Tel-Aviv based artist Julia Ye’ela Berg makes beautiful handmade crochet jewelry using hard-to-find gemstones, not subject to any kind of chemical alteration. Julia’s creations are influenced by nature, native American art, pagan & Celtic myths.
« PETITE MORT is the moment of pure ecstasy & transcendence one experiences in front of a piece of great art << in french it is an idiom of an orgasm >> with my work I try to accentuate the esthetics of nature, using materials from the earth. There’s always a small death in the act of taking something from the earth, & then the pure joy of recreating it into a new & beautiful object Δ » -Julia Berg
Julia is a busy lady but we got lucky and caught up with her! Get a glimpse of Julia’s wonderful creative world with the interview below.
What’s the meaning/idea behind Petite Mort ?
PetiteMort is the name of my jewelry collection created by crocheting with metal chains, often cradling a piece of gemstone. The term “La Petite mort” is an old french idiom meaning “small death”. It is the spiritual moment one feels after experiencing a great piece of art, an orgasm or a life transmuting event. Petitemort is the moment of pure ecstasy & transcendence. I think of it as the paradox of feeling extremely happy and sad at the same time. Inspired by this, themes of rawness, juxtaposition between hidden and seen, darkness and light, objects captured in a trap-like net or cradled tenderly (depending on your interpretation), are poured into every piece of jewelry I create. With my work I try to give shape to the life force of objects, accentuating the seemingly chaotic aesthetics of nature through using materials from the earth. There’s always a small death in the act of taking something from the earth, & then the pure joy of recreating it into a new & beautiful object.
What inspired you to use crochet techniques to create your pieces?
My initial inspiration to make jewelry came from an interest in gemstones for healing as well as beauty. I realized while shopping around for a gemstone necklace for myself, that in order to have what I really wanted I would have to create it. I went on to experiment with many different materials until I came up with chain crocheting. This allowed me total freedom to use many raw gemstones, to sculpture the jewelry the way I desired, as a delicately flowing organic structure.
Each of your pieces are unique and different from each other. When creating a new piece, do you know what to expect as a final result?
I’ve been making jewelry for a few years now, and even though I developed & refined my technique over time, it is still a mystery to me how a piece of jewelry will come out in the end! I can have a general direction of what I want to do, pick color themes, etc, but when working with raw or free-formed stones, together with the fluidness of the chains, I have to completely give up to the creative process and let the piece “shape itself” into being. If I try to control it, the process becomes very frustrating. I like to think of it as reaching with your hand into the ocean & picking up a treasure tangled in seaweed.
What are your favorite stones to work with and why?
My favorite stones to work with are raw gemstones & clusters. Nowadays not enough people know the natural beauty of minerals before they are cut, polished and put through heat treatment, where chemicals alter the crystal’s color & structure. It can be hard to obtain certain raw minerals since some countries have a law that forbids them from being exported. Sometimes I have a direct connection with mines. This way of working is more personal and I like to know where the materials I buy come from.
Other from that, my favorite gemstones are kunzite, quartz, malachite azurite, sunstone & crysophrase. I like to combine healing aspects of gemstones with the designs I give them. For example, with crysophrase I make a “broken hearts necklace” capturing the beautiful torquiest green gem in a dark silver net. This gemstone is known for it’s tender energies that help to heal the sorrows of a broken heart.
According to you, what makes a good piece of jewelry?
I have a weakness for things that are ageless or have a story to tell. I admire jewelry that is passed down for generations in a family, because there is always an intimate bond between them and the one who wears them. When making jewelry I always want to infuse this intimacy and agelessness into the piece. The combination of good craftsmanship, materials & creativity is what makes a piece ageless to me.
Julia Ye’ela Berg by photographer Ania Mokrzycka