Kayo Saito studied metal work at Japanese Art College and finished a masters at the Royal College of Art in 2001. She has won several jewellery prizes and was shortlisted for the UK’s Art Foundation Awards in 2010.

How would you describe your craft?

Contemporary goldsmith.

Did anything in particular inspire you to start your craft?

I was working as a product designer in Japan and it was interesting to work as part of a team. However, I dreamt of being able to create something from beginning to the end by myself.

What is the hardest part about what you do?

It can take days or weeks to build a piece, comprised of dozens of soldered joints, and then accidently destroy it with the naked flame when soldering. It’s very intricate, delicate work and you can easily melt a piece.

What makes your craftsmanship most rewarding?

When you finish the piece satisfactorily, and somebody feels the same and wears it.

Where did you learn the skills required for your role?

I learned my basic skills from colleges in Japan and the UK. I also learned from other skilful jewellers and, painfully, from my mistakes.

What has been the most important learning curve for you?

Being patient. I like to see the result quickly but it doesn’t work like that. I am still learning.

Has your craft evolved into other/new skills over time?

I changed my main material drastically, from paper to metal. I liked working with paper but there were technical limitations to it, including durability. I am now using metal but I still apply the same delicacy as when I was working with paper. Now, I am learning the skills of carving stones and minerals.

How have you stayed passionate and inspired by your craft?

I believe there are endless ways of expressing myself through my jewellery. The ideas are everywhere – in nature. I like looking at plants and organic forms; their scent; their movements.

What made you choose this career and to work in this industry?

I thought that jewellery was a very unique art form; that there was an unlimited variety of materials and styles to pursue. I like working on a small scale. It is like working on mini sculptures, but functional.

What are the accomplishments within your work in craftsmanship that you are most proud of?

Inclusion of three of my pieces in the permanent collection of the Goldsmiths’ Company.

One of my rings made it into the collection of Alice & Louis Koch Coll Ring Collection at the Swiss National Museum, Zurich.

How does working with Qest support you/your craft?

As well as the financial support for learning new skills, they are continuously providing me with opportunities for exposure at exciting events.

How would you describe John Smedley?

High quality, authentic and timeless design knitmaker.

Do you have a favourite John Smedley piece, if so what?

Not the one I have but I still remembered my friend was wearing a beautiful knit dress from John Smedley about 12 years ago. That was my first time to come cross the name of the brand. I like roll neck and funnel neck types.

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