My name is Frederic Renier von Neumann but to keep things manageable I generally go by Ric von Neumann.
In 1965, my father Robert passed on to me his love of jewelry making, metalwork, and ceramics. Since that time I have actively pursued the combination and creation of art and craft. Using a diverse variety of materials, I have worked to showcase the natural beauty of precious and semi-precious stones, metal, exotic wood and man-made substances.
While my work is heavily influenced by these materials, it is also the result of design philosophies and techniques I have learned over the last 40 years. In 1978, I earned a Bachelors of Fine and Applied Arts degree from the University of Illinois and, to this day, draw upon that education in the production of jewelry and numerous other media.
I began applying my skills to making mezuzah cases for wedding as well as Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts, realizing the personal joy and satisfaction in creating custom pieces that reflect the interests, spirituality, professions, and hobbies of each recipient. The juxtaposition of the selected materials with the personalized nature of the subject matter and iconography has been universally effective and well received.
Starting in the early 1980’s, I have worked as a carpenter/builder. Using my experience from working in the trades industry, I continue to be motivated by combining the skills and knowledge from the trades with that learned in the fine arts. For the past 16 years I have been involved with the building, maintenance, and beautification of a recreational camp in a provincial park in Ontario, Canada, where my wife and I are lucky enough to reside year round. From carving totem poles and creating whimsical “zoomorphic” decorations, to the teaching of woodworking to children in the summer camp season, life in Algonquin Park has been motivational, rewarding and has inspired me to combine and apply my skills, knowledge and love of the fine arts to all my creations.