Today we are highlighting one of our favorite jewelry and Judaica designers- Emily Rosenfeld! Her designs are simple, timeless and yet whimsical. She is also the sweetest and we love working with her, so we wanted to know more, and share a little more about Emily with you.
Have you always been an artist? How did you get started?
I have made jewelry for my whole adult life. I started during a gap year in college and continued after I graduated as an English major. Working for other designers not only taught me skills, but it showed me what a creative life looked like. I wanted to live with that kind of freedom to be myself, create a community and working life all at once. Three years after graduating, I started my own business, in a murphy bed closet in our tiny, perfect Oakland apartment.
There are a lot of nature elements in your pieces. What inspires your designs?
I draw a lot of inspiration from nature, from plants especially; my garden is another very real creative adventure. But I also draw from textiles, both prints and embroidered designs, patterns I loved since I was young. Because I studied literature and writing, I am also inspired by the desire to communicate, clearly. Using words in my work has been very important. My goal is to make meaningful pieces, whether it is through symbols or language, I want it to resonate.
How did you get into Judaica?
My second year in business, I started getting requests from my stores for Judaic jewelry pieces. My line has always been very graphic, using representational, rather than abstract shapes. My buyers saw that would lend itself easily to adding Jewish Stars and Chai's which is what I started with. Being Jewish, they felt comfortable asking. Those pieces sold well immediately. Wanting to build on that success and also feeling like I had stumbled into supremely comfortable and welcoming territory, I started to explore possibilities beyond jewelry. Mezuzot were the first Judaic pieces I designed. I loved working in a new way, carving wax, rather than only sawing metal. I loved the meaning and the possibilities. The response to that first group of three Mezuzot was so strong, it inspired me to keep exploring. Growing up culturally Jewish, but not practicing, making Judaic art has been a way to learn and explore my faith.
Any future designs you can share with us?
That is a tough one. I usually sit down with my notebook, a pencil and a big eraser with little sense of what is going to happen until something takes shape, usually after a lot of erasing. I will say that I am excited about my new Line Drawn Mezuzot series, and will definitely be adding to that group, as well as to the sculptural ones. Tzedakah feels so important, especially now, there will be new box designs soon as well.
Anything else you'd like to add!I feel so lucky to get to do this work. To be part of people's traditions, to find a place in their homes or as part of what they wear is an honor and something for which I will always feel grateful.