handmade abstract clock with a triangle, rhombus, and two circles on it made by Danielle Rahmoloer
Handmade abstract clock by Danielle Rahmoloer

Holiday shoppers will find All the Small Things at Soul Studio’s annual gift show.

Robin Schwartz Contributing Writer

They say big things come in small packages and that’s certainly true at the Friendship Circle Farber Center in West Bloomfield. The Dresner Foundation Soul Studio recently unveiled its annual holiday gift show filled with colorful, creative, handmade items made by artists with special needs. Things like hand-woven pillows, mini ceramic tumblers, Judaica and more are on display and available for purchase. This year’s exhibition is titled All the Small Things.

A shimmery pillow by Andy Feinberg with shimmery thread and fringe on the end.
A shimmery pillow by Andy Feinberg. Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

“Our aim was to create affordable artworks and homewares,” says Exhibitions & Program Manager Anthony Marcellini. “For the most part, the items are small. Things like woven shawls, ceramic plates, cups and vases, travel mugs, coasters, abstract clocks, napkins, mezuzahs and more.”

There are also some larger items, Marcellini explains. Hand-sewn women’s clothing, fiber wall hangings, aprons and even an artist-designed skateboard deck, to name a few. The show also includes realist and abstract paintings and sculptures ranging from 3-12 inches in size along with more than 50 poster-sized prints spanning Soul Studio’s almost three years in operation. New, handmade and one-of-a-kind items will be introduced weekly, so the inventory will ebb and flow throughout the holiday season. The show runs through February 2019.

David Kole, 24, of West Bloomfield is one of the artists. He’s in the studio two days a week and loves making items out of wood like pens, coasters and sculptures. He also enjoys ceramics, painting and more. In addition to his artwork, he’s receiving on-the-job training at Soul Café, adjacent to the art studio and gallery.

“Being involved in Soul Studio has taught me how to use my creativity in new ways, how to be more independent and develop new skills,” Kole says. “The gift show is great. There’s a lot of nice artwork there. I feel very happy to see all the hard work that we artists and staff did. I feel very happy that a lot of my artwork has sold.”

Canvas painting of a winter scene with trees with snow and a small house by Fabian Israel.
A winter scene by Fabian Israel. Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

Artist Fabian Israel, 24, of Novi used acrylics to paint a cozy winter scene for the gift show. The image depicts a cabin in the woods surrounded by tall, snow-covered trees and evergreens. Israel has a remarkable ability to rapidly duplicate what he sees in front of him with vibrant colors, dimension and intricate detail.

“I like to paint landscapes and cities,” he says. “I like to paint some cars. It makes me happy.”

Soul Studio first began as a pilot program in 2013 and opened in its present home on Drake Road in 2016. To date, nearly 100 artists have participated in the program. There are currently 62 active participants who are paired with professional artists and staff members. Each artist receives 40 percent of the proceeds from the sale of his or her work.

“Our holiday gift show is one of the most fun and festive times for our artists. It’s amazing to see all they’ve accomplished,” says Bassie Shemtov, who directs Friendship Circle of Michigan with her husband, Rabbi Levi Shemtov. “We have one incredible artist, Felicia, who has cerebral palsy and has limited control of her arms and legs and cannot speak — but she’s creating stunning artwork by drawing with her eyes using a computerized communication device. Our artists are inspiring and they teach us something new every day. What’s happening at Soul Studio is truly magical. We invite people to come and see for themselves.”


All the Small Things runs through Feb. 26, 2019, at Soul Studio, West Bloomfield. Friendshipcircle.org.soul.

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