In 2002, Donald Friedlich gave a lecture at SOFA Chicago. This lecture was sponsored by AJF.
Elegance and energy are two words that best describe the creative life and work of Donald Friedlich. Every piece he creates demonstrates his superior craftsmanship and crystal-clear artistic vision. His is elegant jewelry that utilizes simple, clear geometry while pushing the boundaries of precious and non-precious materials.
At SOFA Chicago, Friedlich presented a survey of his work and demonstrated his energetic devotion to his craft through his advocacy and leadership in the art-jewelry field. His recent work often incorporates expertly colored, shaped and textured glass. The unique integration of studio glass and precision metalsmithing marries the paradox of traditional glassmaking (large, noisy, hot shops teaming with people) with the creation of studio jewelry (a solitary jeweler working alone at a bench). He enjoys the free-flowing collaboration within the glass shop and the uncharted challenge of using glass to serve the demands of jewelry’s intimate scale. Friedlich’s observation is that ‘the scale of jewelry demands excellence in all aspects, especially when incorporating glass.’
Friedlich received his BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design in 1982 and was honored three years later as the school’s outstanding recent graduate. His many awards include a National Endowment for the Arts New England Regional Fellowship and the 2001 Renwick Gallery Acquisition Award at the Smithsonian Craft Show. He is a tireless evangelist for his craft. He has served as president of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG). In 2003, he was the first jeweler to be an artist in residence at the studio of the Corning Museum of Glass. During 2004, in Australia, Friedlich was a featured speaker at an international jewelry conference in Melbourne and an artist in residence in both the glass and goldsmithing departments of Canberra School of Art at Australian National University. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Corning Museum of Glass, American Craft Museum, Mint Museum of Craft and Design and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
When asked his advice for collectors, Friedlich says simply, ‘Wear it, start conversations with it and thoughtfully pass it on.’