Friday, January 9, 2015

my upstairs office

This the story of how I turned a useless space into an important, functional part of my home.

 This is basically how it looked before.  But It was usually filled with junk and things I just wanted out of the family room.  Oh, and the sink dripped 

I had the bottom cabinet, sink and mirror and sink removed and a shelf added.  I painted the whole alcove turquoise, found this awesome metal tanker desk on Craigs List for $30.  Found a chair at a second hand office supply store for $35 and had it recovered in orange vinyl at an auto shop.  Added a few bright accessories and the results is a super cool office!

My Home 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hamsa with Heart

I have been asked many times to create a Hamsa necklace.

The Hamsa is a symbol used in both Judaism and Islam.  Many people love to wear Hamsa as a religious symbol as well as a symbol of happiness and good luck.  Because there are so many versions, I wanted to come up with something unique and beautiful.  the result is a double layered design with has a beautiful texture,  There is a cut out heart shape on the front and a double chain 18" sterling silver necklace passes through the pendent.

As usual the design is made by hand in my studio out of fine silver.  The necklace is $72 at my etsy store.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dog tags

 Introducing these new handmade fine silver dog tag necklaces.  I create each dog tag pendent by hand in my studio, one at a time. 

They hang from an 18" long sterling silver 1.5 mm ball chain.

          The pendant is available in three different motifs.  All the dog tags have an English word or phrase on one side and the Hebrew translation on the other.

"I believe"
"I am my beloved and my beloved is mine"

The dog tag necklace is available at my
Etsy store.  For wholesale inquiry please contact me.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Niche Award Winner 2014

I am proud to have won the Niche Award in the Judaica category for my fine silver "Freedom Mezuzah".

I made the mezuzah for the 2013 Museum of Imajewnation's show which was held in St. Louis.  Please see the previous post for more information.

The Niche Awards were held in Philadelphia in January 2014, during the Buyer's Market of American Crafts.  Unfortunately I was not able to attend the ceremony, but I was sent a beautiful glass trophy.

This award really means a lot to me.  It gives me credibility as a judaica artist.  I has exposed my work to a greater community.  Hopefully it will lead to bigger and better things.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

what's happening

Well, I haven't posted in a while.  That's because I have been super busy in the studio working and preparing for some wonderful shows.

In December (11-15), I am in San Diego for the Union of Reform Judaism Biennial.  This convention is incredible.  The spirit of the people attending is so exciting and uplifting.  Oh, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be speaking.  I am selling my Judaica and Jewelry (retail) at the Biennial's exhibition hall.  But if your temple have a gift shop I will have information on purchasing wholesale.  I have packed up my boxes with all my displays to be shipped out.  I now I am making lots of original pieces to sell at the show, and yes, the leather bracelets will be available!

I also just got my Booth assignment for NY Now in February.  I will be in the Handmade section at the Javits Center in booth #9451.  This wholesale only show is the best in the country.  So if you are a store or gallery, please come by and see my line.  I have so many exciting things.

This is a men's version of my studded star.  It comes on a 20" heavier ball chain.  People have been asking for men's Mogan David's so I am hoping that everyone likes this.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Leather Bracelets

I sell to a lot of small gift shops in temples and they are always asking me to make something more affordable.  Ok, cheaper-but with the same style and quality all my pieces. So last month I was tinkering around in the studio, trying to come up with another great Bat Mitzvah gift.  I remembered that my daughters always come home from camp with an arm load of friendship bracelets, that they made or traded.  The bracelets stay on until they inevitably fall apart, and off.  They are really cool and a bit bohemian.  I really like them, so I see do many high end jewelry designer, so why not make a Jewish version.
I found a great American made company that makes leather cording in great colors.  I designed a bunch of silver charms, a chai, star, heart, hamsa and a shalom charm.  After a lot of experimentation I decided on a double strap design with a silver button closure. 

I'm still experimenting on the colors I should offer.  I've showed them to a couple shops and they have really liked them.  So Im making more and will have them on had for the URJ show in San Diego in December.

They are about $32-$34 retail. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Niche Award Finalist 2014

I checked my email this morning and I was delighted to find that my Freedom Mezuzah was chosen as a Niche Award Finalist in the Judaica catagory.

