The Scribal Arts: a Resource Guide

by TODD OPPENHEIMER

While the world of Hebrew calligraphy might be small, comparatively speaking, a remarkable range of treatments of this old art form has developed in recent years. Some are ultra traditional, now available to a wider audience thanks to the Internet; others are more artistic and expressionistic. One will even translate this holy script into tattoos.

But first, you might be interested in a fascinating article entitled “The Death of the Urdu Script.” It’s an investigation into how, and why, a traditional language spoken in India and Pakistan got ruined when it was digitized; and the likely consequences.

Now, back to the art of Jewish scribes:

  • Rabbi Dov Laimon, the Jerusalem-based scribe featured in our article, “The Power of the Scribe,” maintains a rich website where he offers classes, a Blog, and various kinds of decorative scribal works for sale. His work ranges from $75 for a photo of a few letters writ large to $2,500 for an extensive Megilat Esther.
  • For an overview of the decorative possibilities of Hebrew scribal work, see Izzy Pludwinski’s Hebrew Calligraphy Gallery
  • If you’re curious about the whole landscape of Jewish scribal traditions (called sofer STaM) Mordechai Pinchas maintains this fun and complete information center
  • If you’d like to see how an artist uses Hebrew calligraphy as a vehicle for expressionism, check out the gorgeous video on Michel d’Anastasio’s website.
  • Jen Taylor Friedman was one of the first women to dare to enter the Jewish scribal arts, and gained notoriety for creating “Tefillin Barbie.” Based in Montreal, Friedman teaches aspiring scribes all over the world.
  • Hanna Klebansky, a more traditional scribe based in Israel, maintains an Etsy site where she sells her work.
  • Last, what would any art form be without a version living in tattoo world? Herewith, a guide to Hebrew Tatoos offered by a Hebrew linguist, a calligrapher, an a bible scholar.ON “CALLIGRAFFITI”
  • An interview with Shoe by Flavia Di Consiglio, of the BBC News, where he draws some fascinating connections between calligraffiti artists and the Celtic monks and scribes who practiced calligraphy in medieval Ireland.
  • Check out Shoe’s Calligraffiti Ambassadors. A new association, founded in 2015, of 25 Calligraffiti artists from around the world.
  • Read about the only female Calligraffiti artist, Khadiga Tarek, known as Khadiga El-Ghawas here.
  • More about Khadiga El-Ghawas can be found here, on Widewalls.

© 2017 Todd Oppenheimer, all rights reserved. Under exclusive license to Craftsmanship, LLC. Unauthorized copying or republication of this article is prohibited by law.

Published: April 19, 2017