Chuppahs by Mama Abby win hearts, and awards

Abby Block stitches her family’s past with its future

Handmade with love. Erin and Jon Gordon with his grandparents, Abby and Larry Block, beside the chuppah Abby made. image
Handmade with love. Erin and Jon Gordon with his grandparents, Abby and Larry Block, beside the chuppah Abby made.

It is the centerpiece of any Jewish wedding ceremony. 

In fact, it's hard to imagine a more beautiful way to begin a new life than standing together under a chuppah, surrounded by love. Meant to symbolize the shelter of the new home of the happy couple, the chuppah is open on all four sides to show that this home will always welcome family and friends. Simple or elaborate, dripping in flowers or modestly adorned, there is something truly magical about a chuppah that touches all, and sets a tone of love. 

But standing under a chuppah designed and created by Abby Block brings the feelings of appreciation and joy--and the sense o f l'dor vador --to a whole new level. 

Block has been an artist her whole life and has worked in a variety of media. Her current work is as an "unconventional quilter," Block said. "I like to create my own designs and execute them, rather than work from a pattern or a template."  

Over the years, she has designed and created chuppot for each of her three children, and recently for two of her grandchildren. 

"The chuppah means everything to us," said Block's grandson Jon Gordon. "Mama Abby poured her soul into the beautiful work of art, and we feel so grateful that we got married--*twice--underneath it. It's an invaluable piece that we will forever cherish." 

In 2021 she participated in the prestigious Chicago Botanic Garden Fine Art of Fiber Show with the personalized, quilted chuppah she created for Jon and his wife, Erin. Block won third place. Then, this past fall, Block once again took part in the Botanic Garden show, with her wall hanging entitled "4th Floor Walkup" --and this time won first prize. 

Block said she is grateful to be able to create these works of art for her children and grandchildren. "What can I tell you? Love is what it's all about," Block said. "And if I can share some of my talents to express my love to them, that's a real bonus that I was blessed with. It's really a good feeling to know that they have a piece of me that they are living with now and will keep living with." 

Each of the chuppot Block has created have certain commonalities, including two trees that intertwine with the bride and grooms' names embroidered in Hebrew; they all have leaves that are only attached at the top, with up to six generations of family members embroidered on the back of each leaf "so their ancestry is standing with them;" and they each have a saying embroidered on the bottom, chosen by the bride and groom. 

Block takes great care to personalize each chuppah. The details are astounding. As Jon described, "I love how the chuppah reflects our relationship and our love. We got engaged at Rosewood Beach and deer came out of the ravine, which is all depicted on the chuppah . We are both in touch with nature; there's also vegetables, two trees reflecting our families coming together, the lake, and the sunset. The chuppah reminds us how lucky we are to be together in this lifetime." 

Whether it is hanging over their beds or along a stairwell wall, each of Block's children--and now, her two married grandchildren--have them displayed in places of honor in their homes. 

Block's other grandson Matthew Gordon got married to his wife Shoshana under a chuppah created with love by his grandma. "Our Mama Abby's chuppah was deeply meaningful to us when we were married," Matthew said. "To be married under a hand-crafted piece of art, with the names of our ancestors written on leaves dangling above our heads, was very special. Most of all, we love that it was made by Mama Abby for us." 

*Jon and Erin had a small, family-only wedding during the pandemic, then a larger celebration one year later. 


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