There's something about where we grow up, the look and feel of our childhood home, that really resonates with us. Maybe it’s the wallpaper our mother chose to decorate our bedroom or the mosaic tiles that paved the entryway to the house. As children, we seldom realize that our surroundings are influencing the path to adulthood, and that inspiration is often found within the walls we once called home. My childhood home was, without a doubt, far from typical. A mid-century modern structure inspired by yacht design, it was engulfed in uniqueness—from the style of architecture to the furniture, to the striking art that lined the hallways. Although I didn’t realize then how these details would later come to inspire my creative style when designing Ronnie Taubenfeld Jewelry, I see it now.
When I was growing up, there was always art on the walls and tables. My mother, Dalia Berman, was once a weaver and is now a gifted ceramic artist and my dad, Merrill C. Berman, is an avid art collector who started out collecting political memorabilia, then paintings by artists like Joan Miró and Arshile Gorky. From Abstract Expressionism to Photo Realism, his tastes evolved. And for me, on a typical day I might walk by powerful works of art while on my way to the kitchen for a snack. This was my childhood home.
In my bedroom, as in the rest of the house, most of the art adorning the walls were pieces my father had chosen. As his interests continued to expand and change, he moved into collecting primarily European avant-garde graphic design. With the fall of the Soviet Union, a flood of Russian and Eastern European graphic art became available, including postcards, collages, books, and large posters. I was always looking up at the walls and became increasingly aware of these bold designs. Already at a young age I was a visual person, and my home was like a gallery with ever-changing exhibits to view and contemplate, even as I fell asleep in my own room.
Gradually the paintings and graphics hanging from the cypress wood walls started to seep into my consciousness. All these shapes and colors and typography, elements balanced so beautifully, would come to serve as a foundation for my own personal vocabulary of abstract design. I have no doubt that this has influenced my aesthetic as a jewelry designer, particularly with the Signature Collection.
I was surrounded by art movements, and they were moving me. Graphic art by Liubov Popova and Herbert Bayer was subconsciously influencing the geometric designs I was making at my desk with markers and paper. I started working with other materials to create my own collages, using Caran D'Ache colored pencils and the very saturated colors of silk screened Color-aid paper. In this particular period of my childhood, I began to experiment with flat shapes as elements within my designs and balancing negative and positive space in my artistic creations.
My parents' interest in design and art, along with living in an architecturally distinct house (you’ll have to read my next blog entry to learn more about that!) were changing how I looked at the world. Growing up in such a unique environment made me very aware of structural beauty both inside and outside the walls. I was living surrounded by adornments that imprinted themselves on me, not quite realizing the impact they would have on my evolution as an artist and jewelry designer. Fifty+ years later, my parents still live in the same home, and I continue to draw inspiration from the ever-changing artworks when I pop in for a visit!
Ronnie Taubenfeld Jewelry