Erica Rosenfeld's bold statement pieces start off as patterned molten and fused glass that is stretched into long rods called murrine. The rod is cut into slices, carved and drilled to give us the familiar pieces of murrine we see in her various designs.
Her detailed, awe-inspiring glass jewelry goes on an amazing journey from the UrbanGlass studio facility to the UrbanGlass|ware storefront. It is such a pleasure to learn a bit more about her and her studio practice.
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
I draw inspiration for my jewelry from mid-century modern design and my collections. Throughout my life I have been a collector and a hoarder. I am constantly reorganizing, cataloging and creating shrines with the objects that I find. I think that this ritual is part of my art making process and inspires the materials I use. Since 2007 I have created an ongoing installation, made from objects that I find and make, in my studio. The room has turned into a large-scale shrine made up of 1000’s of objects and drawings ranging in size. These "artifacts" end up in my artwork and sometimes in my jewelry work. Being surrounded by them keeps me immersed in my artistic disciplines and keeps me constantly thinking about my artwork. I think of this room as my “Eden”. It is my sanctuary and serves as a means to preserve perceived memory. It enmeshes different artistic disciplines in a memory-based, magical realism scaffold-ed by nostalgia.
When did you launch your first collection?
I have been beading for 35 years, since the age of 7 and working with glass for the last 18 years. I began selling jewelry to my friend's parents at the age of 11 and launched my first collection for stores at the age of 22.
Are you excited about any new projects?
I am excited about a solo show I will have next year at the Heller Gallery in NYC. It is part of an ongoing time based installation I have been working on since 2012. The exhibit will be comprised of different installations in the gallery that describe the memory of a dream that morphs and becomes more abstract over time. The next segment of the dream-scape will take place in a forest at Twilight.
Which artist/designer do you wish you could meet?
I would love to meet Jennifer Rubell and Marina Abromovic.
What's your favorite snack after a long day in the studio?
I have a few favorite snacks- Haribo raspberry candies, goat or sharp cheddar cheese with fruit and a glass of whiskey (if I have been cold working all day).
You can see our full collection of Erica's work at UrbanGlass|ware and click here to see select pieces from our store. Additionally, Erica is scheduled to teach a class this Spring called Wearable Pattern: Kilnforming and Coldworking Jewelry.
Looking for the perfect gift for your valentine? We've got a few ideas that are sure to make anyone swoon.
Chocolates by Brooklyn based Nunu Chocolates
. Have you tried their salted caramels? #yesplease!
Valentines cards by Brooklyn based HartlandBrooklyn
are the sweetest accompaniment to any gift!
What's more romantic than the Brooklyn Bridge? I don't have an answer for you. But what I can offer you is a fused glass plate that commemorates one of the most romantic locations in New York.
Need more ideas on what to give your sweetie on the 14th? Come on in to UrbanGlass|ware!
The holidays are right around the corner so we've put together a small collection of some of our favorite gifts here at UrbanGlass|ware, that are sure to please! Click on any of the images below to learn more.
The UrbanGlass Terrarium and Glass Candy Cane Ornaments.
Little Dipper Stemless Wine Glass and Sparkle Earrings by Clair Raabe.
Brooklyn Bridge Coasters by Kaley Finegan and the Brooklyn Spaces book.
So many tempting things, it'll be hard to not shop for yourself!
For your convenience, we've expanded our hours for the month of December to be open every day of the week leading up to the holidays. See our "Visit Us" page for details.
In celebration of Shop Small Saturday we're offering 10% off of any purchase made at UrbanGlass|ware! This discount applies to all purchases made in store and online on November 26th, 2016.
Use the code ShopSmallUG on our website to receive your discount.
Come check out what's new at UrbanGlass|ware. We are fully stocked with handmade jewelry, housewares, gifts and holiday ornaments!
We're thrilled to bring in a new product under the UrbanGlass|ware brand. We will celebrate the unveiling of the UrbanGlass Terrarium on Wednesday October 26th, from 5-8pm. Won't you join us?
The UrbanGlass Terrarium is designed by Brooklyn-based artist Amy Lemaire, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Each piece is hand-blown on the torch in the UrbanGlass studio and comes with an air plant, but can be used to display a variety of floral arrangements. Inspired by Lemaire's decade of work as a floral designer, the UrbanGlass Terrarium is reminiscent of Banksia tree flower pods.
Every terrarium is unique but falls within the following general dimensions:
5" l. x 3" w. x 2" h.
Here's a video of Amy Lemaire making one of the UrbanGlass Terrariums:
UrbanGlass Terrarium from Rachel Rader on Vimeo.
