01 August 2007

'NUMBERS' - The finale.

"NUMBERS": The finale.

At least the finale of panel 1.

So we left off at Sam and Esther's images on the locks.
In between Esther and Sam’s locks you will find this piece.

Remember the sneak peak of this texture I did on canvas here, well it was for this photo and the one to follow.
The family was not really sure who is on the left but Sam is pictured in his communist days.

The photo besides this one is of Sam and Bereg’s (remember from the last row) brother whose name was Ishek.

They were great pals. This is the photo where I initially introduced you to Sam and is the photo that I manipulated for his lock piece.

I had this old leather red belt piece so being red in part I thought it suited the communist days photo and hence attached it to the canvas and then attached the brass nameplate on top of the belt.

You can also see the chain I spoke of linking Sam and Esthers locks together - it runs below this piece.
Oh yes another one of those twighlight zone moments occurred here.
When gathering the papers together to layer behind this photo, I discovered the word “LIVE” staring at me.
No other words were present.
Ah Sam was here again!
I added some mica on top of the word LIVE just so it would stand out a bit.
Both of them lived to tell the tale – how amazing that this word popped up here and not, elsewhere.

Here is what that row looks like...

The final row:

The photo above is of a group of orphans. Yes they were teenagers going through the war and this photo was taken after the war and after they were healthy, well at least mostly physically healthy. A lot of Survivors carried their health problems incurred during the war with them all through their life.

Leo Srole, who directed the relief activities of UNRRA at Landsberg, one of the largest DP camps in the American zone, described the refugees in these words: “The Jewish refugees have an almost obsessive desire to live normal lives again.”

The survivors were trying to make up all at once for lost time and lost life. More than anything else, they yearned for human relationships. At first this was came about in heartrending searches for blood relations. There was a desperate search for familiar faces.
Endeared to the survivors was anyone who had had any connection with his former life.
Understandably so, people from the same town grouped together, and the group became a substitute for the lost family.

One of the forms of the yearning for intimacy was the establishment of the “Aliyah Kibbutzim” – Aliyah means the “to rise up” and Kibbutzim means a place like communal living. Refugees like Sam who had been members of youth movements became active again and organized young people into Aliyah collectives, groups which lived together in a commune while engaging in extensive educational activities designed to prepare them for life in Israel.

The Hebrew script wriiten on top of the name- plate was a small portion of what was written on the back of the photo - it says what the group was called. I always try to incporporate what is written on the backs of photo's into my pieces.

Sam was such a leader and this is a photo of the group he was preparing to go to Israel.
At the time Israel was under British mandate and not many of the refugees were allowed entry there. They were taught Hebrew etc and learnt to fight, hence the bullet.

Most of the survivors in these collectives were between the ages of 20 and 40, and there was an outburst of the passion for life and the belief in the future. They were ready for renewed emotional involvement and family responsibility. The child became the symbol of a longed-for normalcy, of the renewal of the chain that had been severed with the annihilation of an entire generation of Jewish children. It was as if a child was the personal contribution of each survivor to the continued existence of the Jewish people.

That’s when Sam and Esther met; remember at one of those meetings.

I decided, that since this photo was very small, to increase it in size and then to highlight where Sam was in the group.

He is pictured in the middle at the front – just the right position for their leader. I had originally bought the lion element to use for something for my son for his name means lion of G-d. But I felt it served a good purpose here.

Encircling Sam’s face with the lion on top.

He was the king of this jungle, this domain was his.

He was the strength for these young people.

He offered them direction and hope for a new life.

He offered these numbers and numbers of young people a new destiny.
He offered them hope.

The photo on this lock is when Sam was pictured during his communist days.

Remember I told you about the red book I pulled out.
Well here’s another one of those, Sam’s directing this, moments.

Immediately after I had put all those papers together as you saw in part 1, I then went on to complete this element.
But ...
There was a hole in the lock where a door handle would normally go.
I was thinking for some time, what tiny image or word I was going to put there?
I thought of ‘Never forget” or Never again.
Then I thought that was sending the message to those who already knew the message.
It seemed trite here.

I knew I wanted to use a glass marble to highlight the word so it would magnify.
It needed to be a poignant word.

I agonized for about an hour and gave up.
I couldn’t think.

