By Tamar Skowronski
Nearly four years ago I was at CVS looking for a congratulatory card for a friend who had a new baby. I spent what felt like an eternity reading card after overpriced card, trying to find one that appealed to me. All I seemed to find were pink, soft-focus images with messages like, “Much love to your precious little blessing.” Blech! Even the “humor” cards, with the cartoon images of the frazzled mom (“Welcome to motherhood. Enjoy the snot with your coffee!”), weren’t what I was going for, despite their truthfulness. And the blank cards were mostly landscapes and flowers and lacked the more modern, edgy look I tend to like.
I realized that I could fill the void and create art cards that were unique and affordable. That afternoon, I photographed my 2-year-old daughter’s red Converse All-Stars, and “Cards by Tamar” was born. The cards include my original photography and are all hand-assembled. I offer a variety of subjects, including that first “Red Sneakers” card (still a bestseller!), a “Sweet Tooth” series, various holiday cards and many more.
Last December, when looking ahead to 2013, I couldn’t believe what I saw on my calendar on November 28, 2013: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the same day? Was this for real? I actually double-checked on several Jewish calendar websites. I subsequently read about the extreme rarity of this convergence, and “Thanksgivnukkah” suddenly became my new favorite holiday. (I’m not trying to snuff the widely accepted spelling of “Thanksgivukkah.” It’s just that my family and I have been spelling it “Thanksgivnukkah” for a while, and I can’t seem to bring myself to give up that poor “n”! I think it’s a pretty catchy way of saying it anyway.)
I knew I had to create cards to celebrate this momentous occasion. My two limited-edition Thanksgivukkah cards are designed to combine the colors and themes of autumn in New England with the whimsical dreidel and concepts of Hanukkah. In keeping with the theme, both photographs were taken outdoors in New England this season.
The “Pumpkins with Letters” design features four pumpkins, each carved with one of four Hebrew letters found on the Hanukkah dreidel. These letters represent the phrase, “A great miracle happened there.”
The “Horn of Plenty Dreidels” design features a fall scene with a cornucopia basket overflowing with dreidels. (The “Horn of Plenty Dreidels” beat out my turkey and menorah design so as not to alienate the Thanksgivukkah-celebrating vegetarians among us!)
Tamar Skowronski is an event coordinator, sales manager and artist with a line of photographic greeting cards featuring her original photography. Tamar’s other major artistic pursuit is filmmaking, and she is the creator of a documentary short called “From Myth to Martini: The Story of the Pomegranate,” in addition to various other film credits. She lives in Swampscott with her husband, Eric, and two daughters, Sasha and Meirav.