Sarah Saulson, Handweaver
Recently, my studio practice has focused on very unique one-of-a-kind Jewish prayer shawls (talitot) woven on commission. I see them as combining original woven patterns produced on my computer-assisted loom along with the deepest respect for the long-standing, beautiful traditions so intrinsic to Jewish ritual objects.
They are made from silk or eco-friendly, readily renewable bamboo fibers, yielding cloths that have sheen, texture, and lightness, making them a delight to wear. The woven patterns created on a computer-assisted loom tell their own stories with references to Jewish imagery.
For several years I have been researching Shapanyer Arbet, an exclusively Jewish fiber arts tradition from Poland/Ukraine that was used to create ornate atarot (prayer shawl collars) with sterling silver thread. Because this skill has now largely died out, I have been researching it in museum collections in Israel and the United States. The atarot of my talitot are inspired by Shapanyer Arbet.
Prayer shawls can be ordered in any width up to 36 inches wide and any length, with any range of colors and combination of stripes. The tzitzit are hand-tied. No work on prayer shawls is performed on Shabbat.
For more information about my prayer shawls, including commissions and exhibitions, please contact me.
Instructions for viewing the gallery: Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image. Click on the right side of the larger image to go to the next image.
Prayer Shawl Gallery
This prayer shawl was completed in 2012 for a rabbi. Woven in 100% silk, the two surfaces of the woven cloth have a different color emphasis: green on top, blue on the other side. When the wearer flips the cloth up over her shoulders, both sides show.
Moon Phase prayer shawl woven in 100% silk, 21 inches wide. This shawl honors the poetry of the cycles of the Jewish lunar calendar.
Woman’s prayer shawl is woven with eco-friendly bamboo yarn in a mix of small-scale woven patterns and colors, 18 inches wide.
Woman’s prayer shawl in tencel & bamboo.
“Mayim (Water),” woman’s prayer shawl in bamboo, 18 inches wide.
Man's or woman’s shawl, 100% silk, 36 inches wide. On each surface of the cloth the woven pattern looks different.
This prayer shawl, 100% silk, was completed in 2012 for a man to commemorate his wedding. The woven pattern in the body of the shawl is an abstract mogan David (star of David). Atarah (collar) is embroidered by Jan Gorelick.
“Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)," man's or woman’s shawl, 100% silk, 36 inches wide. Woven imagery of shattered fragments.