This month (February 2023), a new book will be published that includes images and commentary from over 50 makers of Judaica -- and some of my work as well.
Titled, "Modern Judaica", this book has been in the works for about three years. A book project like this is a major undertaking, but I think COVID definitely added a few levels of complexity along the way. The author, Jim Cohen, had a challenging task paring down this selection of makers and images for this remarkable book.
This post will share a few observations about my experience and what I think it takes to get your work in a book at this level. This post is going to be a little raw (because I am writing this post from my phone -- a new adventure in itself.)
The first thing any artist or maker needs to attract such excellent exposure is (and a repeated topic on this blog) -- you need great professional quality images. Regardless of how convenient and good your cell phone is, it isn't good enough for this purpose. At this level, you need professional-quality images, with a resolution appropriate for a full page in a book. (Each image is typically between 24 MB to 32 MB.)
In this example, a full page was dedicated to these Shabbat candlesticks right across from the Table of Contents. I couldn't be more surprised or pleased with this level of exposure, but . . . . If you don't have the top quality images large enough for a full page, there will never be a full-page photo of your work.
When Jim Cohen contacted me about being in this book, he made no guarantees about inclusion, but my photos were ready, and I was able to send images in with complete information within a day.
You never really know, but I take opportunities like this seriously. My goal is to be prepared in advance.
Later on, when Jim Cohen interviewed me for the book, my husband and I edited the transcript extensively and intensely for more than a week.
I wasn't asked to do this, in fact, I was sure that this was breaking a rule or some expectation I didn't know about, but if there was going to be text about my work I wanted it to be as good as it could be at that moment. And I worked on it immediately because I didn't want to be responsible for holding up the progress of the book.
I did not know what would be included until my copy of the book arrived. Turns out there are eight pages about my work (nine pages if you include the photo opposite the Table of Contents). A huge honor and I am very grateful. But it wasn't just luck and it didn't happen by accident.
That's what I want to tell you. Opportunities come and go -- so you must be prepared in advance which takes commitment, hard work, and thinking ahead.
Create your own opportunities by doing your best work. Break boundaries. Move forward. Step ahead.
If you would like to listen to a streaming ZOOM program with the author, me, and two other Judaica artists, here is a link to the Zoom program.
P.S. More about the book itself in another post.