05 September 2007



Whilst I am absolutely frantically trying to complete panel 3 by the 16th of this month, I wanted to upload the next instalment of “Numbers”.

There is a very very good reason why I need to complete the final panel by then. It’s very exciting!!! It has nothing to do with me but something to do with the Fiszman family. Not at liberty to explain yet, I know you will all be very happy when I can tell you – which is not that far away.

Why I am telling you this is simply to say that I am only getting about 3-4 hours of sleep as to put a panel like this together normally takes me a month. Should anyone leave a comment there may be a chance that I may not be able to personally thank you for a week or so– for that I really apologize – I only hope you will understand the predicament I am in.

To those I have not got back to from the previous post – it’s not that I don’t want to. I cannot begin to tell you how honoured I am that you take the time to write a comment - they are the most amazing comments and I truly appreciate them. Sometimes I cannot find an email address or people write anonymously and I cannot respond. My apologies.

I started panel 3 almost immediately after having finished panel 2. I usually need a weeks break just to catch up on everything.
The emotion of doing such work does take a heavy toll – however – I was not afforded this opportunity this time around. So I will collapse after this one, the final panel.

With all that said and probably having bored you to tears, on with the the next piece.

Esther and Sam boarded the SS Derna in Marseilles. It was due to Lonia (Sam’s mothers sister) being in Australia that they were able to migrate. They call it “Family re-union”).

The story of their voyage is a chilling one. It is in the book, pictured below, that there are many references to Sam and Esther and Mia.

Can you imagine, being on a ship on your way to a new land abandoning the country that rejected you, killed your family and people etc only to find that there were those very tormentors, those murderers, Nazi's are on your ship. It's a fascinating story.

Can you imagine being Esther, still frail from what she undergone in Auschwitz, being so sea sick that she spent most of the voyage in the excuse they called a hospital. But to add insult to injury the doctor, if you can call him that did not really care about the sick. Sam had to virtually beg him to assist her – he was desperate to care for her particularly after having gone through what she did.

On one occasion Sam said to the doctor
“After all she’s gone through; she shouldn’t have to suffer like this.

Sam was stroking Esther’s arm at the time, the doctor looked and with his impassive expression, the doctor said ‘I’ve heard the passengers saying that some of you people had the numbers tattooed just to get a passage’.”

I was shocked at this, apparently alot of the crew, including the captain were like this.

On the piece, there is a word stamped on a metal plate. The word, Mia – Esther and Sam’s daughter – who was an infant at the time. Mia is the name she goes by but she was named Maria at birth.

A catholic name! No doubt you are wondering about that.

Interestingly, Sam and Esther had named her Malka, meaning queen. Malka following the Eastern European Jewish tradition of naming a child after a dead relative. Remember that Malka was Sam’s mother. When Esther was in the hospital after having just given birth, the nun who attended to her enquired about the name and said that if the name meant queen then Maria would be a fitting name.

I decided to attach the passenger list.
So many names of people I know.
Most of them had children who I have either grown up with or have met at some stage in my life.
It will be important for Robert’s nephews one day to have this recorded, at least that is what I felt.
Alot happened on that journey.
Amazing stories.
Stories involving Sam.
But, it's written in the book and I do not think it is for me to re- tell them here. Suffice to say that one story did get alot of press here at one stage.
The family image is attached with this gorgeous rusty pulley thing. I would not have a clue what it is called but being so familiar with boats - NOT - it reminded me of those pulleys on yachts.
The base behind the list which is covered in mica is a rusted piece of wood.

To the right of this list - you can see the wire which is attached to Mia's name plate - the plate floats quite high above the piece. you can see this by the shadow that is cast on the material - (I hope).
I purposefully attached the Derna piece on the same book cover as the next piece.

The book cover is from the book A tale of two Cities.

Why did I choose this particular book?

I chose it because Sam and Esther left behind their city in Poland, left behind the country they once knew to go to the other city, Sydney within what was to be their new home-land Australia.

Lonia, Sam’s mother, Malka’s sister was residing there with her husband.
Interestingly, and according to my reading of Annika’s scrapbook, they moved here in 1929 – hence her survival from the Holocaust.

Why did they come here? Well, Lonia and Gabriel had a child born in 1924 whilst they were living in Warsaw. Before that child, Marie, was born, Gabriel was in the army.
When news arrived of his daughters birth, he was not allowed to leave the army.
He knew he would be put in jail for leaving to see Marie but was so determined to see her that he walked 500 miles to see her.

Knowing that it was only a matter of time before he was caught, Gabriel decided to leave Warsaw, Poland and go to Australia in 1927.
After two years, as was the norm back then, he sent for his family.

I placed this photo of the Droga family next to the Derna as Lonia was the link to Sam and Esther getting to Australia.

I chose this particular piece of hardware as it has a plant/leaves branching out on it - what for me resembled, a family tree. The family link is how Sam and Esther were able to get here.

The ex-libris plate I attached has the name of the family Droga.

Attached to and sitting below the name-plate is a bird.

Why the bird?

Well, the bird symbolises peace and freedom to some extent.

I felt I needed to symbolise the way Sam and Esther viewed Australia.

A country where they could live in peace.

A country where they could live in freedom.

Freedom from tyrannical rule and
the freedom that goes with living in a truly democratic country.

The bird is raised in the air.
As though it is in mid - flight.
As a bird in flight is free - so I thought it was a nice symbolic gesture.
The bird placed under the name of the Droga family as they, to some degree, gave Sam and Esther their wings to be free.

To be continued...


Jen Crossley said...

Judy your attention to detail is unbelievable.I wish you lucky with the third panel having it ready in time,with you on the job I know you will do it and give it all your amazing talent as well.Thank you for sharing this amazing project with us all and a big thank you to Robert for sharing his families story as well.
Good luck Judy

lindaharre said...