My mind was swirling.

I was full of emotion from finding the last text.

I was soooooo frustrated.
I gave up!

Then, I accidentally dropped the marble.

It rolled over my messy desk and landed on part of the ripped up text that I was not going to resin.
It rolled for some time and did a spin as would a coin if you spun it around.

It landed on a word.

I decided to go to the other side of my desk and pick it up and try again.
Wonders of wonders!!!


It landed on the word ‘comrade”.

Oh my G-d.

I was in shock yet again.

There was no more a perfect word to land on!

I rang Robert immediately.

"Hi, it’s me", I said.
"Hi Comrade", he said.

Yep, that’s what we call one another sometimes.
Now, I am no communist but let’s just say that before I was doing this full time I was actively involved in the political scene. For fun we call each other comrade and it is what all Sam’s political mates called him up until his death.

So here he was again, Sam working his little magic.
I just loved it!
Amazing huh!

The rusted 6 stand s for 6 million Jews killed.

And here, at the very end is a

Whilst Ingrid was about to photograph the piece I noticed that some (bl--dy) liquid nails had appeared on the photo.
I rushed down to my studio and got some rusting agent and fixed the photo to match the lock – phew!
Here am me fixing it while Ingrid was trying to photograph around me. I did not even realise she took these whilst I was layering the rust on. But I kind of like the photo of me working on it.
Here is panel 1 PART B in its entirety.

The choice of background fabric was made with Robert.
I needed to make sure he was ok with the colours for his place.

Why did I choose this one?
Because of the leaves, it’s all leaves one on top of the other.
It reminded me of the forest, a theme that has run throughout this story and the general story of those victims who fled and hid in the forests for years and years.

It has layers of paint washes and ink to age it together with my trusty heat gun. I love it cos if you manage to get an upholstery fabric like this and set the heat gun to it burns very slowly – great for ageing.
That was one of those ooh this is interesting, effects that you did not mean to happen on another piece but liked the effect so you use it now as a standard treatment.
Don’t you love those moments?
I do.
Here it is folks,
the entire panel 1,
held together by antique brass chains.

There a couple of things I need to say
about this piece.

Firstly, it is so heart-warming for me to have had the response from all of you who commented and emailed me directly.
To think that for some I had such a powerful effect on the way they look at things whether it is life or their art really astounds me.
It humbles me.
It amazes me.
I thank you all for being so caring.
Caring enough to take the time to comment.
Caring enough to email me, directly, as some of you did cos you could not find the words to comment at the time.
I know how you feel.
I am not sure what I would say sometimes either.
Just know, that every comment has meant more to me and the Fiszman family than you will ever, ever know.
To those who linked this piece on your blogs, again my humblest thanks to you too. Such acts of generosity do not go unnoticed. Thanks.

I would like to thank Jo and Jacky from Artistic Journey who took my phone calls and express posted me items I needed to complete this piece.
And where would I be without Tim Holtz and the proucts he produces Ranger.
I doubt I could age my pieces with such success, if it were not for the vast array of products that make the process of ageing so accessible. I have been using his line of products for a long time now - what a genius, he is.
I have got to one of his workshops soon.

A lot of you have asked some interesting questions in the comments section here. The information about which I write which alludes to symbology, colours, use of metals and textiles etc is in my head. The history of the events of the Holocaust is something I have been educated about most of my life. Specific facts related to this piece were researched when necessary but only briefly and really only for accuracy.

No, as yet I do not teach.

I really appreciate all the comments related to “Numbers” and other stories being made into a book. Well you never know, one day maybe, it’s a nice thought.
To date I have not shown pieces in galleries, interesting thought but remember these are commissioned pieces. I rarely have time at the moment to do my own pieces. It’s very frustrating sometimes.
Also, this is one of a few pieces that I am allowed to show. Most of the art I have done is for clients who wish to remain anonymous.

Some of you have mentioned that they thought my art has come a long way in such a short period. Well thanks. For the reasons stated above, some of my art you have not seen.
But yes, it has turned in a different direction.
When Michael was here I was so frustrated that I was not doing the art that I wanted. With his instigation I took "the bull by the horns" and we did our collaborative piece. Those people who saw that piece allowed me to do their work in that style. The style I am comfortable with.

