As an accomplished needlewoman and Judaic folklorist, Shirley creates wearable art and functional ceremonial objects for synagogue and home. Her Judaic collection includes pieced and painted challah covers, wall hangings, kippot (skull caps), tallitot (prayer shawls), chuppot (marriage canopies) and Torah mantles. She is available for lectures and workshops.
Her work has been selected for many shows including in the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia PA; “Fabrics of Faith: Contemporary Liturgical Textiles,” at the Washington National Cathedral; the Goldman Gallery of Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington and the Baltimore Jewish Community Center. Her commissioned pieces include eight Torah mantles for Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase MD; a chuppah/wall hanging for Temple Beth Ami, Rockville MD; Torah mantle, parochet and reader’s table covering for Gesher Day School in Fairfax VA; six Torah mantles and an Ark Cover for Temple Sinai, Washington DC; a chuppah/memorial quilt/wall hanging for Farbrangen, Washington, DC; a nine-foot wall hanging, Temple Solel, Phoenix AZ; Torah mantles for Tikvat Israel Congregation, Rockville MD, and a chuppah for Temple Anshe Shalom in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada– a memorial tribute to her parents.
She was the director of the Israeli Folklore and Folkdance Department of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington for thirteen years. She is the founder and director of ArtSites, the Guild for Judaic Art.
Shirley was awarded First Prize in Wearable Art in the 1995 Potomac Craftsmen (fiber) Guild 50th Anniversary Show and also received a grant from the same organization to construct a large four-panel wall hanging entitled “The Sum Total.” Her work appears in several books, such as The Best of Silk Painting by Diane Tuckman and Jan Janus and The New Work of Our Hands by Mae Rockland Tuplo.
Her philosophy comes from a folklore background– teach others and you will learn; express what is meaningful for people and hopefully they will understand and feel joy from your work.