Getting Your Art For The Holidays

Image shows a chibi Ariela under a pile of boxes and cardboard tubes saying "a little help, please..."

Image shows a chibi Ariela under a pile of boxes and cardboard tubes saying "a little help, please..."

Thanksgiving is a week away, which means that the $_WINTERHOLIDAY shopping season will soon begin in earnest.* As such, we wish to make you aware of the purchasing deadlines we will be using to make sure that you (or the recipients) receive your purchases in time to celebrate. 

As per our FAQ, we generally ship USPS First Class. That requires the item be mailed by December 19th to guarantee delivery for December 24th. In order to give Ariela adequate processing time, we will require the orders to be placed by December 14th to make sure that there is enough time to get things printed, matted and shipped to you.

If you were looking for the perfect חנוכה gift from us, that needs to be ordered by December 6th to ensure arrival by December 12th. And may we suggest the Police Box Mizrach?

No matter what holiday you celebrate, our newest greeting card makes the perfect accompaniment to any gift. Be sure to pick one (or a pack) up with any order you place in the next two months.

 

 

 

*Despite Michael's best efforts to declare otherwise, the $_WINTERHOLIDAY season does not start until the day after Thanksgiving. At least not in our establishment.

New Greeting Card: Spoon Dragon $_WINTERHOLIDAY Card

Are you worried about picking an appropriate English spelling for חנוכה? Want to make a point in the "Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays" culture wars? Then we've got the card for you.

GC-201705-WinterHolidayCard_wenvelope.png

How It Came to Be:

As 2016 wrapped up, Ariela knew that November of 2017 would involve a significant amount of work at her day job. So we looked for some products we could release that would involve minimal effort on her part. Greeting cards tend to be the sort of things that can give Ariela a break from her day job, without taking a lot of time to finish and post-produce. Terri proposed the idea of an Global Winter Holiday Season card, using the "$_" variable. Ariela thought that Spoon Dragon was a great character to feature on the card, with winter gear. 

While looking for image references for Spoon Dragon's scarf, Ariela accidentally stumbled into one of the more intense intersections of the Fandom and Knitters Venn Diagram. While years of friendship with Terri made her peripherally aware of the fact that fandom knitters are a dedicated bunch of detail-oriented people obsessed with accurate reproduction, she still wasn't prepared for what she found there. Debates about patterns and yarn choice were expected, but essays on the relative ease of matching paint vs fabric to Pantone swatches and the differences between studio lighting, photoshoot lighting, and daylight were a tad overwhelming for a casual visitor to this subfandom.

The card shows Spoon Dragon holding a snowball, with large fuzzy blue earmuffs and a Very Long Striped Scarf. The outside text reads: "Happy $_WINTERHOLIDAY!!" The inside is available either with no text or with the following: "May your season be joyous and not eat your spoons."

As with all our cards, it is available singly for $4 each or in packs. In addition to our usual pack of 6 cards for $20, this one is also available in a pack of 10 cards for $30. 

Signing Off For Tishrei

by Terri

Image shows chibi Ariela with swirly eyes under a large weight with 'Jewish Holiday Calendar' written on the side together with a calendar showing many days blocked off.

Image shows chibi Ariela with swirly eyes under a large weight with 'Jewish Holiday Calendar' written on the side together with a calendar showing many days blocked off.

Wednesday night begins the cycle of fall Jewish Holidays that we blogged about in our post "Tishrei Is Coming." Both Ariela and I are observant of the restrictions imposed by these holidays, which means that regular blogging and frankly much work becomes difficult over the next four weeks.

So while you may see Tweets and the occasional Facebook post when we feel something needs to be shared, this blog is going to be quiet. While we will be taking orders for prints and greeting cards, they may be slower to ship than usual. We probably* will not be taking ketubah orders for the next few weeks. 

If you are observant of these holidays, we hope that you have a joyous and meaningful holiday season and a good & sweet new year.

.תחיו ותזכו ותעריכו ימים. חג שמח, ושנה טובה ומטוקה

 

 

 

 

*Obviously emergency ketubah situations do happen and we will make our best effort (with applicable rush charges) to meet your needs in that case.

New Judaica Product: Steampunk Pomegranates

Looking for something that seamlessly blends classic Judaic imagery with outstanding steampunk art? Perhaps something seasonally appropriate? Look no further than this print!

Normally we wouldn't be releasing a product this early in the month, but next Wednesday is the day before Rosh HaShana. At that point, we will be taking our usual 4 week break for the fall Jewish holidays.

J-201702E-SPPomegrantes.png
J-201702-SPPomegranates.png

how it came to Be:

For some reason, Ariela seems to like doing religious steampunk art, even she is not sure why. Maybe it's the result of working for an art nouveau ketubah artist for several years. 