This leads me to the following.

Had I not taken Michael’s class in Italy – which by the way I wondered why I was doing it at the time, I would never have learnt all the painting techniques and not known how to attach rusty elements together and the like.
Had I not taken Nina’s workshop in Perth at Artistic Journey (thanks heavens for Jo and Jacky’s foresight in bringing her here), I would never have been able to use so many of the techniques which I used here. Thank you master, your grasshopper is still eternally grateful. See you at Artfest, then Melbourne, then Perth.
I am not obsessed with Nina's work at all, am I!

Michael and Nina have had a huge influence on my work.

I cannot speak highly enough of them as people, friends and teachers. Most of you know that already.

I have not gone to many workshops in my time, but, when I do, I choose them by what I think I may learn from them, not the product I may walk away with in the end – its all about the techniques - that I may or may not use.

These two people are amazing teachers, not only in art but they have taught me to open my eyes and look at things, mundane things even, differently. I could ramble on about them for some time but all I can say is that from the depths of my heart and especially my soul I thanks them for all that they have given me, taught me and awoken in me –is that not what a true teacher is all about?

So friends that is it for panel 1.

I am now working on 2 and whilst the subjects are not as heavy it is none-the-less interesting for Sam and Esther were a colourful couple. So when that piece is sone I will show you. Till then I will be working hard and will post things as I do regularly.

Thanks to you all and may such a tragedy never occur ever again, to any people in any land...
Never Again
Never Forget.


nina said...

goodness, judy. goodness. what to say after this, but wow. you are amazing, my love, and i'm just blown away by what your hands and your heart have created. well, you and sam, that is.
you needn't thank me, really; i am only a stepping stone to the greater field that lies beyond. i love you, am thankful - so very thankful - that our paths have intersected (thank you, jacky and jo, and michael!!!!!!!!!!!). i only wish we didn't live so many miles apart...
sending you much love and encouragement and praise and support....grasshopper....xoxo

Leslie said...

As usual, I don't know what to say. Stunning work. Breathlessly awaiting more.

Rochambeau said...

Panel One looks amazing Judy. You know what is especially cool? It's is the symbolic thing that are happening. As if your are a vessel and you are being led to the next stage of what to do. I think there are a lot of symbolic things happening in our lives every day, but we haven't trained our eyes to see them. I'm off to visit our sweet Karen, and I'd like to thank you for your visit and your comment.

Christine said...

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your journey with this fabulous art piece. The story is amazing and the piece genuinely reflects all of that. Thank you so much for sharing the stories of the art as well as your artistic process. I'm glued to my monitor to see what come next.

Jen Crossley said...

Oh Judy,
what an amazing piece of art work ,you are a true artistan and story teller.I admire you.

kelsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kelsey said...

It's so wonderful to see this piece finally completed and pictured as a whole. The little snippets we've had along the way are like little teasers with a promise of a fantastic big finale! You did not disappoint Judy and it doesn't take a genius to see how much of your own soul is ingrained in it. Thought-provoking and beautiful ;-)

Karen Cole said...

Judy, Judy, Judy......

After reading this post and again looking at the amazing DETAIL that you put into your work, I decided to take a little trip back to your first post.....not so very long ago, really. I remember distinctly, getting your email about your new blog. I am trying to think of the best metaphor to describe the huge growth that has come to grace your blog world (and everyone elses). in such a short time. Can't......but it's simply amazing.

Kristen Robinson said...

Darling friend once again my heart is humbled a bit every moment that seems frustraitng in a day becomes softened when I read your words and see your artwork. The panel is amazing, encompassing so much while remaining such a tribute to those who walked a path of darkness. You are incredible, your heart and soul is so visible in this Judy. Amazing!!!!!

tim holtz said...

Well Judy although we have never met, I can only hope that we will some day. Your work is inspiring and to see the use of my products taken to the next level is truly unimaginable. Thanks for following your creative journey and sharing it with all of us - it's what makes it all worthwhile. I am taking my first workshop from Michael next Wednesday which is something I've looked forward to for so long. No doubt it will be life changing for me as well. Until we meet... tim holtz

Sharon Manning said...

This looks awesome Judy and thank you for sharing it with us all. Keep up the fantastic work lovey!

