The Pieceworker

The Pieceworker 72dpi© DURGA YAEL BERNHARD

Here is a painting from my forthcoming calendar, The Jewish Eye 5778/2018 Calendar of Art.  I painted this in April, but the idea was in my head for a long time – ever since my daughter and I visited Ellis Island in 2015.

Growing up with an immigrant grandmother and immigrant stories that filled movies, textbooks, and literature, my imagination overflows in a patchwork image that represents both a single life – that of my maternal grandmother – and the lives of all New York immigrants of the early 1900s.  Driven from the poverty and persecution of Europe, they worked day and night to support themselves and their families.  Here a “pieceworker” takes on extra work at night, sewing a cuff or collar to be added later to a quantity of blouses.  The young seamstress lives a patchwork life of old and new, religious and secular, dreams and reality – pieced together in a puzzle of tenements, stairwells, and alleyways – with the open sea behind her and beyond that, the life she left behind.

The Jewish Eye 5778/2018 Calendar of Art will be going to press in a few weeks!

A good week to all –


D Yael Bernhard
Author / Illustrator of
LOVE ISNew! – a unique crossover book for all ages
THE LIFE OF AN OLIVENew!! Explore the life of a 2000-year-old olive tree
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!
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