While staring at a wall hanging of some rather poorly embroidered pomegranates in synagogue, it occurred to her to depict a pomegranate full of gears instead of seeds. All it needed was a textual tie-in, because we are a calligraphy outfit, and we don't generally put out art without text.*

Ariela thought of one of her favorite pieces in the Yom Kippur liturgy, a piyyut** known by its first line, Ki Hinei KaChomer. This poem refers to God in a variety of creative and skilled roles, rhyming virtues of God with the destructive aspect of each role. Below is the full English*** and Hebrew text of that poem:

Like clay in the potter’s hands –
Expanded or contracted at will –
So are we in Your hand, Guardian of loving-kindness;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like a stone in the stonecutter’s hands –
Held fast or smashed at will –
So are we in Your hand, Source of life and death;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like an axe-head in the blacksmith’s hands –
Held to the flame or distanced from it at will –
So are we in Your hand, Supporter of the poor and destitute;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like the helm in the sea captain’s hands –
Held fast or released at will –
So are we in Your hand, beneficent and forgiving God
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like glass in the glassblower’s hands –
Shaped or dissolved at will –
So are we in Your hand, Forgiver of willful and inadvertent sins;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like cloth in the weaver’s hands –
Straightened or twisted at will –
So are we in Your hand, jealous and avenging God;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like silver in the silversmith’s hands –
Adulterated or purified at will –
So are we in Your hand, Provider of healing to the sick;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּחֹמֶר בְּיַד הַיּוֹצֵר
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ מַרְחִיב וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְקַצֵּר
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ חֶסֶד נוֹצֵר
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כָּאֶבֶן בְּיַד הַמְסַתֵּת
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ אוֹחֵז וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְכַתֵּת
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ מְחַיֶּה וּמְמוֹתֵת
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּגַּרְזֶן בְּיַד הֶחָרָשׁ
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ דִּבֵּק לָאוּר וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ פֵּרַשׁ
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ תּוֹמֵךְ עָנִי וָרָשׁ
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּהֶגֶה בְּיַד הַמַּלָּח
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ אוֹחֵז וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ שִׁלַּח
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ אֵל טוֹב וְסַלָּח
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כִּזְכוּכִית בְּיַד הַמְזַגֵּג
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ חוֹגֵג וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְמוֹגֵג
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ מַעֲבִיר זָדוֹן וְשֶׁגֶג
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּיְרִיעָה בְּיַד הַרוֹקֵם
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ מְיַשֵּׁר וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְעַקֵּם
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ אֵל קַנֹּא וְנוֹקֵם
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כּי הִנֵּה כַּכֶּֽסֶף בְּיַד הַצּוֹרֵף
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ מְסַגְסֵג וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְצָרֵף
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְּיָדְךָ מַמְצִיא לְמָזוֹר תֶּֽרֶף
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

 

For obvious reasons, this poem has always resonated with Ariela as an artist. The stanza of the poem that she felt fit this image best is the third one, which references a blacksmith shaping an iron axe-head. Steampunk, after all, is full of iron. So the Hebrew version of this print has the lines "כִּי הִנֵּה כַּגַּרְזֶן בְּיַד הֶחָרָשׁ / בִּרְצוֹתוֹ דִּבֵּק לָאוּר וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ פֵּרַשׁ / כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ" and the English version has "Like iron in the hand of the metalworker, / Who welds or separates at will; / So, are we in your hands, O Lord." The English has been modified somewhat from the standard translations to be more appropriate for the setting.

The Hebrew font was picked by surveys on Twitter and Facebook, with a confirmation that the choice was a good when when Ariela saw it in some older printed books. The English is a nice older typeface. Both texts are intentionally aged and distressed. 

Steampunk Pomegranates in both English and Hebrew are available in an 8"x10" matted print, for $30.

 

 

*Sometimes the art is only text, but hey, calligraphy outfit

**Medieval liturgical poem

***Translation comes courtesy of the Koren Yom Kippur Machzor

Off For Passover!

by Terri

Tonight begins the Jewish holiday of Passover, or פסח in Hebrew. As this post goes live, I am in a car on my way to my mother's home in New Jersey for the seders. Ariela is in Boston with her parents. While we will be accepting orders, shipment will be delayed until after the holiday is over on April 18. There will be no blog post next Monday. 

Normal business (including our April product release) will resume on April 19. For those celebrating, we wish you a חג כשר ושמח.* Everyone else, enjoy your bread. We'll see you on the other side.

Chibi Terri cooks for Passover. (Chibis are really not proportioned to stand at stoves.)

Chibi Terri cooks for Passover. (Chibis are really not proportioned to stand at stoves.)

*Khag Ka-sher Vi-Sa-me-akh - A happy and kosher/correct holiday

 

Be Back on Wednesday...

by Terri

Image shows 5 Mardis Gras** masks over many strings of beads.

Image shows 5 Mardis Gras** masks over many strings of beads.

Ariela is making her way back from London and I have just thrown my very first Purim seudah.* Thus, a short blog post accompanied by festive graphics and a slightly hung over Artist Wrangler. We will be back on Wednesday for March's Product Release!

Somebody get me two aka-seltzer and an economy size bottle of Advil....

 

 

 

 

*The festive meal that we are commanded to have on the holiday of Purim. Traditionally one invites friends to partake in copious amounts of food and alcohol. There were certainly both in abundance at my table.

