Linda Friedrich took an unusual path to jewelry design. After years working in fashion, Linda followed her heart to Israel, where she found a community of artists and developed her talents. We spoke to Linda to find out how she built her business in an unfamiliar country and what inspires her beautiful, unique jewelry.
I grew up in a little village in Germany. In elementary school, I had a sewing machine and sewed, so of course, I dreamed of becoming a designer.
I did my apprenticeship as a tailor and studied at the Academy of Fashion Design in Munich. I spent about three years working for a big fashion company in Germany, and then in China. This was an amazing and unforgettable experience, but I’d had enough of commercial mass production. I realized it wasn't for me, so I started to take courses in jewelry making.
I met my now-husband during a holiday in Thailand, and just half a year later, I quit my job, moved to Israel with him, and began to concentrate on making jewelry. Here I studied with several goldsmiths and silversmiths. Now, I have my own studio in a nice artists’ quarter near the Carmel Mountains. My jewelry is sold in shops in Europe and in Tel Aviv, and online.
I dreamed about making jewelry at a very early age, but I just didn't know how to start. I think the final decision to turn it from passion into my profession was made instinctively, when I visited a designers’ market here in Tel Aviv. I met a designer who did beautiful beautiful pieces with paper. I was completely fascinated and I bought three pairs of earrings. That same day, I went home and changed our one room apartment into a jewelry workshop to the sorrow of my other half! It wasn't until I started working with fire that I needed to find my own studio.
It varies from collection to collection, but in general my designs are earthy and unrefined, but at the same time elegant and simple. My designs are more about the beauty of the materials themselves.
For me, the biggest challenge was starting a business from scratch without speaking the language of the country and without a business education or contacts. As I also started a completely new life in a foreign country, I didn't know anybody or have any business contacts. I needed to approach shops without knowing how it works. I didn't give up and met a lot of kind and helpful people on my way.
My pieces are a result of awareness and attention to my natural surroundings, textures and structures. I try to capture the primal beauty found in random combinations of things and transform these accidents into beautiful and mysterious pieces of jewelry.
My process can vary from piece to piece or collection, but in general I start with the materials I have in mind or hand and try to capture its beauty in a piece. I work mainly with silver, sometimes in combination with gemstones like pyrite, uncut wild diamonds and other natural materials. For the upcoming collection, I used ebony wood and pebbles I picked up from the beach.
First I make mood boards with the materials, inspiring pictures and findings I want to use. Then, I start working with the materials, trying to capture the beauty of shape, surface and structure by casting or transforming it into silver.
I think the woman who wears my jewelry cannot really be defined by her look or a specific style, as she can be very feminine and elegant in some of my pieces, and have kind of an urban, even slightly rough look by choosing some of my other pieces. She can be 20 or she can be 60!
My personal style is a mix of urban chic with ethnic touches and a bit of rock 'n' roll. I love to mix my leather jackets with a chic look in nude colors or a tunic dress and add accents with jewelry and scarves.
I think my designs reflect my personal style. I love to add accents in my personal style, and that’s what I do with my jewelry. I like to mix an elegant outfit with a rough leather jacket and a rough piece of statement jewelry – I also like my jewelry to have a twist. I think these details and contrasts make all the difference and create something special.
One of my favorite places here in Israel is Neve Yam Beach. It’s so beautiful and quiet there in the mornings, and for me it’s the best place to think, to relax and to regain strength.
I also love Tel Aviv. If I am not hunting for materials for jewelry, I’m spending my time in Neve Tzedek and Jaffa. Neve Tzedek is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas in Tel Aviv. Jaffa is also one of my favorites. You can stroll through the old city and find lots of little art galleries and the flea market, with great vintage furniture and treasures of all kinds.
I cannot live without books – it’s my way to escape to different lives whenever I need to. The sea, which gives me a feeling of freedom, and my little black suede leather handbag, which I got from my mom.