I wasn't really sure what a tallit was - that is, until I got a commission to make one! I learned that a tallit is a ritual prayer shawl worn at the celebration of a Jewish girl's bat mitzvah or boy's bar mitzvah. You can read more about the tallit here. In this case the tallit I'm making is for a bat mitzvah. Basically, it will be a silk scarf to which I'll add separate pieces for the atarah (a neck band) and four corner squares through which the tzitzit (cords tied and knotted in a ritually significant way) will be threaded. My client Michele came across one of my previous blog posts where I showed the steps in the creation of my scarf Carnival. Ironically, beacuse of the riot of bright colors, the original scarf was named for Carnival in my home country of Trinidad: an anything-but-religious celebration!
What Michele really liked though, was the first step in the painting of Carnival, (shown below) without the second layer and black background. Her daughter, who will be wearing the tallit, liked the color scheme of pink, magenta and orange, with green accents.
So here's the new scarf - very similar yet different. We agreed on fewer but larger motifs. In both this scarf and Carnival the design was all made up and drawn freehand with resist as I went along, so I couldn't make an exact copy even if I tried! This is shimmery silk charmeuse, medium weight and very drapey - perfect for a tallit.
Next I have to paint and sew on the atarah and corners. They'll be the reverse design of the scarf, i.e. white motifs on a colored background.