Cire’ Rosenbaum’s path to jewelry design was not linear – she created displays at an antique shop in high school, taught knitting, worked in a framing shop and earned a degree in interior design before discovering her passion for jewelry. After working as a personal assistant for a local artist, Rosenbaum took to making jewelry in the guest room of her mother’s house. The rest is history.
Read about her story in the exclusive Modern Midwest Q&A.
Modern Midwest: Why jewelry? How did you find yourself to be where you are now?
Cire’ Rosenbaum: Why jewelry? I think it was because it was a combination of all my skills plus the love for it. It was the result of a perfect storm really. Going from making it at my parents to having a huge shared studio space took me over 5 years to achieve. When I first started making jewelry it was beaded with a mix of found objects and vintage charms. Now I can set stones and manipulate metal; it’s a huge contrast. But I couldn’t have gotten this far without persistence and the total love support of my family, husband and awesome friends, some of which have been buying work from the very beginning… when it wasn’t so good!
MM: What’s unique about your craft?
CR: There is nothing unique about making jewelry as a craft, a lot of people make jewelry. The uniqueness comes down to the individual piece. The definition of unique is ‘one of a kind.’ I think that is one thing that may set my work apart from other makers. I really like to create pieces that tell a story, that are one of a kind, that speak to the person who is purchasing it and they are the only one to have it. There is so much out there for jewelry that it is nice to have something special, handmade and unique. It’s easy for me to make these pieces because I use a lot of different techniques and each piece will never come out the same, even if I try. That is totally the beauty of anything handmade.
MM: Tell us a little more about your creative process.
CR: My creative process is pretty organic. I might have a sketch or idea in my head when I sit down to make something, but it almost never turns out that way! I am really into letting the materials guide me, stones, beads, colors, shapes and my mood dictate what the outcome will be. It sounds a little weird, but my jewelry kind of creates itself. When I think too hard about what I am going to make or what I want to make, then I will usually get ‘makers block.’ I turn on some good tunes, grab some coffee and go to work.
MM: What’s something new – or challenging – that you’re working on?
CR: I am constantly learning something new; a tip or trick for stone setting, figuring out how to best use a new tool, or managing orders and inquiries. I would love to say that 100% of my time is spent making, but the hardest and most challenging parts of my day is the time spent on all other things! I am currently (and I am sure I will always be) working on some sort of system to make running my business easier and more time efficient so I can get back to the making faster!
MM: Where do you get your inspiration?
CR: When I’m feeling like I need inspiration, the first place I usually go is an antique shop or on a long walk outside. Both of those places – though completely opposite – make my head spin with ideas and possibilities. I am drawn to the simple and the complex sides of nature. I love the mystery and stories behind objects and things you find hidden away in antique shops. I also love looking at ancient jewelry and writings from the past. All these things are constantly floating around in my head, but it’s up to my hands how they come to fruition.
MM: We’ve noticed that you’re based out of Wisconsin and have a lot of love for the Midwest. For you, what makes the Midwest, specifically Madison, great?
CR: I love Madison so much – the East side is where I grew up! Madison is great because it has this big city feel with small town charm and there are always open arms for anything new like art, music, food and culture. It’s a great hub for creatives of all types; there is a big support network and I love that.
Rosenbaum’s story continues on the Modern Midwest Instagram page.