My name is Rachel Alter and I am a multi-disciplinary artist, specializing in design and craft of jewelry.
I was born in Nachlaot , one of the first neighborhoods built outside the old city of Jerusalem. After graduating from high school, I left Jerusalem to be trained as a nurse at the Kaplan Hospital in Rechovot. The next natural step in my life after graduating as a nurse was joining the IDF as a medical officer.
Being a nurse led me in 1972 to Kibbutz Yftach located in the beautiful mountains of the northern Galilee, opposite the Lebanese border which, at that time, was a very dangerous border. But this turned out to be my calling. Like in a romantic movie, I met Eitan, a soldier who came to the clinic for medical care, we fell in love, got married, built our home in the Kibbutz and raised four children – two of them still live on the Kibbutz with their families.
But somehow I always felt that something was missing in my life. At the age of 40 I decided to change my course of life and, with the support of my family, I went to study art at the Tel Chai College, where I graduated with a major in painting and sculpting. I exhibited my work in Israel and abroad and for the last years I have been focusing in designing and crafting jewelry inspired by nature.
Today I am retired and my main pursue is designing jewelry and establishing my small business called Rachela Design.
My studio is located in my house, in Kibbutz Yftach. Part of my creation emanates from being surrounded by my family and my daily life on the kibbutz.
In my studio one can follow my development as a crafting artist and the design of my jewels.
My evolving affair with jewelry design began when I first met the exciting material called polymer clay. My curiosity led me to various experiences with the material. The colorful packages of the polymer clay were like color tubes to a painter, and the pasta machine was my brush. I mixed, stretched, layered in various thicknesses; used spices, synthetic materials and crushed materials nature provided me outdoors.
I created textures, folded them like fabrics and actually found out that when working with polymer clay, even the sky was not a limit. I still have numerous works of these experiments in my studio.
Several years ago, I participated in the "Jobella" jewelry exhibition – a major comprehensive exhibition held every year in Israel.
For this exhibition, I designed for the first time a complete series of jewelry, in which I incorporated elements of polymer clay combined with knitting and binding threads, thus giving my jewelry a powerful and unique statement.
This experience paved the way and made me realize that all I wanted was to design and create jewelry.
I enjoy discovering the world of design on its own, as well as the secrets that unfold in the matter while I explore and experiment further.
I strongly believe in the saying "Only one thing makes a dream impossible, fear of failure" (Paulo Coelho ) , and thoughts about failure is not something feasible for me.
Many wonderful works, which reflect my love for nature, open spaces and landscapes around me were born in my studio.
The search for "something" to distinguish myself from other jewelers led me to create my own stones, sizes and colors; stones similar to nature yet still different, with a statement of my own.
But still something was missing – the need for my jewelry to be unique to my design elements. So I kept on searching of the "thing" that will complete the colored stones I was creating.
While searching, I found what I was looking for in the most unexpected place – yet very typical for my inspiration. On a family trip in the surrounded Galilee Mountains, my grandsons found a dried plant, very fragile, that looked like a piece of lace. They took me to see the plant and asked, "What is it
I did not know what it was, but I knew I had found what I was looking for.
It was a cactus plant that we Israelis are compares with: thorny on the outside, but soft and sweet inside.
I took some plants with me to the studio, washed, cleaned and dried it, and, while watching the outcome carefully, I discovered the design of my jewelry inside the lacy pattern nature has created, in which I wanted to incorporate the colorful polymer clay.
My personal journey often takes place in my studio where I explore the collections of natural materials I gather during my trips in Israel and abroad. My motto is always "Nature is not just inspirational for my jewels, nature is the jewel itself"
If you look closely, you can find that in all of my jewelry there is a hidden experience, a memory, an emotion and a story.
I choose the natural material from which I create a piece, but manage to maintain the delicate fragile texture the second before it disappears and becomes extinct, thus giving it back a renewed glow.
The material I create is transparent giving it a glimpse to the great arteries that nature draws.
As all materials are mine, all options of design are mine too. The variety of elements allow for endless combinations to create a big jewel in great colors and a huge impact as well as a small delicate piece.
After I decide which part of the plant to use for the piece, the casting follows, then the design processing and soldering. I send the prototype for casting in brass or 925 silver, afterwards follows the 24 karat gold-platting in 1 micron. I then combine the colorful elements, coat it with enamel and finally I assemble the pieces as I imagined – and a jewel is born.
My jewelry project reflects luxury and perfection, thanks to the meticulous and precise attention I give it, and thanks to the best artisans I work with. I don’t compromise, as it is important for me to know that reliability and quality stand behind my creations.