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For those of you planning a Jewish wedding, finding the right Ketubah for your ceremony may be proving tricky. If you are looking of a sleek modern twist on the traditional Ketubah, then today’s post is just for you. ElenaBerlo OnceUponaPaper are experts in beautifully designed Ketubah, as well as guest books, invitations and family trees. Their Ketubah come in a variety of designs, from prints and water colours to woodcut and gold leaf, they will even design a custom-made commission for you, the possibilities and styles are endless. With an architect and artist background, their artwork is second to none and their designs totally beautiful and of an incredibly high standard. Genu and Elena have been kind enough to share some of their incredible work with us and tell us more about their business.
Elena Berlo is a full time painter blending the family life with her endeavour in fine arts. With a bachelors in Architecture from the University of Bucharest, she continued her artistic education at the Fashion Institute of Technology of NYC, and practiced architecture in well established NYC firms.
Genu Berlo takes the lead role in each project within the studio, and oversees all aspects of the concept, development and production of new and existing products. He also expands his interest beyond illustration into modern and contemporary art making. Genu has a bachelors in Maths, Architecture, and Continuing Education in fine arts at FIT NYC. Prior to inception of this venture, he worked as an architect for New York City’s most eminent architectural firms, including world’s highly renowned Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) architectural, planning and engineering company.
When did you start and where are you based
We started in 2009 and are based in New York. We mainly cover the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Europe; and worldwide.
What were you doing before? What made you start your business?
We had been working in the architectural field for over 10 years in various firms in NYC, but in 2009, with a more pressing creative impulse, we’ve start exploring commercial venues for our artistic expression.
Our artwork derived from our day to day professional experience. As an architect you always start with pencil on paper. You need to sketch your ideas and give form to many aspects of a building and its surroundings. Many times your space planning drawings start looking like a cluster of basic geometric shapes following a structure. From there, our pattern paintings surfaced, especially the Trees of Life. It clearly suited our trees to be part of such an important moment in people’s lives, as they are a symbol of new beginnings, shelter, support and endurance beyond our existence. So many stand now as a silent witness to the promises made and signed by the bride and groom on their handwritten and painted Ketubah.
How would you describe your style?
Although the taste in art is naturally shifting over time, we keep our ketubah and wedding related art style mostly within our initial intent, and it is driven by colorful, bohemian, whimsical and mid-mod. But we love to infuse it with latest pop art, neo expressionism, abstract and geometric features.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
The first art fairs were a very emotional experience; to be able to present our work to so many people was very fulfilling.
Until 2012, we were happy and proud with what we accomplished, selling online, going to art fairs, having satisfied customers that checked back on us for new work. But the day came when we received a request, to give one of our trees a new purpose, that of a guest book. And it all grew organically with every new product type being specifically requested by a new couple.
We were slowly drawn into this world of personalized artwork.
What makes you different to your competitors?
All of our ketubah, guest books and albums start as a painting and they will continue to do so as we love the sensibility of the paintbrush that stands out no matter what the end medium is. We are still, I believe, the only ones in the field offering a Woodcut Ketubah and painted guestbooks, and we are adding calligraphy and gold leaf as a special detail. With so many products being customizable, the large majority are made in-house. We continue to use museum quality materials for our artwork and for all that is born from it.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Trying to accommodate every request led us towards unexpected accomplishments. Communicating with the people who trusted our product and made the purchase. Receiving great feedback and pictures from them.
What sort of couple do you think you attract?
From boho to mid century modern and contemporary art fans, jewish and non-jewish couples
What would be your ideal wedding to work on?
We love working on new custom artwork commissions where the couple comes with their own request, something that we haven’t done yet, exciting and is yet circumscribed by our sense of style; and also couples who love commissioning us with complementary/matching art paintings and products.
Can you give me some information on your pricing structure?
We mostly make ketubot, guestbooks, albums, invites and combinations of them. Our current price structure can be reflected in short on the below categories of products, and it depends on size and how much added gold leaf and accents is desired:
A more detailed price info on all our product range can be found on our Ketubah Order Form
What is your ideal way to spend a day off?
Definitely by the beach and swimming with the fish, or a weekend seminar of Aikido in a remote European City.
What can you never leave the house without?
pen and paper.
Who would be your 5 dream dinner guests dead or alive?
Very limited number, but let’s try what comes to mind immediately: Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, Toth, Dan Winter, Jimmy Fallon
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would immediately go on a trip to see wonders of the planet, of course with my brush and sketchbooks in the backpack.
If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?
probably running own architectural office
We have many new designs and products each year, and a recent addition is our Square ketubah Designs which mostly came to be by couples request; we saw a trend going up during this whole year and it will continue for sure well into 2019. We always embed subtle details and symbols to talk about nature, love, travel, traditions and sacred geometry, subjects that are very dear to engaged couples.
Our new collection can be seen HERE and new designs will be added soon.
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