Ro Bruhn said...

Absolutely bl--dy fabulous Judy. I'm so glad I'm working in your book at present. I can read your blog then go and see the real thing in another form. Your use of texture and layers is fantastic.
Congratulations on the zine, I must go and have a look.
Can't wait to see the next panel.

Lissy said...

Fabulous Judy - simply fabulous :)

bronwyn said...

Wow! Any words I could come up to describe what I think of this would be trite. You can almost sense the energy of this art record from the pictures. what I would give to see it in real life!

And congrats on the article, well done!!!!! Am about to go visit the site.

María Paula Dufour said...

I am surprised! I love your technique. Very sensitive. Congratulations!

Julie H said...

I saw your new post late last night and resisted peaking as I did not have time to visit. How glad I am that I can stop by now after taking in all that I can of what this piece is: a story, a prayer, a song ... hearts.

Anonymous said...

Judy, again I do not know what to say. You have created such an incredible journey for all of us and I thank you for that. This is such an amazing piece, it is over the top with your incredible artistry and story telling.

Deb L said...

This is all just beyond words... I see you as a guide for all of us still striving to learn - and a conduit for those we will always remember. Thank yo for sharing this part of your soul with us. xox Deb

Susan Tuttle said...

Hi Judy,
Following your artistic process for this work has been an incredible experience--the amount of heart and soul you have put into this project is beyond words!!

I love how you have photographed your work--the lighting is kind of chiaroscurro-like. How do you do it?


craftyhala said...

I thinks its wonderful what you've done. I hope to learn techniques like you've learned.
I always look forward to your posts.

deMeng said...

What an amazing artist you are! Ah the blessing and the curse of finding a style that is uniquely one's own. Is there anything more painful...or rewarding than trying to please one's desires?

Once again, you are a marvel, my love,

Cindy Dean said...

Incredible! That is the word that comes to mind when I look at your work. I wish I had just a smidgen of your talent!

Suzan-- said...


Thank you.


OnTheOutsideLookingIn said...

What amazing work. Thank you for sharing your stories and photos. Inspirational as always.

Nicole said...

your work is just amazing, mus try to make assemblages myself one day. ;-) If you liek you can take part in my project- see my blog. ;-)

Oh dear hoep Michals Mum is feeling better now. my mother in law had an heartattack 2 years ago and we were very very worried. She still ahs to take lots of medicaments.

XoXo Nicole

jo capper-sandon said...

I haven't read the other comments as I didnt want to be distracted by others thoughts (will do once I've posted).
That is one inspirational masterpiece. Powerful, emotional, gives a sense of loss, strength, friendship everything, all rolled into one. Superb...in awe.

shirleymcc said...

This work is amazing - as always.
Thank you for sharing it with us and for writing about the path you have taken to create such a powerful tribute.

vivian said...

you are a true blessing to this world girl.. thank you for being so open and real. take care.

Tricia Scott said...

judy, i was holding my breath as i read the part about sam and the marble he guided to the very word! how perfectly lovely and right!
the work you shared touches me more than i have words to express. as my little country mama would say, "you sho are a good somebody!"
and i say this because the light in your heart shines so bright.
a big hug to you judy!

MeganPickwell said...

Judy - how proud you must be. You have created a wonderful artwork and a true tribute to all those that are part of your visual anthology. M xox

Steph said...

Judy ... it is really awsome ... Merveilleux, extraordinaire, émouvant, well even french words can't express the way I feel when I look a it ...

Emmcee .... Marie C said...

My goodness - it's awesome to see the entire work and how it all fits together so perfectly as a visual whole.... fab work Judy and the amazing thing is that you're really only just beginning ... !

Pearl Maple - Mandy Collins said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing spirit and art with us all.

All the details the story and explanations, packed full of inspiration.

Megan said...

Well. What can one say? Judy again you have blown me away with your creations, with your genuine heart and way with words.

How amazing that Sam keeps giving you little signs throughout this process....it must make it all seem even more worthwhile to have his stamp of approval :-)

Megan xx

paris parfait said...

This whole series is such astonishing work on so many levels - artistic, personal, political and spiritual. You are to be congratulated for your vision and your talent!