Every year, UrbanGlass asks a local maker to design and fabricate centerpieces for our Annual Gala Fundraiser. With Pam and Alison's collaborations gaining momentum over the last few years, they were the perfect pick. Their work together is intuitive and playful while also skillfully made. They met in Brooklyn in 2012 and after teaming up on several projects- including "Pom Pom Party", an installation inspired by their common interest in mushroom identification and tie-dye- their work evolved into the sculptural vessels displayed on our auction tables this year, and now available for sale in the UrbanGlass store. It was a lot of fun chatting with them about their process and dynamic as a team and we're excited to see what might be up for them next.
If you had to pick out each other's artistic traits, what would they be?
Alison: I'm very lucky to get to work with Pam. She's really special and has a unique point of view. I think she is very brave both as a person and artistically. What I mean is, she's not afraid to take risks and to experiment. No idea seems out of reach if it's something that one of us wants to accomplish. I think I tend to be a little bit more conservative and worry more about planning the outcome, but Pam is more free and open to unforeseen possibilities that come from leaving things to chance. From working with her I've learned to trust in accidents and not to see the unexpected as a mistake, but as an opportunity to try something new and to go in a totally different direction.
I think Pam also has a sort of tongue-in-cheek humor that comes out occasionally. The best example of this is her idea to display some of our centerpieces on top of exotic fruit soda cans. The juxtaposition of the cheap soda with the glass at the fancy gala was really funny to me, and I thought it was a clever way to remind people that the forms we were using were from actual fruits and vegetables.
Pam: I'm always fascinated with Alison's abilities as a maker. Her apartment is filled with different projects she's worked on over the years like miniature crayon castings and some really funny and disturbing books she collaged as an adolescent, which I love. She's also covered cheap plastic toys in swarovski crystals which I think is a very clever idea.
She has great attention to detail, her fruit and veggie waxes were always combined very thoroughly where as mine were sloppily put together, I was impressed with her wax working skills. She has great craftsmanship which I admire.
What drew each of you to glass and who's idea was it to start collaborating?
Alison: When I was a kid I saw a man at a crafts fair who made glass vases and bowls and nick-knacks. I had never realized that glass was a viable medium to work with, like clay or wood. At Alfred, I took a couple classes and just knew that I wanted to keep going and to get better. Glass to me is like a musical instrument. It takes dedication and practice, but the more you work at it, the better you get. There's just something really satisfying about making something out of glass successfully that utilizes the skills you've spent years acquiring. I guess that's why I keep working with the material and why I love it so much.
We started working together in the hot shop, and naturally started to influence each other and give each other ideas. We also like to tie dye together and had made some collaborative jewelry, so when the open call for the window at UrbanGlass came up, we decided to apply to do something together. That was our first big collaborative project. From that opportunity, we got the chance to show similar work at Pelham Art Center, and at Tiger Lounge in Brooklyn.
Pam: Glassblowing is really challenging but fun to do I think that's why I continued to pursue it, to get better and because I really enjoyed the act of making an object in a short amount of time. I feel lucky to make a living doing something I enjoy doing so much.
Alison and I met at Brooklyn glass and began assisting each other in the hot shop which led to us sharing our creative ideas. When we applied for the window install we had the initial idea to use neon, glass and plants. We brainstormed ideas in her apartment. She had been making tassels that were hung on her wall which led to us discussing pom poms. And so it all came very natural, we knew we would use pom poms to build a landscape. She taught me how to make a pom pom and it was a funny experience. I like that our work is intuitive and playful.
This series strikes such a great balance between playful experimentation and technical skill. Do you take more risks as a team?
Pam: Technically the hot blow mold technique isn't easy because you only get one chance to blow into the mold, but there is plenty of opportunity to take chances with the object you wish to cast. It was really fun to play around with the different fruits and try to predict how the glass would fill the mold. A lot of times I didn't want to make waxes to then steam out of the mold so I just left the mushroom specimens and sweet gum seeds hoping that they would burn out in the kiln and detail would be good in the finished piece. Additionally glass color combinations can be a little unpredictable especially if you're not used to experimenting with a lot of color so that was always a fun surprise for me once the pieces were demolded.
I think all of our hot shop endeavors are playful experiments. We always encourage each other and find ways to make the pieces work even if it's not what we initially intended to make.
Working together also forces you to let go of ownership of an idea or project. I think this really allows more playfulness into the work. Personally, I feel more open to trying something crazy because we're in it together, and we're trying to figure something out, rather than trying to execute an idea that's already fully formed in my brain. There's much less of a straight line between idea and outcome, and more of a meandering path where the outcome isn't necessarily known, and that's very freeing.We definitely take more risks as a team. We help and encourage each other when we want to make larger or more complicated pieces that would be hard to make on our own. It's nice to have a friend encouraging you to push your boundaries. Pam also really pushed for the hot blow molds. I felt hesitant to try them, but her confidence that we could do it made me open to trying something totally new and out of my comfort zone.
