Personal Expressions
Joy and Ecstasy

For Purchase

Joy and Ecstasy

Silk tapestry-original in private collection.

"Sing a new song unto the Lord...praise His name in the dance..." Psalms 149:1-3

Lithograph with mat 32 3/8" X 22 7/8" 

Joy and Ecstasy

For Purchase

Miriam’s Cup

Miriam’s name, mistress of the sea, and all that she embodies evokes the spiritual qualities of the feminine. These sculptural benthic forms, water currents, and the embryonic florescence of life are echoed here in Miriam’s Cup, ‘Flowering Waters’, prompting thoughts of the sensual rhythms of life, tidal flow, the moon’s waxing and waning, all ascribed to the mythical and sensual elements in woman. These shapes unite to complete the character of this cup for life’s blessings with Miriam’s robed contour.

Interior: glass goblet
Goblet's robe: sculpted fibers with antique embellishments


Gate of the Ten Sfirot

The theme of this Mizrah is the Sfirot, a mystical concept contemplating the ten powers to unlocking the Divine mystery. This wallhanging of velveteen combined with new and antique lace that is hand-dyed employs applique and machine quilting techniques. A Moorish arch creates the aura of enigma by the use of gold, brown, and purple tones and geometric shapes.

Mizrah, means sunrise and namely East. I has come to also mean a decorative wall hanging so as to indicate the direction of Jerusalem for correct orientation in prayer.

Mizrah - Gate of the Ten Sfirot
NFS, In private collection


Gate of the Ten Sfirot


Closed Magillah Esh

Open Magillah EshMagillah Esh
(Scroll of Fire)

It is my opinion that in about a hundred years, a committee will be formed to write a Magillah concerning the dark, historical  period - the Holocaust. This is my pictorial interpretation. The scroll is rolled and secured with decorative cords and embellished with ornaments of silver and semi-precious stones.

mixed fabrics, thermography
18"x 62" (1992)
Museum of Congregation Brith Shalom, Bethlehem, PA
commissions taken, prices on request

Similar design concept used for 150th Anniversary Commemorative Congregation Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, PA (Photo to follow)

The Hand of Miriam - Kame’a

Front Cover

Back Cover

Text and patterning of this book make its own talisman here creating a mystical textured composition with an aura of the ancient world.

The images that build this definition are:
 The hand, called hamsa or the hand of Miriam, is the symbol of an outstretched    hand, worn or hung as an amulet, to ward off the evil eye (ayin horah). The eye, the good eye (ayin tov) counteracts the evil spirits. Textual patterns are in English, Hebrew, and Rune; the latter two are often used in objects associated with magic.

The soft sculptured feminine quality of this book helps remind us that Jewish women through the ages have used and worn the Kame’a (the Hebrew word for amulet), keeping this art form alive.

“Blessing comes only upon those things which are hidden from the eye.”   Talmud

Fabric book of mixed media: mixed textiles; silk screened; paints and dyes; found objects: new and antique

Edition of 1     Dimensions: 9” (18”)  x 81/2”   Copyright ©  2001                $900

Old Glory Strained & Drained

The year of ‘98 brought us red, white and blue politics in living color, It caused sieve’l rights, sieve’l wrongs, sieve’l disobedience and finally sieve’l court. Some might say that our Bill of Particulars and our Star Chamber have so perforated our mesh leaving Old Glory strained and drained and a bit eroded and loosing and oozing its colors.

This mixed media of stars and stripes was digitally created then printed directly onto fabric via an ink jet printer. This was my contribution to a challenge to do a quilt in our style featuring a collander in some form. Mixed media; techniques included: printed images on fabric directly from the computer
20" w. x 20" h.

Free to Pray
A page from my Prayer Book ‘Bound to be Free’
Handmade paper collaged with vintage, time-worn tallit from a family collection

Commemorative Whimsy Doll

The twinkling eye of this commemorative doll brings back the memories of a cherished moment in time because she is nostalgically clothed in the bat mitzvah’s invitation text and imagery.

The soft structure gives a homey and peaceful feeling yet, the bijouterie- the charms, textures, etc... - show a capricious quality and serves as a good luck amulet; wishes of joy, spontaneity, love and strength accompany her.

