About the Artist Stephanie Caplan
I've always had a passion for art and design and try to live by the words of William Morris, “have nothing in your house which you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful...”
People always ask me how I started making ketubot. In the summer of 1994 a great friend of mine was getting married. I had been doing decorative furniture painting, she was having trouble finding a ketubah that she liked and I offered to do one for her as a wedding gift. I spent the summer teaching myself hebrew calligraphy, creating my own lettering along the way and painted her a simple landscape as a border.
From there I decided that this could be something really fulfilling, a way to blend my artistry and love of jewish ritual, as well as seeing that there was a need for a truly modern ketubah for everyone. part of the reason she couldn't find a ketubah she wanted to use or someone to work with was that it was an interfaith marriage, and at the time there were very few people who would make an interfaith ketubah. I've now been making ketubot for over 15 years, focusing on creating modern ketubot that are both art and ritual object, something for everyone to enjoy, and i'm so lucky that i found something that i love to do and seem to be good at.
I grew up in Montreal and Newton, Massachusetts, going to Solomon Schechter day schools in each place, I went to Camp Ramah, spent a year in Jerusalem and studied comparative religion and art history at Barnard College, so it's not so surprising that the judaism and art came together... later I lived in London, studied weaving, textiles and calligraphy. the lettering arts has become my main focus in the craft of making a ketubah and as one of the last calligraphers working by hand i think the letters themselves are very important.
My favorite artists tend to use just a few elements to create something that seems simple and quiet and through that we see their talent: sculptors like Goldsworthy, Kapoor, Noguchi, Brancusi, some painters, like Morandi, Rothko, Richter, have the quiet and others that i love like Joan Mitchell and Cy Twombly, Rauschenberg and Frankenthaler have the color and energy, than lettering artists like brody neuenschwander, and photographers like Eggleston and Cartier-Bresson. I‘m inspired by Japanese textiles and Eames chairs, trees and the ocean, and always the architecture of New York.
I live and work in the east village of new york city. I love that I live and work in the same neighborhood where the yiddish culture thrived 100 years ago, and in a small way I‘m bringing it back... living in New York I get to go to all museums and galleries and draw on the modern style and creativity all around.
Making judaica allows me to bring a modern aesthetic to traditional objects, enhancing their use and connection to people, enabling transformation through art, working with couples at a fantastic time in their lives to create something that will become their most treasured object, What could be better?