Fiona Leckerman meets an artist shedding light on her own community…
When 27-year-old Charlotte Posner was approached to create a series of stained glass windows for Loughton Synagogue, she accepted without hesitation.
The artist – who works out of her studio in East London – spent two years designing and crafting eight windows to be displayed in the very shul in which she grew up.
The faux stained glass windows were constructed in the form of a light box and are a modern version of stained glass that has the durability to last forever.
Each of the windows represents a Jewish festival, including Simchat Torah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Haatzmaut, Purim, Succot, Pesach, Shavuot and Chanukah.
Rosh Hashanah is depicted with red apples and a shofar, Purim by masks and hamantashen, a large bejewelled chanukiah symbolises Chanukah; all vibrant and joyful.
Of the project, Posner explains: “It took quite a while to come up with the designs; I did lots of sketches and used a mixture of my imagination and found imagery from Jewish learning books. I wanted to make something bright and colourful and something that people could enjoy.”
Posner had always envisaged how she could make the space in her shul more effervescent and bring it to life. The works have been well received, Posner says. “So many people have commented on how the windows lift the ambiance of the shul.”
Embarking on the project for no fee, instead requesting sponsorship for the artworks from the community, Posner explains: “I’m proud when I go to shul. It’s nice that there is something I can leave there and that, in itself, is a very special feeling.” The windows have allowed for the traditions with which she has grown up to be eternalised for all the community to cherish. “I go to shul as much as I can,” Posner says. “I really believe in family values and the traditional side of Judaism.”
This is evident in the celebratory essence these windows exude. Her parents were tremendously proud to see the windows in their family shul and this inspired Posner to start work on a further piece of art: a wall mural to feature behind the Ark, continuing her celebration of Judaism through art.
• Charlotte Posner created a series of windows for Loughton Synagogue, where she grew up