05 Dec Meet Our Nieghbors: Sheva Chaya, The Glassblower of Tzfat
Sheva Chaya Shaiman is a vibrant and expressive watercolor artist and glassblower living in the Artist Colony of the Old City in Tzfat. Her work is joyfully colorful and evokes imagery inspired by living in the Land of Israel, the Torah and Kabbalah, Jewish Feminine spirit and prayer all fueled by the Chassidic practice of finding the good in all things.
Sheva Chaya grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she was surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains and Colorado’s rolling landscape that inspired her to be an artist. She went on to study Visual Art and Art History with a concentration in Painting at Princeton University. Shortly after graduation, Sheva Chaya made Aliyah in 1999 and days after her move to Israel met her husband-to-be at a pre-wedding party. After a long friendship they started dating and decided to get married. Sheva Chaya has lived in Israel for 15 years. After living in Bat Ayin, Jerusalem and then Moshav Aderet, Sheva Chaya and her husband moved to Tzfat in 2004 after spending an inspiring Rosh Hashanah there.
Not surprisingly, Sheva Chaya immediately fell in love with Tzfat. The fresh air, peaceful, relaxing and beautiful environment instantly made her and her family feel safe and at ease. Her young children played joyfully in the streets, she felt freer and inspired with more open spiritual and physical space to create art and it felt like home. Sheva Chaya was just beginning to explore the wonders of glassblowing and her new inspirational home of Tzfat set her creativity on fire and she began a new era in her art-making. Soon, visitors flocked to her studio, fascinated by her glassblowing demonstrations, beautiful artwork, and inspirational stories.
Sheva Chaya’s themes present in her artwork are Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish people, tefillah, the Jewish Feminine spirit, motherhood and joy. She makes hand-blown glass pomegranates, channukiayot, Kiddush cups, jewelry, Ner Tamid and chandleries, glassware candlesticks, and also custom work. She mindfully chooses to focus on the positive with her imagery. For example, instead of focusing on destruction, Her Noah’s Ark painting bursts with whimsical colors, uplifting light and movement with joyful animals happy to have at last found dry land. Her positivity in her artwork is deeply inspired by Rebbe Nachman’s teaching called, “Azamra” or “I Will Sing” which states that one should always strive to find the good and positive in all things and this clearly shines through her artwork.
Visitors are welcome to her studio for glassblowing demonstrations where she will share her thoughts about her artwork, inspirations for glass work taken from Torah and Kabbalistic sources that bring the glassblowing to life infused with her stories about life in Israel. Studio hours are 9am-6pm, just ring the bell. Demonstrations are by appointment, groups and families are welcome!
Contributed by Ariella Malkah Dahl