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In conversation with Ruta Reifen

Interview  /  ArtistsBehind the Scenes
Published: 02.11.2015
In conversation with Ruta Reifen.
Author:
Sanna Svedestedt
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Gothenburg
Edited on:
2015
Ruta Reifen. Brooch: FloBR4, 2015. Oxidized copper, sterling silver, stainless steel. Photo by: Ruta Reifen. From series: FloralForever. Hand carved, electroformed, fabricated. Ruta Reifen
Brooch: FloBR4, 2015
Oxidized copper, sterling silver, stainless steel
Photo by: Ruta Reifen
From series: FloralForever
Hand carved, electroformed, fabricated
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Two main concepts recur in my work; cultural traditions of gift-giving as well as modern interpretations of biblical stories and their practice. These are in the back of my mind and piling up on my shelves.
 
Welcome to the Klimt02 community! You are a jeweller currently living and working in Brooklyn. We are curious to know more about your practise. Can you walk us through a “regular day at work”?
Every day I start with a completely clean and organized bench. I walk into my studio every single day dancing to a chosen theme song of the week, don’t know or mind if anyone is watching (currently “Can I Kick It”, A Tribe Called Quest).
I’m working on my ongoing collection SoFine, a fine jewelry line that takes up my mornings, it’s very refreshing and challenging to create work that holds artistic significance, materialistic value and commercial appeal.

Developing my artwork is a slower meditative process. Working mainly with wax, I sculpt imaginative forms, often-floral arrangements. I design through craft, making and experimenting with formal configurations. I’ll organize as I work, I need to see forms clearly coming together with no background distraction, this allows intuitive work, to create a desired romantic silhouette and feel in the pieces. I mostly use electroforming in my studio to translate wax to metal, then additional editing through metal manipulation.

Daydreaming is inevitable, an occasional ipad streaming, walking an unnecessary ten blocks for a diet coke (or chocolate) - all part of the process. Ideas need at least ten New York blocks to brew... Three days a week I teach, it’s an integral part of my practice, an exciting exchange of knowledge and ideas. I enjoy getting others excited about what they're doing.

What would you say define your artistic work?
Two main concepts recur in my work; cultural traditions of gift-giving as well as modern interpretations of biblical stories and their practice. These are in the back of my mind and piling up on my shelves.

Considering the pieces I make as offerings, that tell a story, each piece of wearable art I create is a symbol of splendor and romance that resonates with nature’s harmony and beauty. I’m inspired by my appreciation for organic shapes that result in distinctive floral-form combinations, different surface treatments and selective use of color or metal finish.
 
Together with art historian Bella Neyman you have founded Platforma, a curatorial initiative to promote contemporary art jewelry as an independent art practice and to expand a collecting audience. What is your approach to this mission?
To promote art jewelry as the meaningful and relevant art practice that it is, we present art jewelry in alternative ways. Disrupting conventional gallery-artist relationships by offering alternative platforms for collaboration. Complimenting existing gallery and exhibition settings, we aim to attract non-jewelry crowds as well as jewelry enthusiasts through themed exhibitions that highlight unusual commonalities between different practicing artists. For example with The Grass is Always Greener, we collaborated with Sofia Björkman’s Sweden based Platina Gallery for Schmuck 2015. Swedish artist’s presented alongside American artists in three generations of educational lineage to show the evolvement of art jewelry on both sides of the ocean. Stay tuned for our upcoming project for Schmuck 2016!
 
How do you experience the jewelry scene in New York?
There are many jewelry scenes in New York, each has it’s own “rules and pools”. I am an active member of the art jewelry scene and a beginner in the alternative fine jewelry scene. Artists work very hard to be acknowledged here, the quality of jewelry designers or artists in NYC is incredible, my colleagues are certainly a source of motivation. I imagine jewelry artists cluster and unite in many places, here in NYC, building a supportive community is crucial due to the head-spinning pace this city encourages. Luckily friends from RISD, home and long-time NYC artists have accepted me in to their circles. Organizations based in NYC like WJA, CJDG, schools like Brooklyn Metal Works and 92Y all help cultivate a community and improving the jewelry field.

You were born in Jerusalem and started on the jewelry path by studying Jewelry Design at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. Recently you visited Israel where you have part in a group jewelry biennale in A Matter of Time; Israeli Jewelry 7, curated by Prof. Iris Pishof. Please tell us more about this project.
The jewelry exhibition consists of two parts: in its center, contemporary; in the background, historical jewelry made in Israel since its inception. The contemporary section of the exhibition is a group exhibition and exhibits a rich diversity of materials and techniques, themes and emphases. The works are one-off and reflect a return to crafts – a marked trend in worldwide contemporary jewelry. Additionally, the exhibition hosts older jewelry that tells the story of the history of jewelry in Israel. The story of Israeli jewelry is therefore a story about an encounter between East and West, and between tradition and innovation, as a meeting point for different jewelry making traditions.

Thank you!
 
Ruta Reifen. Necklace: FloNK1, 2015. Oxidized copper, sterling silver, thread. Photo by: Ruta Reifen. From series: Floral Forever. Hand carved, electroformed, fabricated. Ruta Reifen
Necklace: FloNK1, 2015
Oxidized copper, sterling silver, thread
Photo by: Ruta Reifen
From series: Floral Forever
Hand carved, electroformed, fabricated
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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