Jackalope Collective: Satomi Kawai

I'm headed out of town for the weekend, so I thought I'd run a two for one deal on interviews this morning. First up, Satomi Kawai!

Education: BA in literature at Kyoto Notre Dame Women’s College in Kyoto, Japan
                  MFA in  Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design at University of Iowa

Lives/Works: In her home studio in Iowa City.

 What is your work about?

 My jewelry speaks about my environment; both inner and outer environments. I observe every solid surface among materials surrounding me and fundamental physical matters both from macro and microscopic points of view. In addition, I view the mixing patterns of gas and liquid, including changing shapes of clouds and their flow patterns. It is fascinating to witness these changes with phase transitions: surface pattern and color changes. I see a resemblance of patterns between microscopic tissue and outer environmental images. These are the things that happen in my daily life. I visualize these moments from my everyday life in the form of jewelry pieces.

What are you looking forward to most about Amsterdam?

I am excited to meet with enthusiastic people in the community of art jewelry, and not limited to Amsterdam, but also from all over Europe.

What artists do you admire?

There are many jewelry artists I admire. They include Ruudt Peters, Attai Chen, Sebastian Buescher, Tarja Tuupanen, and Yasuki Hiramatsu. Specifically, I want to mention about Hiramasu. When I saw his work at a SOFA show in Chicago in 2001, I admired his simple work and his attitude to materials, which showed his warmth and charming character. Other artists I admire are Eva Hesse, Kiki Smith, Ann Hamilton, Rebecca Horn, and Cai Guo Qiang.

What's the best advice you were ever given about being an artist?

 Hiramatsu taught me that metal is not a cold or rigid material, but a warm material. He said not to fight with the metal. He added that the only thing I need is to talk to my metal, like I do to my loved ones. I have adapted this philosophy when I make jewelry pieces. My application is not limited to metal but extends to all other materials. I do not try to enforce the material I work with, but I ask the material on its possibilities.

Any final thoughts on Sieraad?

I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this group to participate in this international art fair. I appreciate Jillian Moore and Rachel Timmins who included me in the group. Going to a European art fair is a good opportunity for us to know how American contemporary jewelry art will be received in Europe. I like this participation as a group because I can share experiences in Amsterdam with my colleagues and we are able to pass our experience to other American jewelry artists. I think we can become a new bridge between European and American art jewelry communities. It is a big challenge for us economically, so that any encouragement and support to us is essential for our success.
I've been a long time admirer of Satomi's work, and I can't wait to see what she brings to Sieraad! To help her get there, please check out our fundraising campaign! Thanks so much to Satomi for her interview!