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Fabric exhibit planned at synagogue

A Texas artist will showcase the story of creation told in fiber and fabric at the Havurah Synagogue in Ashland.

Shirley Cunningham and her family will travel to Ashland to celebrate the art installation from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Havurah, 185 N. Mountain Ave., Ashland. The reception will include live music and refreshments. The display will continue through December.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity, especially with the season of the Jewish High Holy Days beginning Sept, 29, to see these unique tapestries depicting the creation story in Genesis and to meet the amazing artist,” said Havurah Executive Director Ayala Zonnenschein.

The exhibit is called “TOWB,” which is the Hebrew word for good.

Cunningham said the word encapsulates the ancient creation story.

“Pronounced ‘tove,’ towb can be an adjective, as well as both a feminine and masculine noun,” Cunningham said. “As an adjective, it speaks of that which is pleasant to the senses; pleasant to higher nature; and that which is excellent and right, ethically. In the masculine form, towb is a good thing, a benefit, as well as a moral good. In the feminine sense, towb means good in the way of a bounty. The inclusiveness of this Hebrew word speaks to me of the beauty and eminence of the world we are given. My hope is that as you view these tapestries, you will remember the ancient creation story and be reminded of the beauty that surrounds and abounds in our world.”

The pieces are large panels that will be hung in the sanctuary.

Each piece consists of multiple layers of fabric, yarn and thread applied by machine stitching or hand applique, Cunningham said.

The inspiration for the exhibit came from a Sunday Church service in Waco, Texas, in the 1950s, she said. A man read the poem “The Creation” written by James Weldon Johnson. She said a phrase from the poem, “I’m lonely! I’m going to make me a world!” has resonated with her since.

For more information, call 541-488-7716.

Shirley Cunningham visits Ashland, Oregon Wednesday, Sept. 25 to showcase her art exhibit of the story of creation "TOWB" at the Havurah Synagogue. Photo courtesy of Havurah.{ }
Fabric art at the Havurah Synagogue in Ashland by Texan artist Shirley Cunningham. Photo courtesy of Havurah.{ }