Design is often about solving problems through self expression. Rachel Ravitch is no stranger to this principle, though before creating her eponymous line, the key complaint of jewelry was its weight and lack of practicality. Ravitch sought to create something more lightweight to suit her aesthetic, while working on a handbag line for her friend she came to the realization that leather lambskin would be the perfect material to seek out her vision. The Lambskin solved the problem of heaviness with traditional jewelry, yet it still kept the soft,luxurious feel which was desired.
Currently, Rachel works out of a light-filled studio in Seattle, WA. For the most part, she's still the woman behind the brand, but lately she's found herself employing and working with other artists on her ideas. "I'm really happy that I can hire people and pay them at a rate that I see as fair and livable. I'm not willing to outsource my production and will continue to make my jewelry in-house," Rachel says. Even as her brand gains more fans, she's not willing to compromise on own values, and is thrilled that her brand is successful enough to keep on permanent employees. "I prefer to hire people because this adds to the collaborative opportunity in the studio. I currently have two people who work in my studio, a sculptor, Vanessa Lang, who's helping me on a series of jewelry incorporating porcelain, and an illustrator named Kelly Bjork. Both are incredibly talented in their own work. It makes me very proud of my work to be able to work with people who I admire."
And Rachel's design process isn't just limited to jewelry these days. Small sculptures, drawings, display pieces; they're all relevant. As materials experimentation is a big part of her process, she's happy to play around with whatever materials her and the other artists find themselves intrigued by. Recently, Rachel and Vanessa found themselves working with foam core, which they found fun to use in a different context. "It gave it a new meaning for me," says Rachel. "I loved the color palette we used! I want to continue exploring this palette in paintings and other sculptural objects. Materials experimentation is definitely a big part of my creative process."