Saimij copper sculpture

One has to play.

"Playing keeps you connected to this world, to your work, and to the people around.

Playing is essential to my work. I play with colours, shapes, materials, textures, senses, and stories. The coalescence and interdependence of these elements shape my work and make it multidimensional. Through my work I share a part of myself. The pieces I create should evoke memories, feelings, and thoughts - in myself and especially in the viewer".

- Saimi Joutsi

Tell us a little bit about your journey to jewellery making? Have you experimented with any other materials?

I started making jewellery when I was about seven years old. I got a little box of beads as a present and that was that. I still have that box. I went to a visual art school which was where I started to consider jewellery as a profession. I have a BA in jewellery design and I’m also a metal artisan.

Since my work is all about experimenting it did take some time to focus mainly in paper. I’ve designed some pieces in glass that I’m very proud of and I’ve also had some fun with ceramics, textiles, and obviously various metals.

Saimij jewellery was showcased during NID´s showroom in London in 2019. Our visitors were fascinated when we told them that actually they are made of many layers (up to hundred!) of hand cut paper. From where did you get the idea to create jewellery out of paper?

The first time I used paper in my jewellery was while I was studying jewellery design and we were given a brief to design brooches made of recycled material. I used newspaper and pieces of broken skateboards. The versatility of paper excited me immensely and I ended up using it in other briefs and even based my thesis on the subject.

The technique I now mostly use in my jewellery (the layering technique) was something I initially planned on using with metal. However I had to give up that idea rather quickly, for my way of working is very much based in experimenting and not giving myself too much restrictions. Paper is the most perfect material for such a practice. Paper also lets me play with colour which has always been my absolute favourite thing in the design process.

Let the water take you pendants - Saimij

Interface - saimij

How long does it take to prepare one pair of earrings and how do you join the layers to each other?

From start to finish a pair of earrings can take up to six hours of active work, depending on the design. There’s also quite a lot of waiting period for the pieces to dry before being able to move forward, which is why in reality it takes at least three days for a pair to be finished.

I glue the layers together with a high quality wood glue that can withstand humidity and very cold or high temperatures. The layers are pressed together under a steel block.

Saimij - NID

Your photos make the pieces look like small structural sculptures. Where do you get the ideas for set up design? Do you photograph yourself or is it a collaboration?

As it goes with my jewellery, most of the times I have no idea where my ideas come from. I do daydream a lot. I try things out and sometimes they work and sometimes they absolutely do not. I photograph everything myself. Self timer is my good friend. Simply because for the time being I can’t afford to hire a professional model, photographer, or a set designer. I could always ask a friend to do me a favour but as a principle I refuse to do so. I bet everyone in the creative field knows exactly how well ”exposure as payment” pays the bills. Fortunately I do enjoy photography quite a bit and am somewhat knowledgeable in it.


What have you been up to during these months and are you currently working on any new projects?

In these last few months I’ve been taking a much needed break from jewellery. I’ve been growing tomatoes and baking a lot of sourdough bread. I’ve named my starter Whoopie, short for whoopie cushion.

The Arts Promotion Centre Finland has recently awarded me with a grant and I’m currently working on stretching the uses of paper in jewellery even more. So there’s definitely something new and exciting coming up.

Saimiji - Bonnie

Saimij Bonnie earrings

Photos by Saimij