About the Artist (& the person) - Ginny Reel Freirich
How I got into this niche business
I got started making ketubot In 1996, when I made my own ketubah, Tree of Life (a cleaned up version is available as print). I didn't know any Hebrew or calligraphy, so I made a collage by cutting up our text and numbering the slips of paper, then gluing them to a large canvas.
Shortly after the wedding, we moved to Israel to study at Hebrew University. Between graduate seminars in International Relations, the History and Culture of the Modern Middle East, Hebrew and Arabic classes, I sneaked in painting.
At the end of two years, we returned to the USA, and while I was supposed to be writing my master's thesis on the Modern Middle East (the intersection between gender, militarism, and national identity in Israel), I spent all my time painting. Before long, friends and acquaintances asked me to do their ketubot and I united a life-long fascination with illuminated manuscripts and my livelihood.
I gave myself a year to learn the necessary skills, charged very little for those who would hire me, until I got to the point where I felt confident enough in the quality of my work. For many years after that, I worked by commission making original ketubot.
In 2012, I began offering prints and expanded my skills to include a variety of digital design methods. My designs are a combination of painted elements and digitally manipulated elements, the balance sometimes shifting mostly one direction or another
What do you do when you aren't working?
Mostly, I take care of my family - I have two kids and our lives are pretty busy. It's hard to avoid double and triple scheduling between the rabbi life and kids' activities. Someday (in about 3 years) I will get to garden again. I fantasize about growing veggies, but usually end up with some herbs and flowers.
Until the age of 14, I lived in Austin, Texas. At 14, I moved to San Francisco where I attended School of the Arts High School. I attended summer programs at the SF Art Institute and Cal-Arts. I then attended Middlebury College first majoring in Costume Design and then changing to Women's Studies (thesis was on Robots and Gender in Pop Culture and how they reflect our attitudes about gender & technology). I went on to study Hebrew and Arabic and the history and culture of the modern middle east at Hebrew University.
If you are wondering if you know me, you just might. I’ve lived in Vermont, Kibbutz Tuval in Israel, New York City, Philadelphia, Jerusalem, Tucson, Cleveland, South Lake Tahoe, Charlotte, and as of July 2016, Buffalo, New York.
If you do know me and you're wondering how life is, I'm doing well, love being a mom; Jon Freirich (my husband) is still a rabbi (see what he's up to on his blog jewishand.org) and working for Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, New York; Jude (my amazing son) is growing like a weed and is smarter and more amazing than I ever dared to hope for; Sadie (my beautiful daughter) is sweet, extremely curious about everything, and already cracking jokes.
Feel free to look me up on Facebook - if I know you, chances are I would love to reconnect!
I live and work in Amherst, New York (a suburb of Buffalo).