Lynn from Ribbonreal creates products using truly special materials that bring Japanese beauty to our homes.
Please introduce yourself….
I’m Lynn Watt and I run Ribbonreal – home of beautiful eclectic hand made interior accessories.
I come from a Fashion and Design background and have a passion for all things Japanese.
Describe the products you currently make to sell
I make unique and beautiful cushions made from genuine vintage kimono fabric. These cushions aren’t really meant to be sat on, the material is far too special, but are intended as works of art, preserving ancient techniques for years to come. The kimono is dying out in Japan as modern ideals take over and I am hoping to preserve tiny parts of this fascinating culture. (View this short fascinating report on the kimono’s)
Where and when do you design and make your products?
In-between the school runs and the housework you will find me in my home studio where I am surrounded by the fabrics I have collected. My cushions are made from fabric from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. I carefully select fabrics direct from Japan – all are of exquisite quality and design; some surprisingly graphic and Eames inspired , others hand-painted or heavily embroidered from wedding kimono. I carefully crop the patterns to look good as cushions and sew these into a precious article of desire. Sometimes cutting the fabric can be very painful! A whole kimono is constructed from just one roll of fabric called a silk bolt or ‘tanmono’. It is an exact length and width and nothing gets wasted. This in turn denotes the finished size of my cushions!
How long have you been selling your wares and how did it begin?
I have been selling as Ribbonreal for just over a year on Etsy. I needed to find an outlet for my creative self after giving up my job as an Art Director on a lifestyle magazine to become a full time mother of twins. I’ve always been inspired by the orient especially having lived so close to Brighton’s Royal Pavillion, and one day I just stumbled upon my kimono man-in-Japan on the internet! I was hooked on collecting kimono fabric from that day and I admit I’m a bit of a hoarder now! You can keep an eye on what I’m up to by following my blog or liking my Facebook page.
What drew you to the Brighton area, if you are not a ‘native’?
When I worked in London I moved to Brighton as I needed to live near sea air, plus the creative force is so strong! I grew up in Bexhill and have always had a place in my heart for Brighton. I lived in Brighton for 7 years before house prices and twins forced a move out of the area.
Any other crafty disciplines you like to practice?
Inspired by japanese culture and nature I also dabble in soap making. It’s really good fun and I’ve come up with some gorgeous smelling soaps – Japanese Riceflower & Fig is a personal favourite. I also can’t stop taking pictures. Harping back to my Art Director days I am always on the look out for ‘the shot’.
What inspires the things you make?
Inspiration can come from anywhere and I love fashion, art and travel. My house is full of things from all over the place. But as far as cushions are concerned, basically if it isn’t something I’d have in my house then I’m not going to make it. Every cushion has to either fulfil the criteria of being particularly special and Japanese or co-ordinating with my home decor! This was incase I got stuck with a load of cushions. The trouble is I now have difficulty parting with them!
Aim high. Work hard. Believe in yourself.