New York-based jewelry designer Ruta Reifen uses materials to express ideas too. Her work is less about decay, though, than inexorable growth, the enriching synthesis of opposites, and whimsy. Reifen, 28, has worked with plaster, paper, and copper; her Floral Charades series (2011-present) features epoxy, thread, and auto paint. The Waiting for Godot rings (2009) combine porcelain, gold, and – hidden under the gold – brass.
“Brass is a sassy material,” says the jewelry designer, who never wears jewelry herself, preferring to make for others. “When I teach, I always start with brass. It teaches you how to control your tools; you’re going to have fight it to do what you want to do.” The concept of plating the brass with gold is Reifen’s way of asking what we value. For her, the piece’s worth lies in its artistry, not its market price or the rarity of the material. Born and raised in Israel, Reifen has seen jewelry symbolize hardship, war, and religion as often as not, and, “because you wear it on yourself, it defines you,” she says. “That’s dangerous. I don’t want the work to be inherently political. The aesthetic value is paramount.”
Read the article here: American Craft Magazine August 2012.