January 29, 2015

Rachel Dolnick Home Studio Tour

Rachel Dolnick is the essence of cool and collected. Her genuine presence exudes warmth and invites conversation. Many of us know her from behind the counter at Cafe Zoma. That smile, right! Rachel is a jill of all trades including jewelry designer and maker. She is currently a Vendor Coordinator for the hip Renegrade Craft Fair, which showcases the handmade work of independent makers, artists, and designers with fairs in LA, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago and London. After buying a pair of Rachel's  earrings and loving them so much, I knew I wanted her to be the first maker featured on COURT & CO. Her bohemian designs are still available! I shipped a pair of her earrings to Australia yesterday! Rachel and I had a lovely time catching up over coffee and I got a tour of her beautiful home. Her home is pared to the essentials with warm touches everywhere. And it smells really, realllllly good! Without further introduction, here's Rachel.

Tell us a little about your background and how long you've called Madison home. 
Madison and I are going on close to 10 years together.  At times it can feel oh-so small, but the community and ease of this city is a magical bubble that I'm happy to call home.

When did you start making jewelry and what inspires your designs? 
I started making jewelry in High School when I loved my art metals class and started beading at home.  It wasn't until college that I really started producing jewelry and participating in craft fairs.  After graduating, the Fairs piled up and I started selling my jewelry at Absolutely Art.  I now sell my jewelry at Juneberry Studios, Hatch Art House, and of course - Court & Co.  A number of times I've been out and about in Madison and have seen women wearing jewelry I've made - best.feeling.ever.

You have a kick-ass job with Renegrade Craft/Indie Artist League and frequently travel the coasts. In a nutshell, explain what you do. How do these people and places inspire your work? 
 I started Handmade Madison in 2011 with Taylor Franklin where our first Fair was in the basement of the Monona Terrace where vendors consisted of our friends.  In 2012, I teamed up with Jackie Matelski of Toast Ceramics and every year since we've gained momentum in both the quality of handmade makers as well as the popularity amongst community.  We were unable to hold our 2014 Holiday Fair this year, but hope to have a Spring Fair in the coming year.
I began working at Renegade Craft Fair as Vendor Coordinator in January of 2014, and it's been a truly awesome year!  I jury applications and see work from crazy talented makers, handle communication with vendors and ensure that they are as prepared as can be for the Fairs, and get to travel to Fairs and see all of our planning come alive!

What is a typical day like for you? And your typical morning/breakfast routine.
I have the luxury of working from home and made the promise to myself that I would take full advantage of that by cooking all of my meals; something I've never been able to do before.  My breakfast routine consists of French Pressed coffee and eggs - prepared either with veggies and a sweet potato hash or shakshuka.  Never heard of or made Shakshuka?  Try this recipe:http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/04/shakshuka/Working from home makes ya go a little stir crazy at times though so I'll often spend an afternoon at cafes or at a library to switch things up.  While Cafe Zoma will always have a place in my heart, I can often be found at Johnson Public House, Barriques, Cargo Coffee, and Madison Sourdough.

If you weren't creating, what would you be doing? 
If not making jewelry, I can be found making stop-motion videos (although I'm currently behind on some projects!), weaving, or watching awful movies on Netflix.

Since you spend a lot of time working from home, have you changed your space in any way? What is your decor aesthetic?
My home and office have definitely taken a hit from my spending so much time at home.  I'm constantly moving things around and trying to find a good fit for pieces, while also trying to get rid of things that just don't seem to fit my aesthetic anymore.

There's a quote, "Listen to your blood. Go where it beats." What or where is that for you? 
When hearing the quote "Listen to your blood.  Go where it beats", I find myself thinking about my love of community.  My favorite parts about managing Cafe Zoma and my job now at RCF, is meeting and connecting with people.  I really enjoy connecting people and find that it's a new game for me - for example, if I hear that someone is moving to Madison, I find joy out of knowing someone selling their home in town who I can put them in touch with.  Silly, but this "game" and relationship with people is something I really enjoy!

 What are you reading/listening to/wearing?
Listening to Sylvan Esso, Madison's own PHOX, and Sharon Van Etten always
Wearing Amber oil or perfumes by HiWildflower

What is your favorite room in your house?
 My favorite room of the house is most definitely the kitchen.  It's fun to cook with/for people; and the attached screened-in balcony is a plus!


  1. Oh so lovely to have a glimpse into the inspiring life of the maker of my earrings that are currently enroute to Australia! Love your homes and the lives that you are living both Amber and Rachel...truly inspiring. Karen Carr, Hoopoe Home on Etsy, artisanal jewellery and interiors

  2. And that jacket in the last photo is a marvel!

  3. Thank you! I will pass the comments on to Rachel if she hasn't already seen them. I love your work. Super excited for the arrival of my necklace :)