From the Expert: Ketubah As Fine Art: Part I

Today is Part I of a 2-part series by Ketuv, the website behind fine art ketubahs. The ladies of Ketuv discuss the importance of personalizing ketubah art to fit a couple’s style, history, and home. Not sure what to think about? No fear! Ketuv offers a lesson in ketubah art 101. Take it away, Ketuv!

You’re engaged. Mazel Tov! So begins the saga of wedding planning. You want to make sure it’s personal, that you and your partner are expressing yourselves in every little detail. And yet, when it’s time to choose a ketubah, you figure you’ll just find something with trees on it and call it a day, right?

Hold up. Long after the flowers wilt, and the bunted garlands come down, long after all the little details of your wedding day are preserved in photographs and sealed in an album on the shelf, your ketubah will still hang on your bedroom wall.

At Ketuv, our motto is that your love is unique, and your ketubah should reflect that. The ketubah is the first piece of artwork you and your partner will purchase together as a couple — the piece of artwork that makes you a couple, by Jewish law — and that’s a very special thing.

So why not go beyond the generic tree landscapes and watercolor Jerusalems and instead commision a real work of art by a contemporary artist?

For most people, the prospect of commissioning a work of art is an intimidating task. Here are a few tips for commissioning an artist to make your ketubah.

What’s Your Ketubah About?
Talk to your partner about what aspects of your relationship you would like your ketubah to highlight.

What do you feel is truly special about your relationship? For some couples, it might be the incredible way you balance one another. For others it might be a set of shared values. Be specific. You may or may not know how these ideas will translate into symbols or visual cues, but either way, don’t be afraid to write them down. These ideas are likely to become touchstones for the artist as they create your artwork.

You may want to think about the stories that are important to you as a couple: how you met, the moment you “knew,” a trip you took together. Your ketubah can depict, say, the park bench where he proposed, or a map of all the New York City apartments you both lived in before you met one another. At Ketuv, we have artists who specialize in everything from maps to portraits to family trees.

Start Thinking About Color
This could be as basic as wanting the ketubah to echo your wedding colors, or the colors of your home, or it could be more symbolic. I once had a couple who wanted their ketubah in red and blue because she was fiery and he was more calm. They wanted to highlight that balance in their color choice. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

How should my ketubah look? How do I choose an artist? This is often the hardest thing for most couples who aren’t themselves artistically inclined. At Ketuv, we like to think we’ve made this easy, as we work with more than 20 artists from around the globe, with a range of different styles. We’ve included portfolios of the artists’ personal work, so couples can browse and get a sense of the artists’ capabilities.

How do you even commission an artist to create your ketubah art anyway? Swing by tomorrow for Part II of the series!

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Your love is unique. We think your ketubah should reflect that.

With the plethora of generic printed ketubahs available on the Internet, couples with a discerning eye have a hard time finding something that speaks to them. We formed Ketuv to provide couples with a fine art option in ketubahs, and to create an opportunity for innovative artists, with dynamic careers outside of the commercial and Judaica spheres, to create fresh, quality ketubah art.

Founded by artists Arielle Angel and Maya Joseph-Goteiner, Ketuv is committed to creating new opportunities for artists in the marketplace, with the ultimate goal of allowing artists to pursue their craft sustainably and with integrity.

Ketuv is also committed to honoring the diversity of the Jewish people, as well as people influenced by the Jewish tradition. While providing quality wedding and anniversary ketubahs for Jewish couples of all denominations, we also pride ourselves on offering progressive options in wedding artwork for same-sex, interfaith, non-denominational and non-Jewish couples.