Sienna’s designs are among the first ketubahs on Ketubah.com to offer some same-sex and interfaith specific artwork.
“I wanted my designs to be inclusive and welcoming to different kinds of people. My ketubah, Rainbow Love, has a painted multi-coloured brushstroke, with the words for love in many languages. I think that could be appealing for many couples, and I hope that everyone can find a ketubah that expresses their unique taste and the values that they hold in their relationship.”
Sienna’s main inspirations are the couples he works with one-on-one, or playing with the concept of love or the shapes of letters. “I love designing ketubot for individual couples. During the interview, I listen carefully to try and identify what would perfectly capture and articulate the couple’s relationship to each other and to Judaism. It was not hard to create a unique ketubah with each couple in mind. As a designer (especially of logos), I think my strongest skill is distilling an idea to its very essence. Usually I have an idea that comes from the idea of “love'” that I am trying to portray.
As a designer I think my strongest skill is distilling an idea to its very essence.
Either I am playing with the letters/shapes in the actual word “love” or experimenting with shapes that we associate with love.” Other times he is inspired by causes and quotations. He recently saw the quote, “We must cultivate our garden,” from Candide and felt it was an appropriate metaphor for a romantic relationship. “Today, the environment is a pressing issue, and many young couples are involved in environmental issues, so I thought this might be something that young couples today would find appealing.”
I am playing with the paradox that love isn’t something we see with our eyes.
“My most recent design called a Vision of Love [available next month on Ketubah.com] displays a heart shape in what looks like a color blind test. I am playing with the paradox that love isn’t something we see with our eyes.
It’s no surprise that his ketubahs offer some of the most unique fonts and calligraphy. After meeting Jay Greenspan, “one of the fathers of of modern Hebrew calligraphy,” back in university Sienna’s love of letters and calligraphy grew.
“Because I was already comfortable with using a calligraphy pen and (English) calligraphy, I was a star pupil. At that workshop, someone asked me if I would scribe their upcoming wedding. And so I began. Over the years I produced many hand-made, one-of-a-kind ketubot, each time stretching my artistic envelope, learning paper cutting, airbrushing, and even how to apply gold leaf. ”
I thought my ketubah days were over, as I had hung up my calligraphy pens and couldn’t see how I could design ketubot on the computer.
Sienna has managed to stay with the times, continuing to find new, creative, and the latest tools to create his ketubah designs.
“In the olden days (twenty years ago), I wrote ketubot by hand, and used water colour, gouache and paper cuts to illuminate them. When it became prohibitively expensive to do this kind of work, I moved to Hebrew desktop publishing (which I still do), producing liturgical pieces and siddurim (prayerbooks). I thought my ketubah days were over, as I had hung up my calligraphy pens and couldn’t see how I could design ketubot on the computer.
Over the last year, however, I have now produced almost a dozen ketubot using the iPad. I have a painting program called ProCreate that is an amazing tool (I used it to produce the flower petals in The Garden of Love ketubah as seen to the left) and I use a vector based program called Inkpad that allows me to draw and create geometric shapes. I designed a beautiful, contemporary decorative Hebrew alphabet with that program.
My most recent Ketubah was designed with a neat programme called Grafio, that is a brainstorming/outlining programme that allowed me to easily create, modify and position hundreds of dots to make the colour test plate. I then assemble the artwork into a desktop layout program on my Mac and send the files to ketubah.com for processing.”
I can’t wait to see the ketubahs and great work to come from Sienna! I want to know; what are your favorites of his designs? Is there an artist you would like to see featured and learn more about? Leave your comments below!
Check our all of Baruch Sienna’s ketubahs here.