Interview with Vancouver-based jewelry designer, Kara Yoo
WHO ARE YOU?
I am a jewelry designer and metalsmith, based in Vancouver, BC with a passion for design and entrepreneurship.
WHAT DO YOU CREATE?
I create simple and inclusive jewellery made from wearable and durable materials such as Argentium Sterling Silver, 14K Gold-Fill and Karat Gold.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOOLS?
My favourite tools are planishing and riveting hammers. I love texture and the idea of creating jewelry without the use of heat with techniques like cold-connections and smithing. You can see these techniques used in the creation of the Arc necklace, neck cuffs and bracelet cuffs
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Every day inspires me. It’s hard to say exactly what - some of my inspiration comes from architecture, ancient jewelry, traveling and nature. Sometimes I just look through my living room window and get inspired!
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PROCESS?
Usually I have a rough sketch of some ideas and then I’ll go into the studio and make them, tweak them, make many versions and see which ones I like the best. I also often find creations through mistakes and bits and pieces of metal that come together unexpectedly. I find I create better when I can manipulate the metal with my hands as opposed to meticulously sketching out a design (unless it requires many calculations!).
WHERE IS YOUR STUDIO?
I'm located in the Beaumont Studios near Athlete’s Village, where I have been based for about 2 years now! The Beaumont recently expanded into another building next door, which I moved into from the original Beaumont, this past February. Our doors are open during business hours, so anyone can come in and walk around the and check out the studios! If you are looking for a place to show your work or event space, check out The Beaumont.
WHEN ARE YOU THE MOST PRODUCTIVE?
In the mornings! As long as I’ve had a restful sleep, and start my day (relatively) early, the morning is always the time where I have a clear mind to concentrate and get things done.
I grew up with a mom that loved to shop and who loved jewelry. I would always play dress-up, and rummage through her jewelry drawer and try stuff on. Growing up, I always loved fashion. My clothing style has always been quite simple, and I love wearing basics and neutrals, and found that I would always wear a lot of jewelry to make my outfits interesting. I also loved crafts and creating things, so it just seemed like a natural progression.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?
I always knew I wanted to have a business of my own, so I did a Bachelor of Commerce in marketing and entrepreneurship at UBC. After meeting the designers of a successful jewelry company at a conference during school, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. I enrolled in a 2-year jewelry program at VCC and started learning how to metalsmith. After completing the program, I started showing at craft fairs and then moved into selling to stores by cold-calling and going door-to-door showing them my products!