I created the piece especially for an exhibit at the Museum of ImaJewnation last year in St. Louis, called Freedom Imagined, Freedom Lived.  Here is my Artist Statement about the piece.

Freedom Mezuzah
Rachel Kranzberg Miller
Fine Silver

We were slaves in Egypt, imprisoned and forced to build the temples and mausoleums for Egyptian Gods and Pharaohs.  The pyramid shape and hieroglyphics texture represents this. The doorway, recounts the connection between the lamb’s blood on the lintel and door posts of the Israelite homes in Egypt on the night of the exodus, protecting the Jews from the 10th plague-- the killing of the firstborn in Egypt.  The Ten Commandments are represented at the top of the piece, the ultimate prize for the Children of Israel.  Inside the Hebrew script texture provides a safe and loving home for the scroll.  For me, the Jewish home is the most important element in my life and my art.

This mezuzah, unlike most traditional Mezuzot, opens and unlocks, from the front, thereby allowing one to free the scroll from its home and examine or study the text inside.  

The Niche Awards are given out by Niche Magazine, as an award for excellent in fine crafts for American and Canadian Artists.  

The Mezuzah was purchased by the Karma Fine Crafts in Newton, Mass. and is available for purchase as well as many other creations from Rachel Kranzberg Miller

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In the Etsy Shoppe

I am so sorry that I haven't posted in a while.  I have been super busy.  First, there was the Buyers Market.  It was so great to meet so many of you retailers and make new friends and contacts along the way.  Then, it was Passover, and I was so busy cleaning and then cooking.  The sedars were great!  Now I am finally settling down and getting down to business, filling orders, and preparing for my next big wholesale show this August in New York City.
I will be part of New Yorks Newest, which is the new vendor part of the New York Gift Show.  My booth will be at Pier 94, not the Javis Center.  But if you are a Retailer looking for new talent it is the place to be.  I plan on bringing a lot of secular jewelry to the show.  I am working on some great one of a kind pieces.
Meanwhile, my Etsy shop is full of the Bronze Mezuzahs casts from my silver originals
and much more affordable! Check them out, they make great housewarming and wedding gifts.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

five more weeks

In just five weeks I am off to the Buyer's Market of American Crafts in Philadelphia, my first wholesale show.  I've been super busy creating order forms, invoices, line sheets, labels, advertising and marketing materials.  It's been a real learning experience for me.  Here is a sneak peek at the pictures and sign that will hang in my booth.

I have also been working on my line and samples.  I basically have two groups of things I am showing.  Of course I have my fine silver one of a kind Mezuzots, Yads and Jewelry.  But I also have a select group of Mezuzahs and Jewelry which is cast from the original designs and can be ordered in multiplies.  The designs have been coming back from the caster these last few weeks and they look really nice.  I am very excited about this new venture which could really expand by business.

 My ad in the Winter edition of Niche magazine is out and I have already gotten a lot of inquires and orders.  This makes me even more excited for the BMAC show!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

new and exciting

First of all I have very exciting new!  I am a finalist for a Niche Award in Judaica, otherwise know as Jewish theme art and ritual items.  For those of you not familiar with Niche, it is an award given by the Buyer's Market of American Crafts, the foremost most important whole craft show in the United States.  Niche is the magazine which is read by most retailers who buy original art jewelry and crafts. The awards are quite prestigious.  I will be featured in Niche magazine, on their website, and be honored at the BMAC show in Philadelphia in February.  Right now the 2012 winners are still posted, once they change over the website I will let you know.

I decided to apply for the award last spring.  My feeling was that if Niche thought my work was worthy then it would be a sign for me to go to the next level.  This is exactly what I am doing.  I have designed a wholesale  line of Jewelery and Judaica that I am showing at the BMAC show.  The work is all cast from my original designs.  The jewelry is all in sterling silver and the Judaica (mezuzot and yads) will be available in antique bronze and white bronze.  I am so excited about this line.  My work has a unique voice which I feel has been missing in Judaica.  It is neither traditional nor ultra modern, but a mix of eclectic styles which is indicative of how many of modern Jewish households and people look like.  I will also be showing my original fine silver mezuzot.  They will be available for galleries

So right now and am embarking on a very busy and exciting couple of months.  I am preparing samples, pricing, making line sheets, preparing packaging ideas and designing a trade show booth.  Special thanks to all my friends and other artists out there that I have called on for their advice and encouragement.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ARTstravaganza 2012

I am happy to be a part of Best of Missouri Hands Holiday Show this year.  It is back at the Artist Guild in Oak Knoll Park in Clayton.  This is a great venue and an important juried show.  There is a great variety of jewelry, art, and crafts, all from members of the Best of Missouri Hands.  

