Hanukkah was one of my very favourite holidays as a child, not just because my brother and I would receive a gift each night—culminating with the absolute best gift on the final day—but also because I had my very own menorah. There was nothing unique about its design, but it was special to me because it was mine. Once my parents struck the match to light the shamash, the responsibility to light the rest of the candles was given to me. Little did I know, that as an adult, I would be designing and creating menorahs, and dreidels, in celebration of this joyous holiday.
The very first Hanukkah menorah I created was in 1980. It had nine brass oil cups which rested on a clear glass base with the flames reflecting in the beveled glass backpiece. It was also the very first piece of Judaica I sold, beginning my 40-year career in creating ritual objects.
Though my menorah designs have evolved over the years, I still enjoy creating the ones that burn oil; a reminder as to the holiday’s origin.
The elegant simplicity of my Wood Twist Menorah incorporates an antique round “rope” of walnut which supports the brass oil cups. Antique lamp parts form the feet. One of the things I find appealing about oil menorahs is there’s no messy wax to clean up. At the end of the holiday, all I have to do is simply wash the oil cups in warm soap—easy!r, I also make unique Hanukkah menorahs for candles, most recently, my Eight Knights of Hanukkah. I believe that it’s important to have fun, and I hope that when people see this piece, they get a chuckle!
As with so much of my work, I enjoy incorporating found objects and antique elements, giving new life to things that might otherwise be thrown away. Such is the case with my Measured Menorah: Hanukkah Inch by Inch, where I took part of an old folding wood ruler, and used each inch to represent one night of Hanukkah. My Silver Trivet Hanukkah Lamp not only incorporates half of an engraved silver trivet, but the enamel cloisonné handle of a letter opener which now holds the shamash.
Hanukkah, of course, wouldn’t be the same without dreidels; My TIME to Spin dreidel incorporates an antique clock gear, Blossoms Everlasting, a miniature glass flower pot with brightly coloured flowers, Matryoska, a little Russian nesting doll, Dutch Treat, a Delft windmill, and my “Checkered Dreidel,” four guitar picks with a chess piece for its handle.
Frann Addison knew she wanted to be an artist from the early age of eight, and was encouraged by her mother, a professional artist. While a graduate student at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan, in 1977, she read an inspirational article on the need for contemporary Judaica which she credits with launching her focus on creating Jewish Ritual Objects.