Easy fast / by Susie Lubell

Today I'm sending to print a ketubah that I turned around in three weeks, from first sketches to final approval. And to think I almost didn't take the job. In fact, when Jason sent me a message if I could create his ketubah for his October 12 wedding, I thought, well if you get me your personal details right away and we don't have many iterations, then I can do it for sure. This, thinking that he would just choose one of my seven designs. But then I got his transaction and he had wanted a personalized ketubah, as in, a whole new design. That's when I panicked and told him there was no way I could do it, especially with two weeks of school vacation coming up and all of the holidays. So I wrote him a message apologizing. This was at 4am. The baby had woken me up and with the time difference, I tend to get a lot of emails at night. Then I tossed in my bed for twenty minutes. Then I wrote him back. Let's talk tomorrow and see what you had in mind and maybe I can do it.

We spoke and it turned out he wanted the basic two trees connected by a bridge design but customized with imagery that was meaningful to the two of them. He told me how they met online because he had posted that he was just looking for someone who would ski moguls with him, til death or bad knees do they part. I took the job.

He sent me a list of things that were important to them, like healthy organic food, mountain biking, skiing (obviously), nature, their Jewish heritage and community. They live in San Francisco so the bridge made sense. They had already written their text. I took my sketch pad up north when my husband and I went away for a few days for our birthdays and sketched out some ideas. I emailed him a rough sketch. He approved. And then I just painted the whole thing and he approved that too! It was magical! All of my commission experiences have been wonderful but some very challenging.

When I sent him the final proof before Yom Kipur, I ended my note by wishing him an easy fast. (That's what you say on this holiday, since Happy Day of Atonement is sort of inappropriate). Only after did I realize that he might have assumed I was referring to the project. Maybe I was.