**While Purim isn't precisely analogous to Mardis Gras, the mask is a recognizable symbol of the holiday, and Mardis Gras has a similar amount of festivity.

Turkeys Ate Our Brainz!

Image is of a zombie turkey, courtesy of  biomek on DeviantArt.

Image is of a zombie turkey, courtesy of biomek on DeviantArt.

By Terri

Both Ariela and I are exhausted from Thanksgiving eating and traveling. We hope you enjoyed your time spent with friends and/or family, and that you were not called upon for too much emotional labor.

 

A regular blog post will go up on Wednesday. After that, back to our usual schedule!

December Shipping Notes

By Terri

Image shows a chibi Ariela under a pile of boxes and cardboard tubes saying "a little help, please..."

Image shows a chibi Ariela under a pile of boxes and cardboard tubes saying "a little help, please..."

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, which means that the $_WINTERHOLIDAY shopping season will soon begin in earnest.* As such, we wish to make you aware of the purchasing deadlines we will be using to make sure that you (or the recipients) receive your purchases in time for a timely gifting. Unfortunately, we do not possess a time machine, so we are unable to ensure Diwali gifts arrive on time. If someone could hook us up with with the TARDIS Express folks, we'll get right on that.

As per our FAQ, we generally ship USPS First Class. That requires the item be mailed by December 20th to guarantee delivery. In order to give Ariela adequate processing time, we will require the orders to be placed by December 14th to make sure that there is enough time to get things printed, matted and shipped to you.

 

 

 

*Seasonal creep is not a thing here at Geek Calligraphy. Even I, a longtime fan of holiday music, will not begin to listen to it until the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Bonus New Product: משנכנס מרחשון

By Terri

Do you need something on your office wall declaring just how happy you are that Tishrei is over? Get one of these before we run out!

Note that this is a special bonus product for November. We will still be releasing a product on the usual third Wednesday of the month (oddly enough, this Wednesday).

How It Came To Be:

Neither Ariela nor I are huge fans of Tishrei. The sheer number of holidays are exhausting. Ariela tends to be an very visible participant in her ritual community and I tend to live the stereotype of the Jewish mother who cooks way too much food and invites the whole world over.*

Needless to say, we were both pretty relieved to welcome in the next month, called Marcheshvan.** Ariela threw together this quick doodle to put up on our various forms of social media:

Image shows the words "Mishenichnas Marcheshvan Marbin B'Simcha" in green and blue.

Image shows the words "Mishenichnas Marcheshvan Marbin B'Simcha" in green and blue.

It's a riff on the traditional line about the month of Adar, (which has the holiday of Purim in it), where we say that when Adar begins, happiness increases. 

When we put this up, people started asking when it was going to be available for purchase. Clearly we had a niche product on our hands.*** So Ariela redid the art**** and printed out a limited number. The reason for the limited number of prints is that each one will be hand gilded. It's also why they're more expensive for the size. The original is also for sale here.*****

The irony of releasing a product touting the joy of this month is quite painful at the moment. Ariela considered not releasing it after all. Ultimately, we decided to go ahead with it because we want to believe that fear, bigotry, hatred, and violence will not be able to deprive us of all that is good in our lives. When we are no longer able to take pleasure in the things we still have, that is when we are truly defeated. We may give in to despair at times, but we do not want to give up entirely.

So we are sending this art out into the world in hopes that it will bring smiles to people's faces at times when they need it, and in faith that next year, we will once again be able to enjoy the respite we gain when Cheshvan 5778 comes along.

Mishenichnas Marcheshvan measures 8" x 10" (includes a silver mat) and is available for $50.

 

 

 

*My main ritual community doesn't welcome a whole lot of women's participation. It's a sore spot.

**Pronounced mahr-khesh-vahn

***Rather similar to "Rabbis <3 Cheshvan" shirts

****The initial plan was to re-scan the doodle at a better resolution. Unfortunately, this made it look even more like a doodle, and it was faster to do a new original.

*****Unless it's already been bought. Then you're out of luck.

Schedule Note

Image shows a grumpy chibi version of Terri tapping her foot, and staring at calendar largely blocked out by holidays. She is saying "Sensible design, my left foot."

Image shows a grumpy chibi version of Terri tapping her foot, and staring at calendar largely blocked out by holidays. She is saying "Sensible design, my left foot."

By Terri

Your friendly neighborhood artist/calligrapher and her wrangler will be taking the entire month of October off. That solar month is overly stuffed with the fall Jewish holidays. As both of us are observant of the restrictions that these holidays bring with them, that makes it difficult to keep to our usual blogging and product release schedule, let alone any commissions that might come in.

So while you may see Tweets and the occasional Facebook post when we feel something needs to be shared, this blog is going to be quiet. While we will be taking orders for prints and greeting cards, they may be slower to ship than usual. We probably* will not be taking ketubah orders for the entire month. There will be no new products released in October. We hope you find the month enjoyable.

See y'all in November!

 

*Obviously emergency ketubah situations do arise and we will make our best effort (with applicable rush charges) to meet your needs in that case.