Alison: Pam and I work together in the hot shop pretty often, even when we're making things for ourselves and not for a collaboration. It's nice to see what we're both doing. Later on, we can talk about the work and give each other ideas. This can also lead to future collaborations.
There is a lot of freedom in the materials you choose to work with while keeping the emphasis on glass. Did this series help you push any creative or technical boundaries?
UrbanGlass gave us a tremendous opportunity when they asked us to do the centerpiece project. Cybele and Rachel really emphasized that we had total creative freedom, and I think that really helped us not feel hemmed in by any expectations of what a centerpiece is or what we were supposed to do. The support of the UrbanGlass community was amazing, and we're so grateful that we were given the chance and the resources to experiment and to figure out how to make this body of work. Without UrbanGlass' support, we certainly would not have been able to make so many pieces that we're both so proud of.
What are some sources of inspiration for you living here in Brooklyn?
Pam: I love spending time in parks and I've discovered there are so many amazing ones here in NYC. I became a member of the New York Mycological society and I've learned a lot about mushrooms and wild edible plants. I think it inspired the centerpiece project as well as Pom Pom Party.
Alison: I am very interested in pattern and mixing colors and patterns in different ways. I love to combine glass with other materials, and to change the texture of the surface of glass, whether with a mold, with bit work, or by adding to the surface once the glass is cold. I am very inspired by the mixing of colors and patterns in African textile jewelry. That playful balance is something that I seek to achieve in many of the things I make. I also studied graphic design in school, and am inspired by the graphic design that I see all over the city, whether in magazines, billboards, product design, graffiti, or in museums. The other artists in Brooklyn are also amazing. I admire so many members of my direct community, and feel lucky to consider them as mentors, resources, inspiration and friends.
Were there any surprises in how the pieces turned out and is there anything that you learned from this series that you would want to try again?
Alison: We found the more textured the fruit, the better the waxes came out. Some successful exotic fruits were the durian, romanesco, osage orange, and poppy pods. The tower candle holders were also fun to make, and we'd like to work with the form some more.
Pam: The durian was great for filling holes in my sloppy wax working and the detail always came out well in the glass. I enjoyed casting the fruit directly into the plaster silica mold like bananas and oranges. I was able to reuse the orange peels which was nice. Peanuts were a great snack in the mold shop and the shells worked well for texture.
We had a large piece break due to color incompatibility but were able to reuse some pieces in another blow mold. It's a technique I would like to try again.
How did you come up with the idea for this series once UG approached you?
We knew we wanted to make something colorful and different, and to make a series of objects for the table. We both did drawings, and talked about what we could reasonably do within our budget and with the time we had.
You can view our entire collection of Pam and Alison's collaboration here or come see them in person at the UrbanGlass store.
-- Tina Tacorian
Happy summer from UrbanGlass|ware! Here's a list of products that you're sure to love as much as we do.
Nanda Soderberg's elegant decanters are great for your favorite summertime cocktail. Mint Juleps anyone?
Not able to grow the real thing? Try the White Gardenia candle by Brooklyn Candle Studio.
LISS earrings in a lovely summer palette. So many fun colors to chose from!
The UrbanGlass tote bag. Wear your love for UrbanGlass on your shoulder at the beach, the park or the pool.
Come in and see our full selection of jewelry, housewares and gifts at 647 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, NY or shop online at store.UrbanGlass.org.
Roxann Slate is a Brooklyn based artist and jewelry designer working in glass since she was 16. She struck the perfect balance between design, craftsmanship, and price point and we can't seem to hold on to her pieces for very long. Light and versatile, whimsical and thoughtfully designed, Roxann's jewelry exhibits some of the most enchanting qualities of glass. The clean craftsmanship of her work can be attributed to her years of dedicated practice, starting her first line of jewelry when she was only 7. We're proud to be her primary glass studio in Brooklyn and learn more about her process and inspiration as a glass artist.
Do you have a collection of art jewelry? What's your favorite piece?
I spent years working in fashion jewelry so I have an immense collection of the most random jewelry. I have everything from an old vintage mosaic pendant, to plastic bangles with glitter suspended in them. I have a lot of weird vintage animal pins. It's sort of a personal "cabinet of curiosities". I have a cool sterling silver frog pin. I also have this plastic ring I bought at the MoMA Design Store that's a bubble level, like the kind they use in construction.
You grew up in a family of glass artists, in what ways has your family influenced your work?
My parents have been immensely influential. Managing a studio, making art, and running a business at the same time is a huge endeavor. My parents show me how to do a little bit of everything and still make sure you're growing as a craftsperson.
Did you always know you wanted to work with glass?
