Haba’a from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Next year in Jerusalem!
Music: “L’shana Haba’a” performed by the Breslau Synagogue Chorus, c. 1998


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February 7, 2018
Gender Colonialism from Nina Paley

Last week I posted on fecebook “If a person has a penis he’s a man,” which led to my widespread denunciation as a “transphobe.” I’ve written about this before, and anyone paying attention should know better, but I nonetheless commented this:

No matter how many times I state that I have trans friends, was standing up for trans people before the current crop of MRA “transactivists” was even born, and continue to defend the human rights of trans people, people accuse me of the opposite. I tire of defending myself, and it makes no difference anyway. I hated ...

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December 3, 2017
Quilting Elvis: Small Holiday Postcard = Big Gift from Gefilte Quilt

Uh oh! The holidays are upon us! If you're still stuck for a fast gift to make for people who deserve  more than an e-card, consider a quilted fiber art postcard. If you use novelty fabrics from your stash or LQS, they can be thoughtful, personal, and fun, all at the same time. (If elegant is more your style, consider making batik postcards, instead.)

Here's one of my latest:

(Elvis is singing Shalom, which means hello/goodbye/peace in Hebrew. Elvis had a non-secret Jewish  history!) The card is one of six I made in September:

This one ...

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November 27, 2017
Chanukah/Christmas Decor from Neckties: Use the Nice Ones! from Gefilte Quilt

Black Friday weekend is almost over! Enough with the shopping! Instead, stay home and make free winter holiday decor/gift card holders using old neckties!

There's nothing new about necktie Christmas decor; do an image search for "necktie wreaths," and you'll find plenty. At the bottom of this post, after the tutorial, there's a bulleted list with some I liked best. If you're not a craftsy person, you can buy beautiful, professional necktie wreaths on Etsy. I've also seen crazy-quilt style Christmas stockings made from neckties. If the ties come from a loved one, they ...

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October 9, 2017
A Pieced Prayer Scarf by Any Other Name (Quilt, Tallit, Stole) is Just As Sweet from Gefilte Quilt

I've made many Jewish prayer shawls (aka tallit) during my time as a quilter. Prayer shawls are usually what quilters would classify as applique projects: Stitch a design to the front (or not), decide whether you want a lining, a collar rectangle, stripes, or corner squares, and you're almost done. (Few people want batting). They can be as simple as one  piece of fabric (like the spectacular hand-painted fabric below, made by quilter Ricky Tims, modelled by my DH, with my Mom looking on:) a simple background white background with the stripe and lining fabric selected by ...

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