Q So who is Naoko Yoshizawa?
I'm a jeweller, originally from Tokyo, making paper jewellery. The choice of paper stems in part from the native culture of Japan, where paper is used for a variety of crafts, from children's games through to home furnishings, such as doors. It also ties into the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, that is, the beauty of the impermanence of nature. In the West, wabi-sabi is best known through the falling of the cherry blossom, but it permeates much of our traditional culture, from haiku through to flower arrangement through to crafts.
Q How did you decide to become a maker?
I started off as a jewellery designer: having studied at Hiko Mizuno jewellery college in Tokyo, I took a job as designer at one of the biggest selling mass-production jewellery companies in Japan. After several years, including some at the end of my time there as the sole designer in the company, I decided to move into crafts for a new challenge, using my savings to study jewellery and silversmithing at the Edinburgh College of Art, under Dorothy Hogg.
Q Where in the world are you based?
I've stayed since 2008 in Singapore, where my husband lectures. Before that, we had a short stay in Cambridge, after leaving Edinburgh.
Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?
In Edinburgh, I was artist in residence at ECA after completing my studies, and could use the facilities there. Since moving to Singapore with our young family, I've found it convenient just to make jewellery at home when the children are asleep!
Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
I sincerely hope that as standards of living worldwide continue to rise over the next century, people will increasingly seek out hand crafted wares rather than solely mass produced ones, as more and more people come to enjoy having individualistic furniture, jewellery, ceramics and so on. Not that there is no role for mass production---clearly there is---but hopefully the two reach a mutually beneficial co-existence.
Q How do you sell and promote your work?
I am exhibiting in several galleries around Europe this Christmas: Lesley Craze Gallery, London,http://www.lesleycrazegallery.co.uk/index.php; Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool,http://www.bluecoatdisplaycentre.com/exhibitions&post=413 ; expo arte, Oslo, http://www.expoarte.no/
Black Paper Necklace - Japanese paper, gold-plating bronze
Paper Thread Necklace - Japanese paper, thread
Q. What is your working style?
I find rock music helps me concentrate!
Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...
Don't be shy.
You won't get exhibitions if galleries don't know who you are. Send them your CV, send them pictures of your work.
Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
Nel Linssen is a big heroine of mine.
Q What do you do to relax?
I have two children; I don't relax!
Note: All Art Work & Photographs by Naoko Yoshizawa