Artist Uses Oreos To Show Value of Women's Work

Judith Klausner Also Makes Fine Art From Eggs On Toast

By Penina Yaffa Kessler

Published August 12, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Carving mini-sculptures from the cream in the middle of Oreo cookies or turning eggs on toast into fine art are the best kind of challenges for Judith Klausner. The Jewish artist likes to transform everyday household items into works of art and, in the process, inject aesthetic meaning into women’s traditional chores. She hopes her art sheds light on is the beauty of the choices available to modern women.

“I can choose to spend my day baking a loaf of bread, or to grab a package off a grocery store shelf after a long day at work,” says Klausner, who lives in Somerville, Mass. “I can choose to spend my evenings embroidering. I can choose to combine these things and call it art.”

Artistic Chores Judith Klausner uses everyday items in her art to demonstrate the aesthetic value of women’s work.
Courtesy of Judith Klausner
Artistic Chores Judith Klausner uses everyday items in her art to demonstrate the aesthetic value of women’s work.

Klausner’s creations embrace the crafts that once bound women to the home and embellish how they may now function as means of female empowerment. She hopes to bring to life the fine line a Jewish feminist must walk: the merging of homemaking and ambition. In an interview with the Forward, she admitted she “feels history” in the process, identifying with the simple pleasures of previous generations while feeling repulsed that “they had no other course.” The beauty of “From Scratch” she says, is about having the ability to pursue traditional crafts of pleasure rather than duty.

Her “From Scratch” project include Oreo Cameos – which feature astonishingly minute detail on the two-inch diameter cookie. They can take anywhere from three to six hours to complete. Even once they’re done, she still has to struggle to preserve them, a tricky process since the cookie cream may lose its shape and erase some of the painstaking detail that took so long to eke out. Klausner professes that although she is experimenting with sealants as means of preservation, the cameos are largely a display piece.

Other elements of the series include a piece of real toast emblazoned with an embroidered fried egg. Klausner said it took nearly thirty hours to complete the work, with the toast getting more and more brittle.

“Stitching on the egg was both time-consuming and nerve wracking,” she said. “As I got closer and closer to finishing, the toast got drier and the area I was embroidering became less bread and more thread.”

However, working with difficult materials does not faze Ms. Klausner. She derives pleasure from “trying to look at everyday objects beyond their primary identities, as materials with their own particular aesthetic and sculptural qualities.”

Klausner lists a Judaic form of social activism as the primary inspiration for her work. She grew up attending Workman’s Circle schools and Camp Kinderland in the summer, and proclaims “these communities helped to form my ideas about our responsibilities to one another as people, and the role of art in communication… [they] instilled in me this belief that to share an experience of the world is a truly worthy goal.”

If a few Oreos melt along the way, that’s no problem, she says. Her purpose is to “help others to view the world just a little bit differently.”

“If I can share the beauty I see in an everyday object like a cookie, or cause someone to think critically about what it means that they can chose to buy a loaf of bread,” she said. “I will feel I have succeeded.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.