Linda Buck’s mezuzahs (left). Patti Tapper’s jewelry (right).
Linda Buck’s mezuzahs (left). Patti Tapper’s jewelry (right).

This year, BBAC’s Holiday shop, which is free and open to the public, will also see a selection of renowned Jewish artists and artists selling Judaica.

Now in its 41st year, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center’s Holiday Shop is an annual tradition where Metro Detroiters can buy unique gifts from more than 200 top local artists.

Opening Dec. 2 and running through Dec. 21, the 3,000-square-foot retail area will include an expanded home goods section in 2021, plus additional baby and children’s gift items.

This year, BBAC’s Holiday shop, which is free and open to the public, will also see a selection of renowned Jewish artists and artists selling Judaica. Here are three artists with Jewish connections to look for at the annual shopping event.

Patti Tapper

Jewish artist Patti Tapper centers her art around the idea of living a colorful life. Since the age of 7, she has had a passion for painting, beginning by working with pastel paints and later transitioning to oil paints.

As an adult, she received a bachelor of fine arts from Bowling Green State University to continue pursuing her love for art on a professional level.

In addition to painting, Tapper also works with mixed media sculptures, but the items she’ll have for sale at the BBAC Holiday Shop are her vibrant earrings made of clay.

“I like to work with bright colors,” says Tapper, a member of Temple Israel. “I work in polymer clay and usually add some metal components.”

Tapper, who has been making jewelry for 20 years, is particularly drawn to the color green, especially a chartreuse green that she integrated into her unique earring designs.

“That’s my favorite color,” she says of the shade.

By adding metal accents like gold or silver leaf as well, Tapper says her homemade earrings can be dressed up or down for everyday wear or special occasions.

“Polymer clay is awesome because it’s a very lightweight material,” she explains. “You can do a huge earring and it’s not uncomfortable for the wearer, which I love.”

Tapper also has a set of earrings for sale made with both metal and pearl.

“I got a kick out of pairing the metal with pearls because a lot of times, pearls are seen as really delicate and dressy,” she says. “I wanted to pair them in a different way so people could wear them with jeans or with their workout clothes, whatever they do during the day.”

Martha Zausmer

Martha Zausmer had an unconventional entry into the world of art. At the age of 52, she began her career making fine art, now practicing for more than 30 years.

“I went back to school,” she says of the transition in her 50s, graduating at age 60 with a bachelor of fine arts from Wayne State University. From there, she went on to teach children’s classes at BBAC, where she’ll be selling her Jewish-themed cards during the holiday show.

“Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center has been a home away from home for me,” she says. “It’s really a place of safety and encouragement and good art.”

Zausmer’s fine-art cards for sale come in a series of five designed with Jewish symbols. “I painted a collage [on them] to make large paintings,” she says of the cards, which were originally 24- by 36-inch pieces of art.

Then, having the paintings professionally photographed, Zausmer was able to create smaller versions in printed cards that are emblazoned with menorahs, Jewish sayings and more.

The Temple Israel member has been inspired by the classes she’s taken at the synagogue, where she’s learned about Jewish studies, life and culture. “I have been guided into some of the things I want to write on the paintings that I make,” she says of her education.

Zausmer’s Jewish gifts are colorful and often abstract. The cards are sold in boxed sets or individually. 

Martha Zausmer’s printed cards
Martha Zausmer’s printed cards
Linda Buck

Linda Buck has built a personal and professional life around art. Working as an art teacher for 20 years in both public and private schools, she continued to practice different forms of drawing — her go-to medium — throughout retirement and beyond.

“I’ve drawn all my life,” the artist says. 

Just before retiring, she took a creative workshop that introduced her to a new form of drawing that involved drawing on clay. “I really liked the texture and the final product,” Buck explains, “so I stuck with it.”

Now, Buck has been making clay-backed drawings for nearly two decades. Yet when some of her Jewish clients suggested making Judaica pieces to complement the candleholders she was creating at the time, Buck realized there was a new way to evolve her art even further.

Though Buck isn’t Jewish, she designs one-of-a-kind menorah and mezuzah drawings created on clay that she says have a “positive view of life.” For sale at the BBAC Holiday Show will be Buck’s Judaica artwork that includes beautiful blue and black mezuzahs, among others. 

“One of the things I really enjoy about being in an art show is that many people will ask me what a mezuzah is,” she explains. “I feel privileged to be able to tell them the significance.

“It really warms my heart to see so many people nod their heads and say, ‘Oh, that’s a really nice tradition.’ And I’m glad that I know it.” 

BBAC Holiday Show Details:

Dec. 2–Dec. 21, 2021
10 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 12 Noon–4 p.m. Sundays
1516 S. Cranbrook Rd.
Birmingham, MI 48009

Previous articleChanukah Parade of Love and Light to Make its Way Through West Bloomfield
Next article‘The Blessing Israel’ Brings a Jewish Flavor to a Christian Song