The dog days of summer have me aching for fall and jewelry to help ring in the cooler months. So I headed to one of my favorite designer jewelry destinations in Seattle, TWIST. I can always count on TWIST to surprise me with their jewelry offerings, and this visit was incredibly inspiring, as one artist stopped me in my tracks, Sevan Bicakci. With the help of TWIST’s fantastic team, I studied several stunning pieces by the renowned Turkish-Armenian designer based in Istanbul.
For jewelry collectors and lovers of all things intricate–both literal and surreal–Bicakci’s work imagines entirely new worlds via handmade one-of-a-kind creations. As someone who often looks at the world through a macro camera lens, I was quickly drawn into Bicakci’s way of seeing and found myself literally lost in his work for hours.
Bicakci’s jewels are striking at first glance, as they deliver opulence in grand scale. But the details draw you in and showcase the rarest synergy of elements. Bicakci employs Old World techniques to produce mosaics, intaglios, and paintings. The results are exquisite artworks that can be held in the palm of your hand. And it’s this combination of techniques in a single piece that gives delicate form to a universe of ancient culture, mysticism, and tradition.
A hand-carved and painted hamsa in green quartz protects against the evil eye (top image). While a double-strap dagger and axe bracelet with mechanical parts–the dagger can be pulled out of its sheath–brings Bicakci’s surname to life, as the Turkish word roughly translates to “knife smith.” And a blooming daisy evokes life and renewal while showcasing a shimmering canvas of green diamonds.
TWIST on Sevan Bicakci
I interviewed TWIST partner and Seattle store manager, Cullen Tavelli, who described his feelings about Bicakci’s work and the importance of finding new artists for the store. I was inspired by Tavelli’s and TWIST’s passion for jewelry art and Sevan Bicakci.
EW: What first struck you about Sevan’s designs.
CT: One of the things that first struck me about Sevan’s work was the intensity of the detail. You can see the passion of the design and the care given to each individual piece. When I first saw his pieces two years ago, I got goosebumps. It’s the first time that’s ever happened to me looking at jewelry. I’m sitting there looking at a piece of wearable art, true art, and it just blew my mind how beautiful it was. The fact that they can take a beautiful stone, and then transform it by carving up underneath the gem, and then painting the inside to give it color and texture was just hard to comprehend. When I learned that Sevan employs storytellers, poets, and historians to help create a vision for each piece, it completely made sense. He gathers these individuals, and they create their visions from within the history and culture of Turkey and specifically Istanbul. It really feels like an honor to me that we have a chance to showcase and sell what truly is some of the most important jewelry in my lifetime.
EW: How long has Sevan’s work been offered at TWIST?
CT: TWIST has had Sevan’s work for almost a year and a half, but because the collection is limited it has been showcased online and in our store in Portland. We’ve had interest from a lot of our customers in Seattle and this year invested in another collection, which we just added to the store here in Pacific Place about a month ago.
EW: Describe TWIST’s designer gallery and passion for artistry in jewelry.
CT: The owners of TWIST were both professional artists for many years before the store existed. Their lives have been devoted to the pursuit of beautiful objects for the last 40 years. TWIST is an outlet for that passion and expression. The store is a space where we can share that energy with our customers. Currently, a big part of the owners’ time is spent looking for new work that represents their values, including design, craftsmanship, wearability and style. They travel extensively and have many contacts in the worlds of fashion and design that are constantly surfacing new talent and collections. The goal is to keep the store exciting and fresh and earn the trust of the customer.
Special thanks to Cullen Tavelli and TWIST sales associates Nicole Huish, Heather Johnson, and Becki Gordon for a wonderful and inspiring afternoon with jewels by Sevan Bicakci.