My name is Julia Ye’ela Berg, and I’m the jewelry designer, artist and photographer behind Petite Mort Shop. I’ve lived in Tel-Aviv, Israel for most of my life, but I recently moved to Haifa to find new inspiration.
I was studying film when my jewelry business began. It was around 2009; my interest in minerals had led me to search for a rough gemstone necklace. I wanted something edgier than traditional jewelry – something that would cradle the gemstone in a soft, flowy way. When the idea for a crocheted chain came to me, I made my first piece and my friends pushed me to create more. It took me a while to fully commit to jewelry design because it was a risk that meant quitting university. It wasn’t easy, and I received criticism for my choices, but it was well worth it. My business has taught me many useful skills, and I feel stronger as an individual.
I work from my home studio, in a small room full of windows. My studio is surrounded by trees, and one of the windows has a view of run-down city blocks full of historical architecture and colorful laundry fluttering in the wind. I’m inspired by the decaying urban world as much as the natural world: shamanic myths meshed into modern society. The mixture of views – natural and urban – is the basis for my creations. Wilderness and order; regeneration and decay; light and dark. As much as you can never separate happiness from sadness, I’m inclined to incorporate them both into my work.
I prefer to work with rough gems and rare specimens. Selecting the perfect pieces makes for a long day at the gemstone merchants. When I start creating a new piece, I don’t usually have a set idea of what I want to do; instead, I let the shape, color and theme of the gemstone guide me. My crochet technique allows me to work around uncommon gemstones and bring spontaneous ideas to life. There’s always a flow in the process, and like a painting, some pieces may take a week or month to finish.
In a world full of seasonal trends and factory-made products, I appreciate long-lasting items and good craftsmanship. That’s part of the sustainable living model that I’d like to live by. I’m very thankful for Etsy – it allows me to stay true to my values and reach out to the global community, no matter where I choose to live. I think this is the model of the future for economy and genuine freedom in commerce. There’s a sense of excitement when I get to ship a necklace to places like Alaska or China – it’s as if I’m traveling the world, spreading good energy through my jewelry. My goals for the future are to evolve as a designer and artist, to live a sustainable life, and to inspire other women for self-empowerment.
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All photographs by Petite Mort Shop.