LINDSAY said...

I think I've said before we'd all be better off if history was taught like this. I imagined my self in grade school trying to stuff this gigantic collage of yours into my backpack. Maybe it isn't too practical, but oh how I would've enjoyed that class! Thanks for sharing your light Judy!

Cre8Tiva said...

my heart stopped and changed as i read this and see your art...to know these people personally now...is to be changed forever...blessings, rebecca

Kristina said...

gorgeous. and so interesting that I stumbled across a link to your blog on Susie La Fond's blog today. Last night I watched the movie "Freedom Writers".. if you haven't seen it, in it the teacher takes her students to visit the holocaust museum in Newport Beach, California. The impact of learning about that part of history is life-changing for the class- mostly gang members and other children who have been given up on. Your artwork does something similar to me.

btw, have you taken a class from Keith Lo Bue yet? He's AMAZING. I took his Precious little class at artfest a few years ago and he really does show you lots of cold connection techniques and many other things that help you to make art with found objects.

Thank you for sharing so much of your work with us in the blogosphere.

Sue McGettigan said...

Judy, as always - amazing, compelling artwork. I have to thank you for your words because it's so meaningful to hear what you were thinking, doing or guided by (esp. Sam's spirit) when working on this piece.

I particularly love the photo of the two young brothers, they positively shine, and the closeup of Sam among the group - you can literally see how interconnected he was with everyone around him.

Thanks again for covering this work in such detail and sharing it.

Anonymous said...

judy what amazing, wonderful art, I should be working but you keep me spellbound with your stories and of course wonderful work, we share the same muse's. Love it all
now joanne will know I am on the computor

Ursula Clamer said...

Oh Judy, I have just had a chance to catch up on your blog....WOW! You are truly an amazing person & artist. How lucky are these people to have someone like you to tell their stories, you have so much understanding, passion and connection. You are a treasure. Ux

She Who Flies said...

Judy, your work is some of the most soulful artwork I've seen in a while. You weave love, your amazing artistry and your sense of history and belonging in the most stunning way. Exciting! And congratulations on the article. I'm off to check that zine out :-)

She Who Flies said...

Me again! I just wanted to thank you for making me aware of the Astarte Zine. Just my kind of publication so I got my hands on all 3 issues :-)

jo and jacky said...

Hi Judy, I read your blog on Monday but had to wait til today to view all the pictures on the shops broadband connection. (I curse dial up along with Nina!!!!)
No other words can describe this masterpiece, it is art in its truest form. You have truly found your niche.
Love Jo xoxoxo

kathywas said...

Judy...I am in awe of your final project. After following your journey and each of the individual stories, it makes such a powerful statement to see their lives brought together on one piece that symbolizes their common bond. I think that the use of fabric even helps to personify the soft nature of these people who were pierced and "needled", yet joined together by a common thread.

Thanks for sharing such a lovely, moving, and powerful piece.

Q said...

Hello Judy,
Once again I am awed.
Once again I have tears.
Your work moves me as no other work has.
Perhaps it is because of your gracefullness, your respect and your talent for knowing.
We will not forget.

Jess said...

Every Numbers post makes me shed a few tears at the stories and just how well you capture the sensitive emotions. I learn so much about history and how you think though it all. Your blog is definitely one of my inspirational blogs.
Thank you so much for sharing.

Gillian said...

Judy - ~every time I visit your blog I am just overwhelmed - by your work, by the stories you are telling and the history you are recording and by you as an artist and an individual. All of it just incredible and such an inspiration. The dedication you put into working on this important project and the humility with which you write about it are a delight to witness. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.


gilfling said...

ooops sorry I did not mean to be anonymous!!


Night Owl Designs said...

Your work is amazing! So inspirational. Beautiful photographs, too :-)

Sandy said...

WOW!!! Amazing

Gisele said...

Judy I have followed this creation & thoroughly enjoyed reading all the thought processes that accompanied this amazing work of art. I know it will be appreciated by generations to come & is a true memorial to some very astounding people. Looking forward to the 2nd panel......Well done you!

maxine hazebroek said...

oh my goodness, I have just discovered your blog, you take my breath away Wilko......amazing, brilliant....wow!!!!!

I cant believe I have been missing this!!!!