11th Annual ARTstravaganza November 9-11 2012 Show Hours: Friday Evening 4:00 to 9:00 PM Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM At the St. Louis Artists' Guild, Oak Knoll Park, Clayton, MO 63105 for more information call 636-293-6864.

Please come by and visit.  There is also live music and wine tasting!

This is my last retail show of 2012.  I am busy working on a new exciting project in which to show my work.  Stay tune for more information next post! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chanukah Bazaar

It's that time of year again.  The Bnai Amoona Congregation Chanukah Bazaar is this Sunday, October 28th from 10am-1pm.  I will be there.  There is usually a great selection of vendors that have really cute holiday gift stuff. I I making some extra earring right now that will make some great presents. Of course I will have my Mezuzots, Yads and Jewish star necklaces.  You can also order Yads to be personalized for Bar Mitzvah presents that will become a real heirloom.  Stop by if you get a chance.

Bnai Amoona is located at 324 S Mason Rd, in Creve Coeur Missouri.

Monday, October 15, 2012

SMM Show

I am very excited to be a part of the Society for Midwest Metalmiths show this weekend at the St. Louis Ethical Society on Clayton Road.  I recently became a member of this group of Artist, who provide support, education and also grant scholarships to artists training in the Metal Arts.  There is a huge amount of talent in this group.  It is definitely worth a stop at this show, even to browse, just to see some really new and exciting jewelry and other projects in metal.

The show is Friday, October 19th, 3pm-9pm and Saturday, October 20th, 10am-4pm.  Please stop by and say Hi!! Here is a link to Show info and some eye candy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

reflections of raw

Last night I participated in a different event for me, RAW ensemble St. Louis.  It is part of a national movement that stages art experiences all around the country.  It was a very different experience for me.

There were all kinds of Artists participating in the event, both visual and performing.  A couple of the musical acts went too long and were not that exciting.  The band Unifyah, Reggae inspired sound, was excellent.  Also the burlesque act, Jeez Loueez was quite entertaining.  There were some other performances that went on way too long or were a bit disturbing, like the male pole dancer.

The demographics of the "party goers" were mostly about 21-35.  And most were not interesting in buying anything, just looking.   Everyone was very impressed by my work and very complimentary, they didn't complain about the price, value, only wished that had more money to spend on something .

Thank you for everyone who came to RAW and also those who bought a ticket but couldn't make it.  Special thanks to Erin Mahoney, my cool hip young friend, who came early and stayed till the end to help me set up, sell, and take down.  I am pretty sure we both explained Judaism and the use of mezuzots at lease 3 dozen times.  My apologies to all Rabbis and Jewish scholars for any misinformation we may have communicated.

With all experiences I learn something.  Last night I learned that my new lights from Ikea were  a great investment.  I think my booth looked better great.  I met a lot of interesting people and most were very complementary and excited about my work. I also learned that if you grow up in St. Louis and have the name Kranzberg, their is always going to be someone who knows someone in your family!

I also probably will learn more things in the weeks to come, and hopefully this opportunity will lead to others.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

RAW:natural born artists

I want to tell you about a wonderful event that I am pleased and honored to be a part of.  It’s RAW: St. Louis Presents ENSEMBLE, On Thursday September 20th at the Coliseum Club on Washington Ave in St. Louis. 

RAW is a national independent Artist organization which promotes creative success for many genres of art including independent film, fashion, music, visual art, performing art, hairstylists, makeup artists and more.  The organization puts on party like events to showcase talents.  I was contacted by Raw: St. Louis and asked to be a part of their next event September 20th.  I will be selling my Jewelry and Judaica pieces at the event. 

