Jewelry Talk - Interview with Ruth Edelson
by Alex Story
Ruth Edelson's jewelry is deeply inspired from natural and architectural elements, incorporating movement and texture as key components in her handcrafted work.
Q: How did you first get interested in jewelry design? A: When I was in graduate school, I took a lost wax casting course at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven. My first attempt was my husband’s wedding ring for our wedding 52 years ago. Cast in
18K gold, it cost $80 at the time. I thought, this is too expensive for a hobby and I am not sufficiently skilled for a career. I went on to become an FDA regulatory attorney. It was not until I retired, that I happily returned to making jewelry.
Q: What jewelry designers do you admire? A: Ted Muelhling, Gabrilla Kiss, Esther Assouline
Q: What are your inspirations? And where do you go to get inspired? A: I am inspired by natural and architectural forms with particular attention to texture and movement. I find inspiration on the ground, in the body (the dendritic cells my scientist husband studies), in near and far environments, in museums, in books and sometimes even on twitter.
Here are some examples of literal and derivative concepts.
From a book—
From Twitter -
From the body - (dendritic cells which have a registered copyright)
While I often directly cast natural or textile materials, I try to take their inherent beauty to the next level of creativity by further manipulation. For example; a lace cuff with enhanced engraving.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a designer? A: The collaborative process with a client brings the design process to a different level and can be very inspiring creating new design avenues. Importantly, jewelry is extra special when there is meaning, a message, or commemoration of an occasion. The dendritic cells mentioned above have often been given to cancer patients as an amulet to symbolize the body’s immune defense. For custom designs, the message can be private. For example here is a wedding band created for the husband whose wife’s maiden name was Dill (the fronds were embedded in the casting for texture).
Q: How has Covid influenced your design process?
A: My creative process during Covid has definitely shifted. With a limitation of some resources and services, I have evolved into experimenting with different techniques and styles. Although not grateful for the pandemic, I am grateful that it has required me to gather inner resources and strengths to explore new directions.