Born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn in 1954, Izzy moved to Israel in 1978. After discovering pretty soon that Chemistry was not going to be the field in which he was going to, in the words of Billy Joel, "write his masterpiece", he switched professions to take up the art of the Sofer - or religious scribe. And he has been involved in the field of making letters ever since.
Izzy Pludwinski has been working as a professional calligrapher since 1980, starting out as a certified religious scribe (Sofer STaM) and then branching out into calligraphy and design. After professionally freelancing for six years, he expanded his studies by first studying privately for a short while with Lili Wronker and Alice and then by attending Roehampton Institute in England for two years under the tutelage of Ann Camp, Gaynor Goffe, Gerald Fleuss and Tom Perkins, completing their certificate in Calligraphy & Bookbinding. He has exhibited throughout Israel and has had one-man shows in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, London and Tokyo, as well as participating in Internatinal exhibtiions in the U.K., the U.S., and Russia.. His work has appeared in Letter Arts Review (over a dozen of his works have been accepted to the "Annual"), The Scribe, (author of article: "The Experience of the Hebrew Scribe", summer 1989) and The Encyclopedia Judaica among other publications. He was the calligrapher of The Jerusalem Hagaddah (illustrated by Yael Hershberg) the Moriah Hagadah (illustrated by Avner Moriah and the Rose Haggadah ( illustrated by Barbara Wolff). In 2004, Izzy had the honor of being invited to Wales to work on the Hebrew for the St. John's Bible, under Donald Jackson.
Izzy has taught Hebrew Calligraphy classes in Jerusalem for approximately 15 years and set up the Hebrew Calligraphy course at the Spiro Institute in London. In addition he has lectured at the Emunah College symposium on the Hebrew Letter and has given Hebrew Calligraphy workshops at the Israel Museum. He also gave a workshop on Calligraphy as Meditation at the International Calligraphy Conference in Sonoma, and recently in Tokyo..
Izzy is the author of the book, Mastering Hebrew Calligraphy, produced by Toby Press ( a subdivision of Koren Publishers). The book was chosen as one of the finalists for the Nationl Jewish Book Award. His new book, The Beauty of the Hebrew Letter, published by Brandeis University Press, has been receiving rave reviews.
After teaching many years in various adult educational institutions in Jerusalem, Izzy now teaches privately,either in his studio or internationally via zoom, in addition to keeping up a heavy workload as a freelance calligrapher. His varied commissions have included work for the President's Office, inscription of the dedication page on the Bible presented to the Pope by the Israeli government on the occassion of his visit to Jerusalem, lettering for the Yakar Synagogue in Jerusalem, and wine labels for the Golan winery. He was invited to Wales to write the Hebrew for the St. John's Bible Project, headed by Donald Jackson.
In addition to his own work, Izzy works with many of the top Judaica artists doing the calligraphy for their illuminations and illustrations. Among his collaborative works are The Jerusalem Haggadah (with Yael Hershkowitz), and The Rose Haggadah, The Book of Ruth and Song of Songs, all with the superbly talented Barbara Wollf. These works were exhibited at the Morgan Museum and Library in New York. He also did the writing for the Moraih Haggada and Chumash, as well as a Megillat Esther illuminated by Avner Moriah, which has made it to the Guiness Book of Records as the longest and largfest Megillah Scroll.
His personal work centers arounds the pure calligraphic presentation of (mainly) Jewish texts. He sees as his main calligraphic challenge, the "unsquaring" of the Hebrew script to allow for more expression. This has led him to develop an abstract Hebrew Calligraphy as well as font development. as expressed in his font Shir. He is interested in the philosophy behind the Zen arts and has taight Calliigraphy as meditation.
Izzy lives in Jerusalem.
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