Raw asked artists to sell a certain amount of tickets to the ENSEMBLE in order to participate.  I would love you to attend (it promises to be a great party) but even if you can’t make it please consider buying a ticket and sponsoring me as an artist.  To do so just follow this link, and then indicate me, Rachel Kranzberg Miller, as the artist you are supporting.  The tickets are just $10 each.

There were over 600 people at last month’s event so please try to stop in for a drink, a show and some creative inspiration.

Friday, July 6, 2012

inspired and renewed

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while.  May was crazy, emotional and hectic.  It definitely was not a great month for me, although there were some wonderful moments amidst the chaos.  But after my daughter's wisdom teeth and then getting both girls packed and off to camp, I was able to get away for a week and have some real time for just myself.  In June I went to New England and connected with some old friends and familiar places.  As a result I am feeling renewed and inspired! 

The last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time in my basement studio.  But don't feel sorry for me.  The heat in St. Louis is oppressive, so the basement is a very nice place to be, and with few interruptions I have been able to make some very exciting pieces.  I've made four new mezuzot, which I will feature on my blog in the following weeks.

I am focusing on making objects that inspire me.  Sometimes that is Jewish Ritual pieces, other times that is jewelry pieces.  The important thing for me is to have my heart and soul reflected in the piece.  I think that it shows in my work.  I know that when I feel that I have to make a certain amount of, lets say earrings, for a show, they are not as successful as I would like.  I am pledging to be to guild first by my creativity and whim and then by other factors. 

I also have some exciting news, One of my pieces, The Hidden Star locket, is featured in a juried Art Jewelry show in a Gallery in Oklahoma City.  I won an Honorable Mention for the necklace, please visit this link for more information on the show. Spiritual Juried Jewelry Metalsmith Show

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

six necklaces

Tribal Necklace

  I have been in the studio the last couple of weeks trying out some new things while also clinging to the past.  The result is six finished pieces.  Some you may recognize, like the "Floral Lentil Necklaces" and the "Ring of Periwinkles Necklace", these styles are popular at shows.   I experimented with some new designs which I strung the metal clay elements on bead wire with gemstones and Hill tribe silver.  Both of these necklaces are 16" shorter styles with motifs that encircle the entire neck.  The "Tribal Necklace" combines hand cut silver tab beads with faceted Indian rubies.  The "Spiky Necklace" is just as it sounds.  A series of hand formed silver spike beads, in various sizes, with small Hill Tribe silver beads in between.  I have Test driven (worn) these styles and they are pretty comfortable to wear, so no worries!
I also attempted a working locket style, which I think is a bit rough around the edges, but I guess that's part of the charm?  Maybe, I don't know.
Spiky Necklace

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I made some things for my girls!

You know the old saying, the shoemakers children never have shoes, well it's sort of like that with me.  I hardly wear any of my new jewelry, because its all priced and in little plastic bags, and my kids almost never wear the jewelry I make.  They have their excuses, Abby doesn't like to wear jewelry and Tamara wants post earrings and I don't have those.

So I decided to make somethings just for my girls, a hair clip for Abby (not jewelry) and post earrings for Tamara.  Here are the results.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

custom work

I'm finally back in the studio after a month or so of being busy with everyday life.  I went on an awesome vacation with my kids, and I am pretty sure I am ready for another one soon.  Next time I should not wait so long.  After the trip it was time to prepare for Passover, which was my favorite holiday when I was a kid, but is the one I dread most as an adult.  It's just a lot of work!  The sedars ended up going well and everyone had a wonderful time, and is well year.

So I am busy now catching up on some custom orders.  I made two personalized Yads, and a special personalized needle case necklace.  The later I made with a new technique I learned in a Craftcast online class from Donna Penoyer.  I really recommend taking these online classes if you are serious about learning metal clay techniques and don't have local classes.  Here they are just out of the kiln before polishing and patina.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

bronze mezuzah

I have exciting news.  I now have a mezuzah available in bronze!  One of my handcrafted solid silver designs has been caste in a more affordable rich warm bronze.  The original silver mezuzah I created has been made into a mold and then caste in bronze.  Not only is it less expensive, but it also is a gorgeous color and it will not tarnish, so it can be used outdoors.
 I am premiering this design at the Moriah Congregation art fair this weekend in Deerfield, Illinois (see previous post for details).  It will retail for $120.