In the Studio with Satomi Kawakita
Satomi Kawakita’s Tribeca atelier is a pretty perfect extension of her jewelry. Both her work and environment make use of warm colors blended with organic texture and geometric shapes. In a room supported by exposed brick walls and beams, under architectural lights, sits an oval shaped mid-century sofa and marble table. Every detail down to the leather serving coasters has a touch of Satomi’s hexagonal trademark. “I really like making and finding beautiful things; my heart beats for these things and those moments,” explains Satomi. “Even at home with friends, I like to cook for them and serve with the beautiful tableware that I have been collecting over time.”
Over the past 5 years, Satomi has filled Catbird with her stone and shape compositions, and adorned countless brides with their own Hexagon Ring, designed to stack in a manner of self expression. We chatted with Satomi on her beginnings, what she’s excited to be experimenting with, and of course our mutual favorite topic of conversation, food!
You’ve been working and designing in New York since 2008. What led you to this point?
I graduated from Art College in Kyoto, Japan with a major in living product design. I studied not only design itself, but also how to work with and embrace different materials. In that time, I worked with wood, metal, ceramic and textile. But after watching a program on TV one day, really fell in love with the art of glass blowing and decided I needed to explore it. I began to take classes at a local studio in Osaka while still in school. Doing glassblowing for five years made me realize that I was more comfortable working on a smaller scale, with more detailed pieces, at my own pace. I started making some accessories with glass beads and found I couldn't find clasps on the market that suited the design. I thought it would be nice if I could make it myself; that's how my interest in jewelry making started.
What was the first piece you made that really took off?
It would have to be my Hexagon Ring. The geometric shape is timeless and resonates with a lot of people, it's our signature. The turning point was definitely my exposure on the former blog Unruly Things, written by Alyson Brown. She introduced some of my rings on her blog at the end of August 2010 and changed my world. That, and the day Catbird started carrying my line. Both of those 2 moments happened in late 2010 and my life has never been the same since.
Describe your work in 3 words.
Organic, delicate, simple.
Are you experimenting with any new designs?
I’ve been trying to make an Eternity Band with Pearls. I’ve been experimenting and trying this for years now, but haven't been entirely satisfied with the end result. I’m not sure if I can make this happen, but let’s see, I'm tenacious. My design approach has not changed for years and I don't think it will. My line has always been designs I, myself, would wear: organic, yet timeless. But I am always looking for new materials and something fun to work with like our One-of-a-Kind series.
Who would you most like to see Satomi Kawakita on?
My grandmother who passed away in 2013 at the age of 100. I always wanted to make a ring for her, as the Opal ring my grandpa gave her got too loose on her skinny finger. Unfortunately, though, it never happened.
Browsing Satomi’s Instagram, you’re bound to be as mesmerized by the pastries as you are by the gems. We had to end our interview with Satomi’s Top 5 food picks in the city.
Burrow, #1, of course. Ayako is an amazing artist and a great friend of mine. Not to mention the pastries are delicious.
Kajitsu and Brushstroke for dinner. I go there when I need to treat myself well.
The French Toast from Ladurée.