In Awe


“Asher” by Marc Chagall

There are interesting topics swirling around the news currently. Some of them–like OJ Simpson’s new book–I am eager to tackle. Because we are in the ten days between Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), I will control myself.

I want to devote these ten days to honoring the Jewish people in some way and/or disclosing something I am pondering. In Judaism, these are days for asking for forgiveness and making restitution. They are Days of Awe, and just as they suggest, we are to experience the awesomeness of God and life. 

Today, I am contemplating the magnificient stained-glass art of Marc Chagall, an awesome reflection of the Jewish people and their God. I have stood, captivated, at the Abbel Synagogue in the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem, gazing at Chagall’s renderings of the Twelve Tribes.

Chagall’s artistic expression, choice of color and texture, and feeling of passion come through the glass. As I mentioned in my previous post “Light as (is) Art,” art isn’t art until it captures and reveals light. I believe that is God’s way of saying, “Don’t adore the artist or the artwork, adore Me the Light of the world.” As for those lackluster profferings, posing as originals–they are fakes and not real art–unless light is the obvious subject or enhances the beauty of the subject.

Chagall’s stained-glass is full of light and enhanced by light. He meticulously poured over the Scriptural references of each tribe to bring it to life in art. Someday, I will afford myself the luxury of viewing the stained-glass windows of Chagall at different times of the day. A new slant of light will infuse a new message in the art piece.

When Wayne and I first married, the first thing I requested was to study stained-glass and set up a small studio. We lived in an apartment, and I converted my back porch into the art room. I had a table with all the appropriate equipment: light box, glass cutters, patterns, rounds of lead, copper wrappings, glass–beautiful, glorious glass–soldering iron, patinas, and a grinding machine.

My heart brimmed with passion. I worked feverishly in two-week blitzes producing whatever fancied me. I gave much away, sold quite a bit, and enjoyed the whole process. It brought me so much pleasure for a few years. When we moved to Ukraine, I got rid of all my equipment. Today I am seriously thinking about rekindling the old passion. 

Well, my stained-glass was nothing like Chagall’s or Tiffany‘s, but what a goal!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Tara says:

    Bonnie, I still treasure the pieces you gave us during your stained glass days. I made sure I acquired the dove you made for my mother after she died…she proudly hung that in her living room for years because you made it! Plus, the blue mirror you created and gave to Norris and I as a wedding gift 20 years still hangs in my bathroom. See–your art LIVES ON! Is it valuable yet?? lol

  2. Bonnie says:

    Ha! Tara! You are more than kind! I wish that I would have made something for myself. I literally gave or sold it all. Well, I guess that is more reason to reopen the art studio…

    Have you seen Chagall’s windows in Ein Kerem in Jerusalem?

  3. Carol Wilks says:

    I continue to learn so much from you, Bonnie. You are multi-faceted, just like your stained glass work. We have a number of these products that you gifted us during this, another creative time in your life. I still marvel at the quality of them, and I can truly say without bias, they are the best crafted that I have seen anywhere. This article lets us see now into the heart that created them, and I appreciate them even more! Lovingly, Mom (Wilks)

  4. Bonnie says:

    Thanks, Mom, for the kind words and vote of confidence.

  5. Tara says:

    Yes, I’ve seen the Chagall windows, but a very long time ago –with 19 year old eyes! lol My mom brought back some souvenir bookends with copies of the windows (specifically Levi) on her last trip to Israel. But I would love to see them again.

  6. Bonnie says:

    I hope we can see them again this October when we are there to visit Joe and Bev.

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