Kawaii, best translated as “lovable,” “cute,” or “adorable,” often refers to the Japanese culture of cuteness. Think Hello Kitty and friends or Pokémon’s Pikachu. “I find inspiration through my love for anything kawaii,” said Lailani San Pedro of Claytive Designs. “I always see the same style of jewelry in the high streets and sometimes it bores me. That is why I created something quirky and fun to wear.”
Based in London, Claytive Designs has capitalized on this Japanese trend. The small shop handcrafts jewelry and accessories from polymer clay and resin. “Claytive Designs aims to bring cuteness and fun with every piece of jewelry we make,” San Pedro shared. “It’s the ‘ahhhhh how cute’ comments I get from every customer. The feedback we receive every day on how much joy and how many smiles my creations bring them. I don’t just create beautiful pieces, but I create them with so much love and passion that customers can feel it when they receive each piece of jewelry and charm from me.”
San Pedro launched Claytive Designs four years ago. “I have loved making something out of nothing since I was a kid, finding non-useful things and making them into something useful and pretty. I have always dreamed about becoming an artist, but I ended up in nursing, which I guess is also an art. I got too preoccupied and focused on my nursing career and forgot about my first love, which is art,” she recalled. “One day, I looked back and realized I needed to go back to crafting again. That is when I discovered polymer clay.” While she faced initial setbacks working with polymer clay, San Pedro was determined to refine her skills. “I remember my first few pieces were nowhere near where I wanted them to be, but I did not give up because I knew being artistic was within me. Months and years passed researching, practicing and rolling clay in my hands over and over again until I got the shape I wanted. In 2015, I decided to take the big step and started a small Etsy shop with a few of my creations. At first, I did not expect anything or to even sell anything, but Claytive Designs grew every day and is still growing.” The shop name – a play on “clay” and “creative” – is derived from San Pedro’s preferred art medium. “Polymer clay is a very versatile medium. You can create almost anything from it, which is why I love working with it,” she explained. “When I start kneading and sculpting, I find myself in my own world and I don’t realize the time passing by. I think it also became my stress reliever.”
The Claytive Designs charms are very much in the style of kawaii, featuring cheery colors and sweet, smiling characters. “When I first started, most of my designs were very simple, like cupcake earrings or a donut necklace. As time went on, I started to add something kawaii and quirky, hence those cute little faces on my charms,” said San Pedro. “And when people went mad for unicorns, I started to add cute and unique unicorns designs, which are my favorite. Now, my jewelry has grown to more complex designs, such as flower applique, Chibi dolls, realistic miniatures and more.” San Pedro has also recently expanded her jewelry line. “Every day, I learn and discover new techniques. I discovered UV resin and started to mix clay and UV resin for some of my projects. Also, I started a new technique where I put prints like flowers, hearts and rainbows in my pieces.”
Check out all the clay cuteness in the Claytive Designs Etsy shop or on San Pedro’s Instagram account here.
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