IN HER ART studio in her home in Tustin, Lisa Herzog has been designing and producing one-of-a-kind kippot for the last eight years. Her unique work enchants everyone who sees it. Each kippah is hand-crafted with a unique design. “I design each one with the person in mind, their style and personality,” said Lisa. “I want it to be an extension of who they are because it will be used during prayers and times of holiness.”
It all started when a friend asked her to somehow “fix” the kippah that came with her daughter’s tallit. Her daughter was about to become a bat mitzvah and didn’t at all like the kippah. Well, Lisa did more than fix it. She designed a completely new kippah based on the colors and design of the girl’s tallit. As people began to ask about that kippah, requests started coming in for more of her specialized designs.
To personalize the kippah even more, Lisa will use something meaningful from the person’s life. “I often use a button, cloth or other element with family history because that energy will be part of the design,” commented Lisa.
Lisa has incorporated heirloom handkerchiefs and lace, pieces of an old wedding gown, pearls and other pieces of jewelry as well as ribbon and trims in her designs. For my ordination I asked her to design a kippah to match the tallit I purchased last summer in Israel. When I saw what she had created, it was so much more exquisite than I could have imagined.
In addition to the beauty of her designs, she uses a fixative to attach the elements of the kippah and provides a lifetime guarantee on her work. The result is kippah that will stand the test of time.
Her work is so unique that on one trip to Israel she was asked by several merchants if she wanted to have her kippot sold in their establishments. “Design is unique everywhere in Israel,” said Lisa, “so I was incredibly honored.”
One of her favorite examples of how she works is when she was asked to design kippot for a family – a grandmother, a mother and granddaughter. “For each one I created something that reflected the individual’s personality, yet there was one element that was common in each kippot,” said Lisa.
Designs can be made to match specific occasions like weddings and anniversaries. Lisa is also currently developing a secondary line that can be ordered in bulk. “When the female friends of the bat or bar mitzvah attend the service, in many synagogues the only choice they have is that piece of lace to tack onto their heads, “ pointed out Lisa. “I am designing a beautiful kippot that can serve as a souvenir of the event.”
As a gifted artist, Lisa not only teaches art but has created jewelry and specific pieces of unique and decorative art as well as what she is now most famous for – her kippot! Throughout her life, Lisa has had numerous health challenges which have caused chronic pain, but it is her art that allows her to escape that. “When I am creating, everything else disappears.”
Lisa recently launched a website which showcases her designs and allows people to get in touch with her to order a kippah. You may contact Lisa via her website: www.custom-kippot.com or text phone at (714) 308-1812.
Rabbi Florence L. Dann has been a contributing writer to Jlife since 2004.