Emily Rosenfeld Interview
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10 QUESTIONS WITH EMILY ROSENFELD
Risa Borsykowsky: How long have you been a jewelry designer?
Emily Rosenfeld: 19 Years.
Was this always your career?
Yes it has been.
How did you get started? Where did you train?
When I graduated with an English degree, I wasn't interested in teaching or writing so I felt open to exploring other interests. I had worked for a jewelry designer while in college and liked it enough to find another craftsperson with whom to work. I really didn't care what craft. But the stars aligned to match me up with another jeweler. That's where I learned some basic metals skills and where I learned how to craft a business. I took several 8 week jewelry classes to learn how to saw and solder and then just went for it.
Where do you get your inspiration?
That really is a mystery, but, I get a lot of inspiration from feelings, ideas and even relationships which I then translate into a visual form. The new Song Bird arose from my son's and my love of bird songs and our evenings listening to their calls. When I sat down to design a new Mezuzah that is what happened...
What do you enjoy most about this career?
Everything. I love that in my day I get to focus on the creative, whether it is designing, making or getting the work out to customers. Because it is all about sharing my work, a large part of my day is also about relationships the people I work with in my studio, my retailers and my customers. I feel really blessed.
Who or what had the greatest influence on you as you developed as an artist, or did you always have your own style? How would you describe your style?
I think my style is very graphic and in some sense is most influenced by my limitations. I can draw what I can draw. Because I am self taught I have paid a lot of attention to my customers responses and tried to really find my own strong voice more than looking around at what other jewelry designers are doing.
What do you do for fun?
So much of my non working time centers around my son that right now fun is about having fun with him. We take walks by the stream, take bike rides and read read read. I also love to cook, spend time in my garden and see my friends. Really I love to make a welcoming and warm place to be with the people I love.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
I would say not to think too hard about the risks and just work hard on creating a viable body of work and throw it and yourself out there. Then pay attention to what is working and what is not and don't think you know more than your customer about what good smart design looks like. Things seem harder than when I started but I think older artists thought the same thing back then.
How would you describe your creative process?
My process begins in my head. I think about ideas or themes or imagery that feel important or interesting. Then I just start drawing. My work is really 2 dimensional at heart so my sketch book is very important. Then, when there are too many iterations of the same idea I bring out the metal and the saw or the wax, if it is a bigger piece, and hone in.
Who is your favorite artist? Musician? Writer?
Favorite is a tough idea but I would say that folk art and folk music is what I am most drawn to and excited by. I love to see the hand of the maker and the pure vision of someone unschooled but wonderfully skilled. I think both genres make me think about beauty in new and unexpected ways.