I work like this: first we meet or talk by email, and decide whether we can work together. If you have a vision, we figure out if I can execute it. If you have no idea, we see if I can inspire you. If we decide to work together, we fix a budget and some artistic and logistic parameters, and exchange contract and deposit.
If your cousin's going to do the artwork and you just want the text, that's fine. I'd rather do the text before the artwork, it's better for my peace of mind, but obviously your cousin is going to feel the same way, so we'll talk about it and see.
Conversely, if your cousin wants to do the text (or you have a printed text), I'm fine just doing artwork.
Supposing you want me to write the text, we have your officiant send me your text. I like your officiant to be in on this step, to make sure that we don't have any misunderstandings. If your officiant isn't so hot on sorting out texts, I can handle this for you, regardless of your denomination. This step invariably takes longer than you think it will, so we get it moving early. Text, English or Hebrew, is basically $1.50 per word, but might be more if you want especially fancy calligraphy, if you want it on something that's awkward to write on, or if you want it next week.
Supposing you want me to do your artwork, I have you send me pictures of things you like - patterns you like, art you're fond of, genres which speak to you, previous work of mine, other people's work which inspires you but isn't quite right for you (but I will not copy someone else's design for you!), your china, your curtains...this gives me an idea of your tastes, and I make sketches. If you're in my area, we can meet for this bit. We pass sketches back and forth, until we've settled on something, and from there it's plain sailing.
Please contact me for availability.
A Jewish wedding is dissolved with a get, a divorce document. The complex interactions of Jewish law and contemporary civil law mean that sometimes one half of the couple can maliciously prevent dissolution of the marriage by obstructing the get. This means the other party is "chained" to the marriage - an agunah, in a state of iggun. Contemporary Jewish law is still evolving to meet this challenge; prenuptial agreements are part of this evolution. When they become standard, this abuse of the system will no longer be possible. If you have a pre-nup, you are helping to evolve Jewish law in a humane direction.
To raise awareness of this issue, and to protect my clients, I will not write or illustrate a ketubah for anyone who does not have a prenuptial agreement covering iggun. The paperwork is relatively straightforward, and it is your officiant's job really, but I will advise on this issue at no cost, because I care.
The ketubah is the Jewish prenuptial agreement. As such, the text deserves as much consideration as the artwork. This is a translation and explanation of the standard text. Many couples choose to alter the text to reflect the concerns and values of their community.
You may also wish to consider altering various elements of the text to reflect your own circumstances and values. Here are some suggested variants of the traditional text from a Modern Orthodox perspective, retaining the essential elements of the ketubah but admitting a degree of consideration for women. There are also less traditional variants. If your rabbi cannot advise you, I can; I am a scholar as well as an artist, and have made it my business to become familiar with the mechanisms of the ketubah text.
Jen Taylor Friedman, 2006-9