Resonating with resin
By Deb Silverthorn
Artist Nicole (Nikki) Friedman has taken her work in a new direction, and her colorful resin creations have found their way into special celebrations near and far.
“This line allows me to make usable art to enhance food and mitzvah experiences,” Friedman said of her challah and charcuterie boards, candle trays, coasters and more, all available in short turnaround. “I’ve been hearing from, and shipping to, people from all my walks of life, and many new ‘friends’ I never knew before.”
Through her year-old Etsy shop, NicoleFriedmanStudio, Friedman presents this latest phase of her artwork in a career that has produced oil paintings, her canvases, her NikNaks Gifts stainless steel and gems serving pieces collection and more. She had not undertaken abstract art before a massive wall piece at a doctor’s office inspired a new direction.
“I was apprehensive as it was out of my comfort zone but I wanted to learn,” said Friedman, who has loved art since she was a child. “I Googled resin art, YouTubed my way and took the plunge. It’s a lot of fun and allows my creativity to flow — literally.”
After she posted a few attempts on her personal Facebook page, with videos of her in process, requests for custom pieces started coming from friends and family. She sells her oil paintings and resin creations on the Etsy site. The challah and candle trays, cutting knives and coaster sets are all one-of-a-kind and can be coordinated.
“As an artist myself, I’m all about the handmade and everything Nikki does is absolutely stunning and filled with dimension and brilliance,” said jewelry designer Sarina Schick, who serves her challah each Friday night and Shabbat treats on Saturday on her board of yellow, white, black and gold streams. “We ordered one, then another as a gift, then others and every item is more beautiful than the next. Even when not being ‘used’ for its purpose, each piece is a magnificent piece of art on its own.”
Sarah Sicherman, who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, sent Friedman photos of her dining area to coordinate her order of a challah board and knife of blue, silver, gray and white tones. “Following Nikki’s beautiful posts, every piece was gorgeous and I wanted to add her touch to our Shabbat table,” Sicherman said. “It’s easy to clean and care for and we look forward to using it every week.”
Friedman grew up in suburban Chicago, the daughter of Loraine and Sheldon Kane and sister of Dan and Brett. She attended Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago, then Glenbrook North High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s at Johns Hopkins University.
Friedman started her career teaching math at Pikesville High School in Baltimore. After her marriage to Rabbi Michael Friedman, the two moved to Dallas in 2010. The couple both taught at Yavneh Academy and her husband also served as assistant rabbi at Congregation Shaare Tefilla.
In addition to her artwork, Friedman still teaches math at Akiba Yavneh Academy and her husband, a licensed professional counselor, helps clients through his private practice, Lion Counseling, specializing in individual, couples and family therapy as well as his counseling support for clients of Jewish Family Service.
The couple — parents of Akiva, twins Azarya and Shalev, and Meira — are members of Congregation Ohev Shalom. They are the founders of Nafshi Wellness, which integrates Jewish and holistic principles to enhance emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness. In addition, Friedman, who pre-pandemic taught adult painting classes, is now offering them in an outdoor socially distanced group setting.
As a wife, mother, teacher and artist, Friedman spreads her heart and talents — pandemic be darned.
“The human spirit is resilient and my dear Bubbie Rosanne, of blessed memory, always taught we can withstand anything,” said Friedman. “Times aren’t always easy, and now is a test for most, but it’s a balancing act and whatever you’re passionate about, you’ll find a way.”
Nicole Friedman’s art can be found at NicoleFriedmanStudio on Etsy, Facebook and Instagram.