Rachel Kranzberg Miller
Rachel graduated from Boston University with a bachelor of fine arts in painting and then went on to get a degree in fashion design at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. During her decade designing women’s sportswear for many Seventh Avenue companies, she traveled through Europe and Southeast Asia, which inspired a love for handmade crafts, textiles, and antiquities.
Known for her delicate and personal pieces, which are made with silver, gold and precious gemstones, Rachel uses hand building techniques to create Judaica such as mezuzah cases, yads and Stars of David, as well as wearable designer jewelry. Making art that relates to her love and devotion to her faith has been especially gratifying to Rachel.
Judaica is the vehicle that brings together Rachel's creative energies and her personal values. Tapping into the history and traditions of Judaism gives her work tremendous significance. Artistic relevance emerges from the link between her creative vision and her understanding these traditions. Rachel respects the laws of the Jewish faith and creates art which can be used as ritual object or symbol of faith.
Rachel's design process begins with sketching, as she works out major design decisions and dilemmas with pen and paper. The medium of silver clay informs the next steps. Silver metal clay starts off soft and pliable. Its unique qualities allow manipulation throughout the construction of the piece. The consistency of the clay changes as it dries which gives Rachel the opportunities for building, texturizing, shaping and carving. After the clay is fired and becomes solid silver, the surface can be worked by chasings, polishing and patinas.
Rachel is influenced by art, architecture, and even pop culture. Her collection of mezuzah cases based on classic architecture are not rigid copies. Through the use of custom textures Rachel transforms these buildings into fluid objects of art, free zones for the viewer's imagination. Many of the original textures she creates are inspired by calligraphy, illuminations, art nouveau and Moorish and Islamic art, and the arts and crafts movement of the late 1800s. She makes a piece that is relevant in our time but also brings these ancients values to the present.
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