MARILYN LEVY, the TALLITmaaven has been "crafting" as long as she can remember. As a young child, she did not care for the doll's clothes supplied in her "paper doll" sets, so she traced the dolls, and designed her own clothes. There is also a vivid memory of learning to "colour within the lines". If she felt the pre-printed picture could be improved, she changed the lines, an act which was not always appreciated by teachers in those days.
In seventh grade, HOME ECONOMICS was taught. MARILYN adored the sewing strand of the curriculum. Her father was so delighted that he bought her a sewing machine for her twelfth birthday.
MARILYN'S maternal Grandmother (Bubby) was a seamstress and her paternal Grandfather (Zaidy) was a tailor. Her grandparents, having been refused educations in the old country (Romania), wanted their children to have an education in America (Detroit, MI). They succeeded. Marilyn's mother is the only one of the five children to "only" have a Bachelor's degree. Of course she was the only daughter with four younger brothers. Because Esther concentrated on the academic subjects, her mother finished the Sewing assignments which were brought home.
A great model for Marilyn while growing up was her Great Aunt Belle. "Aunt Tiny" as she was affectionately called, painted with oils, knitted and crocheted, worked with leather and even did a bit of metalwork.
Through her Secondary School years, Marilyn knitted under the tutilage of Aunt Tiny, and sewed a bit. Marilyn learned to crochet. In the mid-seventies, she bought an instruction manual, and taught herself to do needlepoint. Except for one needlepoint project (the first), all have Judaic themes.
At the beginning of her third pregnancy Marilyn discovered "stretch sewing", made clothes for her two children and started studying dressmaking with Nadine Roe, an accomplished White Russian Emigree. She studied with the late Madame Roe for six years, learning some of the finer points of fashion sewing and construction of clothing for herself and for her three children.
1990 was a turning point in Marilyn's creative career. She attended the Biennial Convention of Women's League for Conservative Judaism and met Shirley Waxman, of the Washington DC area. Shirley is an expatriot of Hamilton, Ontario (Marilyn's hometown). Shirley is a renowned tallit maker and Marilyn fell in love with Shirley's art. They talked over the four day period. Marilyn returned home, bought some raw silk, and made her first tallit, which she first wore for Sisterhood Shabbat, when, as Sisterhood President, she sat in the President's chair on the bema of Beth Jacob Synagogue.
Over the next decade Marilyn honed her craft. She has attended many seminars and workshops to broaden her experience and expand her expertise. She was exposed to and fell in love with watercolour quilting. Watercolour quilting creates a magnificent atmosphere for tallitot, challah covers, chuppot and other Judaica. Her next personal tallit was a watercolour quilted tallit
In 1996, MARILYN attended her first POMEGRANATE GUILD of JUDAIC TEXTILES of TORONTO meeting in Toronto, Ontario. An active member, she particpates fully in Pomegranate Guild meetings and has presented workshops for the group. She is a member of the Pomegranate Guild (USA) and has taught workshops at their Biannual Conventions. Marilyn is an active participant with several Judaic textile lists....networking and sharing with other Judaic textile/liturgical artists around the world.
In 2012 MARILYN represented Canada at the Israel Quilt Conference in Jerusalem to increase her knowledge of Judaic Fibre Arts.
Affiliated with Toronto's Pomegranate Guild, she attended workshops on many craft, developed and honed skills in beading fabric, surface design (texture, texture and more texture), colour and composition.
Marilyn is a special education teacher in Southern Ontario where she combines her passion for children with her love of textile arts. Marilyn takes great pride in her work and derives satisfaction in knowing that her craft is being used and enjoyed near and far in both synagogues and homes.
Contact MARILYN to discuss your ideas for tallit, chuppot, kippot, tallit and tfillin bags, shofar bags, challah and matzah covers, siddur covers, mezuzzot, tzedakah boxes, parochet and other Judaic textile art.
All work shown is the property of the artist and may not be reproduced without the artist's permission.
"HANDMADE means it comes from the HEART"
Marilyn Levy, a custom textile artist from Hamilton, Ontario Canada, is known as the TALLITmaaven. She creates hand made Tallitot/ Tallis/ Talis/ Talesim/ talis katan and talit gadol. She creates coordinating Tallit bags, Tefillin bags, shofar bags and kippot/ kipas/ keepahs/ yarmulkes to complete the TALLIT/ talis set..
The TALLITmaaven's challah covers are treasured by their recipients for their personalization (matching decor, fine china, user's personalities, matching theme for weddings or B'nai mitzvot.). The TALLITmaaven prides herself in creating beautiful items that will be cherished for generations to come.