Artist Spotlight: Andrea Rosenfeld
Fine art with a mission
Andrea Rosenfeld grew up making furniture for her Lego and Lincoln Log buildings out of paper and tape, knitting clothing for her Barbie dolls and drawing constantly on any surface she could find.
That creativity got her to where she is today — skilled in metal working, loom weaving, silk screening, lithography, photography, garment design, drawing, painting, ceramics, woodworking and jewelry design. Rosenfeld makes use of a combination of techniques and eco-friendly, natural materials while placing emphasis on texture, movement, negative space and playfulness as a main force in her creations.
Design-wise, I tap into playfulness and juxtaposition of textures,” Rosenfeld said. “I grab a bit of feeling from a cool, smooth stone or silky fabric and contrast it with the sleekness of metal or the dryness of a lava rock.
“Just as in my painting or drawings, I enjoy making people think when they view my art jewelry,” she continued. “To me, it’s more than something to throw on to complete an outfit. I want my clients to view the same piece differently each time they wear it and hopefully see something new.”
Art in Motion
Rosenfeld has an extensive background from which to draw from, as she’s gone from being a student at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology to being assistant merchandiser for Perry Ellis Portfolio Menswear and director of merchandising and operations for Isaac Mizrahi Ltd. before creating and owning her own jewelry line.
“At first glance, my pieces are uniquely different because I create my jewelry designs as a piece of art, not just a simple piece of jewelry that can be worn every day, with every outfit,” Rosenfeld said. “I embrace fluidity, working with techniques that do need a bit of discipline and structure to contain stones or keep a particular form. I’ve dabbled in kinetic jewelry because I thought it would be fun for the wearer to manipulate the composition of the jewelry piece they were wearing, to be its designer, so to speak.”
Although she creates around minerals, sometimes — as with the kinetic pieces —the gemstones are the least important aspect. At those times, the technique and structure of the piece takes center stage.
“I may work with an engineer to help determine how to get the design to move the way I envision,” Rosenfeld said. “Once I get the ‘how to’ set, then I will find gems that I enjoy working with or are the size that the specific design calls for.
“Right now I’m working on functional pendants, so keeping the weight lighter than my traditional art jewelry is the main focus,” she continued, “but stone placement is important as well, as not to hinder the function of the form. Just as I experiment in my techniques, I also experiment with the creative process.”
Rosenfeld has two lines and began with Hot Rox Jewelry, which is more beaded, wire wrapped work with a bit of soldering, but decided to let go of the beaded pieces and move to her Andrea Rosenfeld collection of higher-end designs, incorporating work of other artists (collaborations), kinetic work and now her functional pendant pieces. This collection is pure art jewelry using soldering, woodworking, mixed materials and cold connection techniques that continue to challenge her.
“Sometimes the stones and minerals themselves will inspire me and sometimes a tree or billboard in Manhattan will cause me to pick up pencil and paper,” she said. “Sometimes a functional concept will drag me into new challenges, like when a vision of a roller coaster lured me into working with rare earth magnets and kinetic techniques. It’s really exciting to be inspired by anything at any time. It makes for an interesting, creative life!”
Rosenfeld goes through her art experiences with an open mind, which is how she got involved in the healing aspects of stones. A friend’s sister asked for one of her necklaces to help her feel good during her chemo treatments to combat leukemia and her mother is also a two-time breast cancer survivor, so she decided to do some research.
“Being a fine artist and spending hours upon hours creating, I tend to lose myself and connect with something bigger while working,” Rosenfeld said. “Since that comes naturally to me, designing with healing stones was an extension of what I do naturally. I studied Reiki, the Japanese art of healing through touch, and I cleanse the stones I use in my jewelry designs to offer a bit more than mere art.
“Some clients request pieces with the healing elements and others don’t — it’s a matter of preference,” she continued. “I promote myself as an artist first and figure that if I cleanse my work and it helps someone emotionally or physically, then that is a bonus for both of us.”
What’s also a bonus is that Rosenfeld works with eco-friendly products; recycled metals and fair trade or consciously mined minerals go hand-in-hand with her healthy jewelry and she would prefer that the art jewelry she creates doesn’t come from another person’s suffering. She tries to only buy from companies who do the lapidary work themselves and who can tell her where the stones were mined.
She’s also a volunteer and the chairwoman for the Expressions/Art Tent at the Susan G. Komen Foundation Komen Race for the Cure and donates a percentage of every sale to a different charity, typically each month or so, and founded an art mentoring company, Open Studio Coach.
“I accept only a handful of artists a year who are absolutely committed to propelling their art business,” Rosenfeld said. “I offer them an abundance of guidance — merchandising, social media, wholesale, pricing, branding and more.”
As for current projects, she is working on a collaboration with a glass artist from Boston on higher-end art jewelry while also continuing to work on a collection of limited edition functional pendants in a variety of price ranges.
“I enjoy collaborating with other artists,” Rosenfeld said. “It ‘ups’ our game and opens our minds, helping us to think in another direction. But if it feels wrong, it probably is wrong.
“Artists tend to jump into ventures because they feel they can sell without understanding how to be a prosperous business person or stopping to honor themselves and their business mission,” she continued. “If you are creating your work for sale, then it’s a business and it should be treated as such.”
She also advises others to respect and love the product. Whether you’re a wholesaler or retailer — show your emotions to your clients, get them involved in the art and educate them and you’ll not only sell more, but open new doors that may lead you to places you’ve never dreamed of.
By Abby Heugel