For many, there is no greater milestone in their life than their wedding day, and Terri Mittelmann, a Thornhill-based fused glass artist, designs one-of-a-kind pieces to capture that life-changing event.
For the past eight years, Mittelmann has run her Get2Give Glassworks studio to produce Judaica in the form of contemporary art.
Her most in-demand item is her wedding glass kit, which allows brides and grooms to commission Mittelmann to transform the glass they break under the chupah into items such as mezuzot, picture frames, menorahs or seder plates.
“Most of my work is with the wedding glass kits. The kit comes with the mouth-blown glass and a bag with a design card inside. After the cup is broken, the bride or groom, or whoever it is that is taking charge, will fill out the form. There are a number of options the couple can choose from,” Mittelmann explained.
Using the shards of glass broken at the end of the wedding ceremony, Mittelmann produces a unique work of art that serves as both a functional Judaica piece, and a meaningful memento from a couple’s wedding day.
She said half her clients are content to fill out the form and send the glass in, and the other half will come in for private consultations.
“Almost every week I am meeting with one or more clients. Sometimes people just want to see more of my work and sometimes they have a special request.”
Although Mittelmann’s business is only eight years old, she has spent the last 25 years involved in art education, having taught an art class at Bais Yaakov Elementary School, as well as a volunteer art program at Eitz Chaim Day School.
In her career as a fused glass artist working out of her 350-square-foot home studio with two kilns, Mittelmann said she is thrilled to be part of a new wave of Jewish artists offering Judaica in the form of contemporary art that is both steeped in tradition and esthetically modern.
“I don’t think there was ever a time when couples didn’t actively purchase or receive Judaica. Families still want to have a menorah, seder plate, mezuzah, candlesticks. The concept of being able to personalize these ritual objects by integrating the shards of glass from their wedding ceremony has added a new level of sentiment,” Mittelmann said.
“To me, it’s a testament to the fact that even in our hectic, high-tech, rushed lives, the pull toward connecting with our roots, our family heritage and our Jewish traditions is still very, very powerful.”
She said that although collecting Judaica is not a new trend, more and more artists are producing work that is still traditional, yet modern, “as opposed to the stuff you might think of in your head that you’ve seen at your grandmother’s house.
“I think that although sentiment and tradition still play a very important role, when couples and individuals seek out art with Jewish themes and motifs for their personal space, it’s not the only factor in play,” she said.
“It has become very clear to me that when people are looking for Judaica to place in their home for display – like any other type of art – it has to appeal to their esthetic sensibility… To me, this is another way of capturing an incredible Jewish milestone in people’s lives and I think it’s so important.”