La Toile –Beggining–(Second half)
Designer, Hanna Yoo

English text: Robert Bloom
SAYAKA DAVIS, which started in 2013 with a small collection of knitwear and jewelry, celebrates its 10th anniversary. To celebrate, a collaborative exhibition with designer Hanna Yoo was being held in Tokyo on 28 and 29 Jan and in New York on 11 and 12 Feb.

How did Hanna Yoo, a South Korean designer who started her own project 'hannayoo works' in 2021 after working in the fashion worlds of Seoul, Paris and New York, create her modern, delicate, handcrafted art-piece-like jewelry? Our interview unravels the origins of her creations

Seoul, Paris, N Y. Moving from one base to the next.
In 2021, Hanna Yoo founded hannayoo works in Brooklyn. She studied fashion at Kyungpook University in South Korea before moving to France, graduating from the l'Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. She worked for five years as Barbara’s right-hand designer at BARBARA BUI in France. She then moved to NY, where she directed the entire collection as a design director of Tibi for eight years from 2013 to 2022.

“I've worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years, changing bases from Seoul to Paris to NY. I had a lot of different experiences and my work was fulfilling, However, I thought there was always time to move on to the next step and felt thirsty for my creation.
In the Spring of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the world started changing. At the same time, this crisis turned into a chance to think about myself, the value of life, and what I want to do. As I had to work from home, I started creating with any idea that popped into my head, using whatever materials I could get, working with my hands. I have long been interested in ceramic work and studied pottery after work every week before the pandemic happened. I wanted to find a way to keep working on Pottery without a kiln while I was working from home. The result came as Ear-Objects made from air-dry clay, which kids play with. At first, I presented my work in the form of a collaboration with Tibi, and the experience led to the creation of my line, hannayoo works. I was very excited to start communicating with people and connecting to my work directly.
With unparalleled textures, colors, and shapes, hannayoo's jewelry is made from lightweight air-clay coated with resin. Born in South Korea and raised in a pastor's family, her inspiration came from the structure of the church designed by her father when she was a child. Growing up in an environment where materials such as red brick, concrete, metal and stone were familiar to her, has been at the core of her unique sensibility.
From clothes to jewelry, what I make has changed, but I don't really feel that I've changed. I don't categorize myself as a jewelry designer; I am who I am. Clothing starts with draping fabric and sketching a design and many people are involved in the process, but the air-clay jewelry I make now takes shape immediately in my own hands. My inspiration directly takes shape. I find that interesting."
Sometimes bold, sometimes delicate, hannaworks' jewelry is freely formed. What is important to you when creating?
“I am conscious of the various aspects of both clothing and jewelry. The human body is totally different from front, back, side, top, and bottom, depending on the angle you look at it from. I always try to look at all angles when designing and sketching, so that the design is always beautiful from all angles. And to be flexible. I'm not afraid of change; I'm positive about new things and, like water, I want to be free to change form."
The joy of sharing different life stories through jewelry
All pieces are made to order and are one-of-a-kind, taking shape from the inspiration received through discussions with customers. If a piece breaks or a bijoux part comes off, a different part is added and the piece is repaired, so it becomes a unique and original piece of jewelry that tells a story together with its owner.

“I've only just launched the brand and it's still small, but I'm grateful for the situation I'm in now, where I can work within my grasp. All the jewelry is one-of-a-kind and made-to-order. I get to know a lot of people's lives by listening to their requests and the stories behind them.
Many people come to me for meaningful events in their lives, such as weddings,
religious ceremonies, loved ones’ birthdays (or gifts for themselves),

so I feel that I am making things while sharing special moments with them, which makes me very happy.
When we recently held a pop-up shop in New York, we were able to meet many customers in person. I’ve learned important things from the COVID-19 crisis. I value communication with people and do what I can with my hands, flowing naturally.
And I’ll continue to do so through my journey in life."
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