Meet the Artist: Jeanette Kuvin Oren

Photo: Courtesy of Jeanette Kuvin Oren

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I grew up in Florida and in Jerusalem and was studying to become an epidemiologist when I quit a PhD program at Yale to devote myself full-time to Judaic art. Since 1984 I have worked with more than 400 synagogues and hundreds of families around the world to create commissioned art.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I always loved making art. I don’t know that there’s a decision to become an artist, really, because I just HAVE to create. I love everything about Judaic art: translating the beauty of Judaism into visual media for everyone to enjoy.

What is your specialty?

Torah mantles, Ark curtains, Fiber art wall hangings, Mosaics, Glass and Metal, Papercutting, Ketubot, Family Trees.

How and where do you work?

I have studios in Connecticut and in Jerusalem.

What is the most indispensable item in your studio space?

That is a very hard question! I love my sewing machines (Bernina), long-arm quilting machine (Gammil), dyes (Jacquard), silks (from Dharma Trading Co.), and of course my computer and Adobe programs.

Where do you take your inspiration? Are you pursuing any themes?

Inspiration comes from everything I study about Judaism, from my clients, and from being in Israel.

Do you do bespoke work?

Most of my work would be considered bespoke. It is commissioned by synagogues, families and organizations. During covid I’ve “pivoted” to creating ready-made items (challah covers, Judaic Art Kits, etc), but usually I do only commissioned work.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’ve created Judaic Art Kits and am teaching a lot of online Papercutting Workshops. I’m also picking up the work again with synagogues and creating sets of Torah mantles for congregations in London (England), New York, Oregon, and California.

What are your favourite items in your current collection?

I’m excited about the “Make your own” Challah Cover Kits. They’ve been very popular with adults and families. Anyone of any age can color-in the design to make a beautiful challah cover.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

At some point I say “done,” though I know that any piece could always be worked on longer.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

At age 11 I made and sold hand-painted t-shirts to school friends.

Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?

A synagogue commissioned a large wall-hanging (24 ft x 6 ft) in memory of their custodian. He had been part of the congregation community for 40 years. His name was Rosie. A rose was part of the design of the wall-hanging.

What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?

I want to inspire people with the Jewish art in their sanctuaries, in a synagogue or in a home. And I want everyone to try making Judaic art themselves. The doing is inspiration!

Where can we find your work?

Photos: Courtesy of Jeanette Kuvin Oren

Rakuten Kobo UK

Post Author: admin