Your symbolism is magnificent! Assuming they haven't seen this yet.....I would love to see their faces as they view this for the first time!!!! OMG.....I can't imagine what they will say.....

izabella said...

you know this is museum quality!?!

my heart skips beats everytime I come look at the newest pieces~ you are amazing!!

no need to write back, I know your ohhh so busy B.W.O. (blog without obligation)

xo!! ~Bella

Sharon said...

Just know I'm still consuming and digesting the beauty that you share.

Kristen Robinson said...

Oh Judy the photos are splendid absolutely wonderful imagery perfect elements for the story locked within the panel.


Ro Bruhn said...

Nice to speak to you last night Judy. I love the way you've used the pulley to connect the two pieces, it's looking fabulous. I meant to ask you last night, the blow torch you use, is it one of those small ones in the crafty section of Bunnings or is it a major big job?
No hurry with the answer, I know how busy you are and don't forget to get some sleep ( I sound like a mother now)

azirca said...

Every time I see and read your wonderful posts it reminds of just how truly gifted you are Judy.

Absolutely beautiful work.

p.s: Don't forget to look after yourself during this creation process. You matter too.
take care

Leslie said...

Each day I come here expecting that I will be impressed. You never let me down, and even though I know the level of post I will find, I never get calloused to your wonderful work.

As others have said, please don't worry about replying. I know you are busy creating.

Thanks for sharing!

jo said...

This is so awesome Judy, I can't wait to see it in its entirety!
Wishing you renewed energy to complete the 3rd panel. You truly deserve a holiday once this is all done!

Karen Cole said...

I can actually help you out here. Imagine that!

Having had a sailboat for years, the interesting "rusty pulley thing" just happens to be called a BLOCK. I know that's not how you spell your family name, but I find it a fabulously perfect addition to the symbolism you have so meticulously created.

It is used to keep the lines running freely on deck. Freedom.

Judy said...

Now that's is so cool Karen and I loved the bit about the block!!!

Loudlife said...

I'm speechless. Your work has taken my breath away. The symbolism, the intricacy, the smallest details, the intelligence, and the beauty - I don't have enough words for any of it.

This is my first visit to your blog and I'm completely knocked out. I can't wait to see more. Thank you for sharing.


Jo Capper-Sandon said...

Amazing...as someone 'looking in from the outside' at your work you tell it to us so well that we get swept along in the flow of the hows and whys.

shirleymcc said...

Your work is beyond description. I am speechless every time I read one of your posts and the stories behind your work.
no need to reply, I just wanted to stop by for a bit.
fond regards,

paris parfait said...

I love how you are giving these people a voice, for so long-delayed. Your imagery and art is stunning, made even more so by the intense human emotion, suffering and dignity involved.

Miss*Laurence said...

I've landed here by chance,what amazing work you do, so thorough and detailed, i hope we get to see the complete panels soon! Oh and I'd love to know how to verdigris!

Ursula Clamer said...

Some more stunning work Judy. I know you have a very close deadline and your wanting to keep to it would be very important but please remember to take care of yourself too.
Wow, just read Karens comment Loved the info about the Block! We are back in the twilight zone. Ux

Night Owl Designs said...

This panel looks amazing! Really breathtaking. Looking forward to the next installemnt :-) Sephi

Megan said...

Kind of makes all my daily whinges and groans mediocre :-( What a fabulous piece Judy....and what an incredible story.

Am looking forward to Sept 16 to see what it is you reveal!

Megan xx

Jo Wholohan said...

AWESOME, what more can i say??? :)

jthom03 / Jan Thomason / thomranch@hctc.net said...

You have left me speechless.
Jan Thomason

Q said...

Dear Judy,
No worries on responding to my comment. I come and am wowed. I come and feel honored to witness your incredible art and care. I come and send my blessings.
Thank you for using your energy to tell not only this story but also to show your love.

Emmcee .... Marie C said...

Just fab Judy - you're definately inspired (and inspiring!!) - I know from seeing your work in the RR books that it must be even more spectacular IRL when you can see all the detail, the texture, the colour, the work and care that goes into your art - it should probably be shown you know.....

B.W.O. BTW :)

PS thanks for your tips ... sweet!!!

Gisele said...

So far brilliant Judy! I always await the next instalement with anticipation wondering how you are going to connect all this wonderful work & story telling....I am always left in awe, words fail me.
The other evening on BBC2 in the UK there was a program where a tv presenter was researching her ancestors with the name of Kaplinsky from Poland, some of whom also travelled to Australia....I immediately thought of you, the panels & the Fiszmans & all the tragedies that these poor people endured.

holly said...

What a beautiful and moving tribute. Thank you for sharing their story in such a thoughtful and moving way. It means so much to be told visually and tangibly. Thank you.

rochambeau said...

The panel(s) looks incredible. The "Tale of Two Cities" book and the bird expressing freedom really work to convey the artistic message of your work.

Cindy Dean said...

I don't know what to say except amazing. Every time I read your posts on these panels, I am just drawn in by the incredible detail and all the connections and symbols in the pieces. I am sending you back your muse that you let me borrow! You shall need every ounce of it to finish that quickly. I know that Sam will help you finish in time...

annielockhart said...

i am glad i waited until late in the evening so there were no distractions to read your post...it's beautiful. all of the details that you see with your heart and convey with your art are amazing. i just love to stop by here and take in your words...this family story has really taken me in.

She Who Flies said...

These pictures are amazing portals into the past, into the history that lives on. What a beautiful tapestry of love and resilience you're weaving! What a heartfelt tribute! Can't wait to see panel 3.