Paige and Michael
Date 11 Elul 5771
With regard to the variety of commissions that the artist receives, this has been an extremely unusual and different year for him. Just as his nephew had prophetically warned, he would have to leave his comfort zone.
Norman's final commission for this year was not different because of his designs, but rather the text ... as is most visible in the pictures. The dynamic couple who commissioned the artist for this ketuba you are looking at wanted something that is definitely not something one sees in almost all ketubot. Aside from wanting a very intricate ketuba based on the traditional Levantine designs, they told Norman that they wanted room for all 160 of their guests to sign as witnesses.
The result is on your screen.
Michael Brams and Paige Linden have done everything as it should be done in the style of North America. They had even set up a website for their wedding and, hoping that the young newly married couple will not mind, we are including the link to their website here.
The couple wanted a lot of traditional symbols in their ketuba and decorative calligraphy with extracts from the Psalms and Songs of Solomon. And, the traditional ketubot designs from the Levantine countries have a lot of shadow boxes so the elements that Paige and Bram wanted really adapted themselves to the artist's design.
The bride was very specific as to what she wanted ... Paige would talk of circles with dots and doves and olive branches.
For the crown, the artist ingeniously incorporated the Lions of Judah, a Jewish star, and the twelve tribes of Israel.
A harmonious blending of geometrical designs and the landscape of Jerusalem in blues and greens sets off the central panel for the text.
All those dots within the borders that appear white to your eye, are actually painted in gold.
Aside from specifically wanting geometric designs in solid colors, the couple particularly liked Norman's painterly style of the watercolor effect and the floral patterns were perfectly adaptable for this.
And finally, and the biggest design problem for the artist, was how to make spaces for all 160 guests at the wedding to sign. Very visible are light pencil lines and Norman wrote extensive instructions to the couple as to what kind of pen to use, what kind of eraser to use, and even instructed the couple that people with shorter names should sign in the central areas of the ketuba ... all of this because Michael did not want the witnesses to sign randomly but rather in an orderly fashion down the ketuba. The artist is hoping that he will receive a picture of the signed ketuba after the wedding and it too will eventually appear here on his website.