Trained as a sculptor before turning her hand to jewellery, Aida Bergsen takes inspiration from the things she encounters on her travels around the world. Growing up in Istanbul, studying in London and living in Boston Bergsen’s inspirations include the palaces she’s visited, nature – which she calls “the great masterpiece” – and the multi-ethnicity that surrounds her in her favourite destinations.
Imbued with an ethereal, sometimes fantastical, aesthetic Bergsen’s jewellery is underpinned by her love of storytelling. We caught up with the globetrotting jeweller and asked her to tell us a tale…
Adorn Jewellery Blog: What inspired you to travel so much?
Aida Bergsen: Both my sculpting and jewellery work has taken me across the world. I studied in Istanbul at the sculpting studios of Irfan Korkmazlar and Umit Ozturk, and the jewellery studio of Mehmet Kabas, as well as taking courses at Central Saint Martins in London, and Metalwerx in Boston, which has gave me a truly global training and apprenticeship. Even today, my work continues to draw me across the world. I just returned from Couture Show in Las Vegas, where one of my pieces was first runner up at the Design Awards, which was a great honour.
It’s so interesting to introduce my collections to people from different countries and see the common threads that bind people together, even with different cultures and backgrounds.
AJB: As a trained artist do you ever return to sculpture in its true form?
AB: My work is very much form-based, so for me the limits or barriers between jewellery and sculpture are non-existent. My starting point is always about form, light and shade, and this is my approach whether I am creating jewellery or sculptures. For me, the philosophy, approach and techniques are the same for both. I will always use these methods when it comes to designing jewellery.
AJB: Tell us a little about your biggest inspirations and influences.
AB: Honestly, to me even the simplest street in Istanbul is an inspiration with its eclectic nature, although I must say that Topkapi Palace has had a noticeable impact on several of my collections. I also find myself often revisiting the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul, the sculptural masterpieces never cease to feed my artistic soul.
Istanbul, with one of the most diverse civilisations in its history, creates a breath-taking cultural and social “mosaic”. With influences from the Archaic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, the city has a multi-ethnic way of life that can be seen in its culture, its architecture and even just in everyday life. As a city, it is a constant source of inspiration for me.
Lastly, I do find that nature, the great inimitable masterpiece, is endlessly inspiring. However I like to interpret nature in a personal way, taking references as a starting point and then reinventing as I go.
AJB: Your jewellery has a fantastical appearance. Why do you feel that you’ve connected with this aesthetic?
AB: My philosophy in life is that we not only have light, but also a dark side, which is why my pieces have a macabre and mysterious appearance. Jewels are meaningful objects not to be considered lightly, they have an innate power which draws attention and implies a lot about both the maker and the wearer. The manipulation of light and shadow give the pieces depth and mystery, with the idea of dark versus light drawing the viewer in and allowing them to interpret the designs in their own way.
AJB: How do you make each design as artistic and distinctive as possible?
AB: My starting point and inspiration for each piece is very individual and personal. Everything I make expresses my own interests, passions and philosophy – it is how I express myself. Each design is planned meticulously, both with my head and heart, which is how the design takes shape.
AJB: How did you come to fine jewellery, with the use of precious metals and precious stones?
AB: The materials that I use have to stand for something, their function and appearance are essential for the end product. Using precious stones and metals brings a different sense of value. They do not change with time, they are immortal and can be passed through the generations.
AJB: Your jewellery has a sense of history. Do you make stories up for each of the designs, even if you don’t share them with the public?
AB: Each of my designs has a story of its own, and is the protagonist of tales which have been told in different tongues for centuries. Pieces like wings, fantastical flora and mythological animals are taken largely from these stories and are my greatest inspiration when it comes to the beginning of each new pieces of jewellery.
Interview: Lauren Rowden