Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mending the nets: an epiphany

I'm not one to go in for New Year's resolutions, but it's tricky not to when you have a business that has a busy season at the end of the year. It seems natural to take stock of what you have just achieved while you have a breather and think about how you can develop your business. 

It was during one of these development chats with my at-home advisor (read hubby) on a congested drive to Yokohama, that the epiphany happened. He always says that when I discuss business with him, I've already reached my own conclusions and I'm just saying out loud what I've already decided. I think I just need reassurance from the outside that my decisions are sound ones. 

So, the realization was this... for the foreseeable future I will not be running any more workshops. There. Said it. Wasn't so hard after all. 

Over the last couple of years I have fretted, worried, prepped, marketed, booked venues, searched for materials, had no-shows, cancellations, amongst other things that I honestly don't always find very pleasurable. The pleasure only came during the workshops where I met so many lovely people. But it was such a lot of work getting to that point. 

Where I find absolute happiness is when I create, designing new lines, meeting people face-to-face and talking passionately about my work. I never talked as passionately about the workshops, nor really about them at all. It was all a bit of an afterthought, and that's not where I want to be in business. I want more authenticity than that. 
I want to shout about my work from the rooftops, be proud of what I create, give myself time to let the creativity flow.... not fill my head with worry. 

So, right now, fishing season is done and I'm busily mending my nets to get ready for new ideas and the next busy season.

Thanks to everyone who came to my workshops over the last couple of years. I really appreciate your support and it was so nice to meet you.

My Creative Life Guest Bloggers

There are so many fabulous women living creative lives here in Japan. I'm so proud to know so many women who are carving out their own little niche by running amazing businesses, many changing careers to fit around having children... and then never returning.

I think they (we) are brave and passionate souls with fabulously interesting lives. I know their stories, but would you like to find out more?

Each month on this blog I'll be inviting an inspirational creative to guest blog. I hope you can follow along each month.

The first My Creative Life Guest Blogger is scheduled to appear at the end of January.

Mata ne,


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February Workshop

Wednesday 24th February 2016
Deli Café  23
Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

¥4000 per person

Includes one drink, all tools, materials and findings.

Choose from a wide range of papers for your one-of-a-kind earrings. Learn how to seal paper, add UV resin, use a hand drill and attach earring wires.
Please let me know if you are planning to bring a baby/ child and how old they are so that I can bring equipment/ toys for you.

Maximum 8 participants

Book your place here before February  22nd.

Deli Café 23 Google map

Why not join me for lunch at Deli Café 23 after the workshop?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Giveaway Competition

I'm giving away these Vintage Kimono Silk Earrings with sterling silver earwires this month. Easy to enter...just click the link below and find out how. Tell your friends!
Good luck!

Click here to enter the giveaway

Thursday, March 19, 2015

April Workshop at The Craft Space

Reserve your space here:
There will be a chance to shop at a small exhibition of bikudesigns jewellery after the workshop with 10% off for all participants.

Hope you can make it!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Why I Use Old Fabrics

I like that the fabrics I choose for my work are limited. This makes me consider more carefully before drawing and cutting. The average size of a piece of silk in my collection is around 20cm x 20cm (some are much smaller), so I am working within a very limited scale. When it's gone, it's gone.

It's a good feeling to work with fabric that has a story. One piece I uncovered in my last purchase had a fold which had been stitched in typical kimono hand-stitching. What was interesting to me was that the fold had a hole worn into it, as if it had rubbed against something repeatedly. Instead of working I found myself dreaming about which part of the kimono it was from. (The hem I suppose only gets this much friction wear.) And then, who wore it? Where were they going? What did the kimono look like in its entirety? Anyone who knows anything about kimono fabrics, knows that two samples from the same kimono can look like two separate kimonos, so it is difficult to reconstruct the whole garment from such a tiny piece.

The pieces I find are from the 60s, 70s and 80s, a period of great modernisation and emancipation. Wearing kimono became much less of an everyday occurrence and worn only for special occasions: shichi go san (7,5,3 ceremony), coming of age (at age 20), graduations or weddings. Having worn full kimono on my own wedding day, it us fully understandable why western clothes overtook the traditional kimono in Japan. 

The three layers are: hadajuban (underwear made of simple cotton), nagajuban (under kimono visible at the sleeves and hem), the kimono itself, as well as a plethora of strings, collars, clips, boards and padded cushions. Not forgetting the grand finale, the obi (belt) which can be tied in hundreds of ways. And then there are the tabi (socks) and the zori (shoes), the kanzashi (hair ornaments) and obidome (obi brooch clip). Of course, everyday kimono is much simpler in design, fabric and accoutrements and can be tied (with a lot of practise) by yourself.

I love uncovering parts of fabric that are worn, or have tiny holes where someone once painstakingly hand stitched the silk. There are the occasional stains too, which is very common when silk is stored for a period of time. They don't scare me, in fact, quite the opposite. I imagine celebrations, sploshed sake, overflowing beer glasses, soy sauce, celebration food. A story of fun and happiness, positive energy and laughter all encapsulated in one pair of earrings, a necklace, ring or bracelet. Why would I want to make my work out of something new?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rabbit Cafe With Real Live Rabbits

'Usagi no E-hon' is one of Shimokitazawa's rabbit cafés. Up a steep, narrow wooden staircase festooned with white rabbit silhouettes, fake flowers and decals on Shimokita's Ichibangai, you will find nine fluffy bunnies. The space is immaculate and covered in all things 'rabbit'. Stuffed Peter Rabbit toys, rabbit books, trinkets, pictures, ornaments and place-mats are all rabbit themed.

A quick chat about about the 'rules' with the owner and an explanation of the deal (¥150 per person for 30 minutes, one drink or food order, no more than 90 minutes) and off we went free to mingle with the bunnies.
I thought my 4 year old was going to faint with excitement at the sight before her, but she didn't, she just grabbed a box of food, headed for the bunny who had been let out of her cage and started feeding it and stroking it, and talking to it and finally blowing kisses to it!

When our drink arrived, it was of course in a rabbit-themed cup placed on a rabbit themed place-mat with Peter Rabbit sugar sachets.  

And the dessert didn't let us down either. Reasonable for ¥850 for a cake set in this part of town and so lovingly presented.


After a quick browse of the rabbit merchandise (and there was a HUGE amount), we decided on a rabbit badge as a memory of our lovely afternoon. And off we hopped on our two minute journey home....