Jacob's Mezuzah - Holding Place

Materials: Sterling silver
Dimensions: 2 1/2" x 3/4" x 3/4"

This image shows the mezuzah with the tree of life imagery. Creating a rectangular box was painstaking and rigorous. The creation of the scroll (by a scribe)that goes inside requires the same attention to detail.

Photo credit: Ellen Hunt

Ellen P Hunt
Ellen Pulner Hunt Architect, Inc.
Austin, Texas. USA

A mezuzah is a small Jewish ritual box that contains a prayer scroll. Jacob’s Mezuzah was designed and created to honor Ellen’s nephew, Jacob, on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah. This mezuzah is made from sterling silver and is hand forged, cut, hammered, soldered and annealed. The imagery of the branch from the Tree of Life reflects that upon Bar Mitzvah a boy (or girl) will hold the Torah scroll handles, known as the Tree of Life for the first time. In Jacob’s case this was especially meaningful because he suffers from a Jewish genetic disease that is fatal. His achieving the milestone of his bar mitzvah was nothing short of miraculous. In addition to her professional work as an architect, since 2011 Ellen has been studying jewelry technology at Austin Community College where she created Jacob’s Mezuzah during coursework with James Lynn, instructor.

These containers and vessels definitely hold their place in the world of stunning art objects as well as in the world of metalsmithing.

Since the dawn of time humans have created containers to hold things that were important to them, from large vessels to hold food and harvests to intimate containers for small precious things. They might hold memories, ashes, medicine, beverage, fruit or food - but all spring from the imagination and skill of the maker. Some have specific religious functions, some are meant for everyday use. When one thinks of a vessel or container the inclination is to think of something with solid walls - yet many of these works involve the exploration of positive and negative space, and the use of negative space to help create the illusion of the wall of the vessel.

As the world’s largest jewelry related internet site, Ganoksin strives to develop exhibitions showcasing work from around the world. This exhibition was open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner. Participants are from The Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Colombia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and Denmark. While most of the pieces are by an individual metalsmith, some are collaborations, one of three artists spanning 50 years.

In total 319 artists contributed 729 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition.

Objects in the exhibition include boxes, lockets, urns, ash containers, bowls, wine cups, reliquaries, match holders, vases, teapots, pitchers, sugar bowls, baskets, nests, pillboxes, clutches and a range of sculptural forms. A variety of techniques are showcased covering a wide range of metalsmithing techniques. Materials used include everything from gold and silver to less expensive metals. Ornamentation includes the addition of enamel, chasing and repousse’, gemstones and found objects.

The exhibition was curated by Beth Wicker, President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world’s largest internet jewelry site.