For me glass has been a bit of an arranged marriage. Most people in the glass world have these amazing stories about when they were first exposed to glass. A trip to Italy or someone making figurines at a state fair, and how they were totally mesmerized and fell in love with the medium of glass. I'm lucky, because I've always had access to glass. I worked as a technician at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass for two summers, where I met glass artists from all over the world. I've gone back and forth about how consistently to pursue glass, but I've always kept one foot in the door, teaching flameworking and selling at art fairs. In the past few years I've turned my attention to my glass more seriously than before.
Who are some of your favorite jewelry designers?
The past five years I've been working in the private label fashion jewelry world. I worked with factories overseas to make jewelry for other people's brands such as Anthroplogie, Sundance, and Ann Taylor. It was my job to look at all the jewelry my mind could handle--trendy, high-end, low-end, vintage--and think about how it could be mass manufactured and meet target price points.
That whole experience taught me to skip brand names and formal categories such as fine jewelry, juniors jewelry, craft jewelry. I'm always on the lookout for jewelry that seems to be the best use of its medium. Does it makes sense that the piece was made out of glass and not ceramic or plastic? Does that piece of jewelry sit well on the body? Or from an insider perspective, I admire someone who can take an inexpensive material and infuse it with something new or innovate and make it look expensive.
When did you start your jewelry line and what was the first piece that took off?
When I was a little kid, about 7 years old, I bought these glass fish beads that were made in China. I crocheted them into necklaces which sold for $7 each. I continued to make them for years. It was my first experience designing an item and continually producing it. I was able to track my material cost and make mental notes about who was buying my work. From the beginning my customers were other kids, ladies with eccentric taste, hippies, and people who wanted to support the creative and entrepreneurial endeavors of a little girl.
When I was about 16 I started working in borosilicate glass and making my clear glass jewelry. My first designs were the round chain earrings and the triangle chain earrings. The triangle chain earrings were my favorite at the time and my enthusiasm for them probably made them my best seller.
I've noticed how much your clear pieces resonate with our customers. How did you decide to put down the color, and work entirely in clear?
Clear glass is elegant. I have another line of sculptural glass animal beads I make. This is where I can play with color and texture.
Who would you most like to see your jewelry on?
I'm proud of the fact that my jewelry looks good on everyone. Clear goes with everything. I enjoy working with my customers to help them find the right pair of earrings that works with their haircut or shape of their face. Between the variations in styles and price points I strive to have something for everyone.
What are you most inspired by as a jewelry artist living in Brooklyn?
Living in Brooklyn is simply the best. NYC is the center of the universe and that's an addictive feeling. I love having access to any food I could imagine and so many cultural institutions. But the most inspiring thing for me about living in Brooklyn is the people. New Yorkers are some of the most passionate and intense people. New York is a tough place to live so you have to be ambitious and industrious to make it work.
Are you working on any new designs?
I just finished a few new earring designs. They are still in the prototype phase. With all my designs I prefer to wear them a while before selling them. I want to make sure they're comfortable, look good, and are well made. There are also earrings I plan to continually produce, so I want to make sure I can provide my galleries and customers with a consistent product. Luckily, since I'm not working on the fashion world calendar, I can produce and sell new designs whenever inspiration hits.
You can view our entire collection of Roxann Slate's jewelry here or come see them in person at the UrbanGlass store.
-- Tina Tacorian
Feeling inspired to plant things? We have 2 fantastic solutions that don't require a green thumb:
Ross Delano's Mini Tepuis design is so sweet! Each handmade vase comes with a low-maintenance air plant.
Potting Shed Creations has hit the mark with this design. Each Grow Bottle is made from an up-cycled wine bottle and comes with everything you need to make a tiny hydroponic system in your home. We have Mint, Thyme and Basil Kits available!
Click on the images above to find out more information and to start planting!
Stumped on what to get Mom for Mother's Day? Don't worry, we have you covered. Here's your UrbanGlass|ware guide to some of our favorite gifts that Mom is sure to love.
Glass earrings by Roxann Slate: Her earrings come in a variety of shapes. You can see her full collection by clicking on the earrings below.
Potting Shed Creations' Grow Bottles are always a hit! They're made from up-cycled wine bottles and come with everything you need to grow a contained hydroponic herb garden.
Clair Raabe's Sparkle Earrings make the perfect shimmering gift!
Brooklyn Candle Studio's new line of Folk + Flora candles come in a newly designed slick packaging and have a lovely range of floral scents.
Tell your Mom how sweet she is with this kiln-formed Honeycomb Platter by James O'Neill!
And of course Nunu Chocolates is an instant win. We have an assortment of chocolates including their Booze Box (a staff favorite!).
Come by and see us this week or use the code: I<3MOM to receive 15% off your order online! (Valid May 1st through May 8th, online orders only).