I recently made this bespoke papercut ketubah design for a lovely couple in Texas. They got married in a california vineyard and wanted something that felt Jewish but not too traditional. This design came out very serene and elegant and I loved making it for them. It is large, at almost 24″ in height and quite intricate (all those little leaves in the oak tree!) but comes across as airy and effortless.
You can see how the paper floats in this photo. I don’t glue the paper completely down (which would be the easy thing to do) I selectively attach edges in places that will hold everything together securely while allowing the center to float freely.
The fruit of the gefen vine is central to Jewish ceremonies. I had incorporated grapes in other designs in the past, but this was the first time I made them into a central motif.
Although the design seems almost monochromatic, it isn’t. There are several layers of color that work harmoniously together to provide cues to depth.
It is very traditional to include this phrase from the Song of Songs in a ketubah. Here it is front and center. Its meaning is beautiful.
This detail shows how tricky the oak leaves are to cut out. They clearly read as oak leaves even though they’re in a solid mass of paper. The tree is so solid because it acts as a central anchor for the entire design. Everything radiates out from the tree. This solidity and stability are also central to the tree as a motif in a ketubah. Solid, stable, and always growing just as the marriage will over time.
Look out for a simplified version of this ketubah to be offered for sale in my shop soon!