We discovered some of the hidden talents of our members at a special Paid-up Membership Brunch on Sunday morning, Nov. 11, at a private home in Morris Plains.
Called “The Creation Story . . . from a Different Angle,” the program featured a number of our highly creative members talking about the inspiration for their work and how they go about carrying that out. The event was free of charge to all paid-up members. Annual members were able to pay their dues the morning of Nov. 11, and new members could pay then as well.
Among those who shared their creativity were jewelry makers Sharon Feigin and Rhonda Goldberger; quilter Donna Gross; and writer Diana Drew Grayson.
Sharon Feigin began her foray into the arts by coordinating art shows for NCJW. She then went onto dabble in sculpture, but she found it difficult to do at home with small children. So she eventually decided to try making jewelry and that worked well for her.
“I am a jeweler who constructs earrings, bracelets and necklaces from silver, brass and copper elements. Included in my pieces are amethysts, topaz, pearls, citrine and other semiprecious colored stones,” says Sharon. “My designs are inspired by forms taken from nature—leaves, flowers and botanical shapes. Each piece is an individual and unique form of wearable sculpture.”
Rhonda Goldberger, whose trade name is RonniDee Designs, is a jewelry artist specializing in stylish metal and beaded jewelry. She says of her distinctive and original work, “My pieces are made using a combination of metal (silver, copper and brass), semiprecious stones, agate, pearls and more. I especially enjoy working with cabochons and stunning natural stones. My jewelry has an inspiring beauty that accentuates personal style.”
For many years, Rhonda had been captivated by handcrafted jewelry. After taking first a knotting class and then a beading class, she was inspired to design and make her own jewelry. “All my friends encouraged me to begin selling the jewelry that I designed,” she notes. “The response has been wonderful from friends who have purchased pieces as gifts and for themselves. And jewelry artists I’ve befriended through the years have encouraged me along the way as well.”
Donna Gross began quilting about 20 years ago, especially focusing on art quilts as an avenue for artistic expression. An award-winning quilter, she helped design and craft our gorgeous quilted chuppah. “I designed the squares for the underside—the canopy the couple would see when they were under the chuppah—by tying in different Jewish themes, making each design look like a stained-glass panel,” Donna recalls. “I put together kits for our members to appliqué. The chuppah is now a one-of-a-kind heirloom to be used at many joyous occasions.”
Diana Drew Grayson, the author of Jewish Threads: A Hands-on Guide to Stitching Spiritual Intention into Jewish Fabric Crafts, is a writer and editor. Interestingly, Diana’s book was inspired, in part, by the quilted chuppah Donna Gross designed. “I kept thinking that there must be other people around the country and in Israel who were creating beautiful pieces of Jewish-inspired artwork, and a still, small voice kept urging me to gather their stories and write about them,” Diana notes.