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Image courtesy of Helga Mogensen Image courtesy of Helga Mogensen
After graduating in 2007, Helga returned to Iceland where she has been making and exhibiting her work.

Tell us about your time at Edinburgh College of Art

I ended up at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) because I was searching for jewellery education outside of Iceland. I guess location had a lot to do with it in terms of distance from Iceland, and Edinburgh also has this magnetism to it. I think the most memorable experience was the people, atmosphere, and just the studying. There was a push to grow, the push to find your own identity in what you are doing, and following through with your ideas.

Tell us about your creative practice

I tend to transform my experiences in daily life to jewellery pieces. I write, draw, paint, and breathe in nature. I love to take walks by the ocean, and to search for shapes, colours or materials that I can transfer into jewellery. This process is necessary for me to connect with my urge to make. It’s an inner drive. I also think that every piece that is made is actually made for a particular person. Sometimes the pieces come up as pictures in my head, I document them in my sketchbook and make the piece when the urge comes. I think this process is just something that I flow into and follow, I listen to my intuition and trust that what I am doing is right at the moment. I love what I do and while the passion is there, I will keep going.

What did you like about ECA?

After coming from abroad and not knowing anyone upon arrival in Edinburgh, I met the most amazing group of people that I still keep in touch with. The jewellery department was like a little family, with fantastic tutors who were active in their own careers as makers. Their insight really enhanced the educational experience. It was fantastic because of the learning, both in an educational sense and also growing up as a person.

"After coming from abroad and not knowing anyone upon arrival in Edinburgh, I met the most amazing group of people that I still keep in touch with."

Helga Mogensen

2007 Jewellery and Silversmithing - BA (Hons)

Tell us about your experiences since leaving ECA

Since leaving ECA I have been active in exhibiting my work both in Iceland and abroad. I have joined a cooperative of 10 artists where we take turns in selling each others' work in Reykjavik. I'm creating my own workshop, and I continue to follow my intuition and ideas. I make small things and larger pieces, and try to find the balance in what people are willing to purchase. It’s been a period of growth, and I am still so excited to have the privilege to be able to do what I love to do.

What have been your biggest achievements since you graduated?

I'm just so grateful to be able to work in my field everyday. I have exhibited in some great locations, but I think the biggest achievement has to be when I got selected to have a piece of my jewellery printed on a stamp here in Iceland. I have always wanted my work to be exhibited around the world, and now it will be.

Alumni wisdom

My advice would be to pass on what one of my tutors at ECA told me: “Follow your instinct”. This advice works every step of the way. Beyond that, it's basically a matter of showing up to work, to school, and to life. To quote another tutor whom I was talking to after graduating, she said to me. “Now it really starts.” It's important to work hard, because it’s really up to each individual what we want our path to be.

Associated programmes