Artfully Speaking by Laurie Bellet

Sukkot Crafts

The Art Studio at Oakland Hebrew Day School is alight with butterflies hanging from every light fixture, just waiting to decorate our sukkah. Sukkot is a magical time, when we are able to transform a fragile, temporary shelter into a place of family, friendship and sanctity. The decorations we craft are sustainable, able to withstand time and weather so that, after enjoying their decorations in our school sukkah, the students can delight in their decorations at home, every year thereafter. To engage the students meaningfully and passionately, the decorations they create must be special and everlasting.

Silk Hoops

Silk hoops (available in a variety of sizes from Dharma Trading) are popular for artists of every age. Students can decorate them using fabric markers, fabric dyes or paints. A piece of thin picture wire, poked safely through the silk hangs them securely.

Old CD’s

Old CD’s can be decorated brightly, simply and quickly with stickers, tiles and gems (use tacky glue). To dangle beads from them, slip thread or picture wire through the center hole to string the beads. Hang them from the center hole or, use a small piece of duct tape to secure a paper clip to the back and slip the wire or thread from there.

Decorative Chains

Ordinary paper chains do not withstand weather or time and risk teaching children that we can waste resources. Making chains from pipe stems (you can purchase extra puffy or sparkly ones) is even more fun because they are fuzzy. You can save the pipe stem chains for the next year or untwist them to use in future craft projects. This year, at OHDS, we exhausted our pipe stem supply, so I employed an idea from Edie, a teacher from Pennsylvania. I disassembled an old calendar, laminated the pages and cut the pages into strips. After finishing their silk hoops or their butterflies (nylon stretched over wire from Oriental Trading) the students are enjoying looping these strips and securing them with colorful masking tape.

Rain Sticks for Shemini Atzeret

Out of time? Make rain sticks for the end of Sukkot: Shemini Atzeret, when we turn our hopes to rain for the new crops. Take an old poster tube, drive a few nail through the sides; add a few beads or pebbles to create the sound you want. Then, paint the sides. These rain sticks make a powerful, unusual addition to your synagogue’s Simhat Torah parades.

Inviting Guests into the Sukkah

Extend your Sukkot joy by making invitations for friends to join you in the sukkah. Last year, my students made wind chimes so our guests who could not see would also enjoy their time in our sukkah. Take time to sit in the sukkah, tell stories in the sukkah, and sing in the sukkah. Sukkah sleepovers and havdalah in the sukkah are extraordinarily special. No matter what, take some time, just to lie down in the sukkah and dream as you stare through the openings in the fragile roof. Create your own Sukkot magic memories.

Hag Same’ah.