July 24/ Susan Leviton to teach free Jewish Papercutting Workshop

The history and meaning behind Jewish papercutting will be
described and explained in a free hands-on workshop with Harrisburg artist
Susan Leviton on Sunday, July 24, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Agricultural and
Industrial Museum, 217 Princess Street, York. The workshop, intended for youth
ten years and older with an accompanying parent, is sponsored by Susquehanna
Folk Music Society. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required.
Please call 717-846-6452.

Leviton will talk about the history of Jewish papercutting in
the context of the worldwide craft, and will present a slide show of examples.
Attendees will then be invited to create unique papercuttings of their own. The
challenge when making a papercut is that everything has to be connected. If
not, a piece will fall out.

“Discovering historical Jewish papercut art means you
connect to a spiritual sensibility that was once part of everyday life,”
Leviton explains.  Participants will have
the opportunity to work out their own designs using the tools and techniques of

“Papercutting is an egalitarian craft; all you need is the
paper and a knife. But traditional Jewish papercutting is not solely
decorative. The words or images in the papercut generally refer to source texts,
the same way that ritual art worldwide uses images to remind people of their
foundations. And traditional papercuts also serves a  function. Whether at home or in the
synagogue, whether personal or communal, the papercut is tied to a life cycle
event or an observance in the Jewish calendar.”

A self-described “Jewish Cultural Worker,” Susan Leviton has
spent more than 20 years promoting and sharing Jewish culture through its
visual and musical arts. In her Harrisburg Levworks studio she produces calligraphic
art works in paper and fiber, and collaborates with fabricators in glass,
metal, and Formica, often mimicking the traditions of papercuts in those media.
Her ketubot (marriage contracts),
awards, and institutional art are found in homes, synagogues, and awardees’
offices across the country and in Jewish communities as far away as Denmark and

This upbeat presentation offers a whirlwind tour of the
history of papercutting by examining papercut art spanning centuries from
Europe, Africa, and North America.

This is a free workshop for youth age 10 and older with one
accompanying parent. Pre-registration is required by calling (717) 846-6452.
This event, presented in collaboration with the York County Heritage Trust, is
part of a new series developed by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society and the
York County Convention and Visitors Bureau and is made possible by a grant from
the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. For more information, contact Susquehanna
Folk Music Society at (717) 763-5744 or go online to http://www.sfmsfolk.org.


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