Soft sculpture, thermography, bijouterie 14" H x 11W" x 5" D

Generations Of Miriam

After the crossing of the Red Sea, prophetess Miriam with tambourine in hand, led the Israelite women in a victory dance. Her name and character became synonymous with artistry, dance, sustenance and women’s leadership. Through the centuries women have proudly carried forth the name Miriam into modernity to this artist’s mother, and then granddaughter and, with blessings, for many more generations.

Within the gnarled lacey roots that frame this tribute *eighteen leaves voice a humble petition, “to a beautiful life”  for Miriam’s progeny.

A person’s name is thought to help define that person’s soul and destiny, and hold power over the individual. May this 5 year old’s future fulfill the message of her name: caring, creativity, continuity, and charisma.

* the number 18 in numerology symbolizes the word ‘life’

Medium: Mixed media, assorted fabrics/disperse dyes/ wax & film/ acetate brass bijou
16” x  20”
   Dispersed dye printing
   Mylar layered images
   Machine made lace

Infertility's Hard Edge


  Journal Circle of Joy

    Materials: Hand dyed silk & satin Mixed media
       Thermofax screen printed
       Metal hoop w/ machine worked lace

Zillah from Women of Biblical Proportion

Zillah's Story:
Zillah’s name is mentioned just three times in the Book of Genesis- as the wife of Lamech (a descendent of Cain), and as the mother of Tubal-Caine who is credited as the founder of the ancient craft of traveling metalsmiths and ironmakers. Yet, she is a giant among heroes.

With Adah, Zillah’s marriage to Lamech was the first recorded polygamous household. It was an embarrassment among their group of tent dwellers. However, unlike the jealous Adah, Zillah quickly matured into a young woman of resilience and endurance by living above the neighbors’ taunts. She turned her indomitable spirit to the raising of her first born.

Although it was her son who is attributed to be the first who knew how to sharpen iron and copper, inevitable that he furnish instruments used in wars and combat, it was actually Zillah’s strength, wisdom, and courage that gave Tubal-Caine the inquisitiveness and education to hone his skills to become a success.

Lamech, her husband, who was known in his environs as a bard was, from the moment of their first meeting, was taken with Zillah’s poetic soul and lilting voice; she was continually surrounded by the sweet sounds of music and verse. The muses of melody and song were always evident in the tents of their vast camp.

Zillah’s intellect and soft but firm urging helped Tubal-Caine’s business. As their foundry grew the frenzy of flints of fragments falling all around her set off tinkling, harmonic vibrations urging Zillah and her handmaidens to fashion bells and cymbals, then lutes and more. Music soon became her real call to arms. Her tensile strength forged and shaped her household into a cohesive family, setting the standards for the “Generations of Caine”.

Here, paying homage to Zillah, we see her bridging time, giving us today’s timbre and harmony the antithes of the forged metal for war.

The white space surrounding the black Torah Hebrew text in Genesis breathes volumes about the influence Zillah had upon the discovery of the use of metals, forming an important step in the progress of civilization.

Materials: Mixed media including hand painted silk, white velvet, copper screening
   Bas Relief effect of Hebrew name
   Silk screen printed
     Copper folded and sewn

Artist Book
Morning Becomes Electric

Coffee filters comprise the make up of this book with images and the mixed media construction giving the ‘caffeine fix’.

Rite of Passage by Elsa Wachs

to my grandmothers Esther and Eva who came to the United States during the wave of immigration in the 1880- 90’s.

“waters murky, dark and deep.........  our fore-mothers came they came at risk”
© 1997

Simchah Dessert / Luncheon Set (2 images)
for the Lenox China

Inspired by the verse “Let them praise His name in the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.....” (Psalm 149:3), this dessert set radiates a special festiveness for all the Jewish holidays and other joyous occasions. The figures wearing clothing reminiscent of the biblical period set the mood as they rejoice with an array of Judaic symbols amid the sparkling stars of a golden Jerusalem.


available where Lenox china is sold

copyright 1998 - 2002 Elsa Wachs