Shalom Life | March 06, 2015

Jewish Students Make Embroidered Megillat Esther

As part of the school’s annual design and engineering cooperation, four students made a creative, machine-embroidered scroll in time for Purim

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: March 5th, 2015 in News » World

Jewish Students Make Embroidered Megillat Esther

Photo: Shay Lesher, Tal Baba and Lipaz Shechter

Credit:ROOM404.NET/Jerusalem Post


An experiment in art, culture, and design, four students have caught the world’s attention with their machine-embroidered Megillat Esther, and just in time for Purim! Upon attending a workshop called “Remake- conveying data and messages clandestinely and openly between material and texture,” and as part of Shenkar’s annual “Concoction Festival,” a design and engineering faculties cooperation, the four have made something truly remarkable.

Tal Bab and Shay Lester of the Visual Communications program, and Lipaz Shechter and Avinoam Maman of Industrial Engineering are the minds behind the seven meter long, and one meter wide, knit Megillat Esther. They wanted to explore the idea of preservation, and the toll transferring media has from one form to another.

“In this work we were asked to talk about a transference of images, how they are made one way and what happens to them when they’re embroidered. To talk about what it lost of the information and what is preserved,” explained Shechter in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

Their process began by taking photos of the Megillat Esther and having them transcribed onto a parchment by a Sofer ST”M. The parchment was then digitized, and turned into a file that the embroidery machine could read. However the process, because of the machine’ resolution, resulted in the server pixelation of the words.

“As part of our concept, we chose letter that would be recognizable, when you stand at a distance of 1-2 meters you can tell it’s ancient Hebrew letters, but as you get closer, there’s an effect of information loss,” Lesher explained.

“When you look from a distance, you might mistake it for a Megilla or ritual objects, but when you get closer you see it’s just a piece of fabric with dots embroidered on it. There’s nothing sacred, no religious article, just knitted strings. We liked the fact that it’s recognizable but unreadable, so when the viewers get closer, they don’t get an answer, but more question marks.”

“You can call it a process of secularization,” said Shechter, who believes there’s a deeper meaning to the garbled script of the embroidered Megillat Esther. “I can attest, about myself and people close to me, that each year we lose a different item of Judaism, it blurs, we know it exists, just like the Megilla, you can see it but not give it consideration, you prefer not to.”


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