In Conversation with Ayane
Flourish met with Ayane Fujioka for an exclusive interview about her new brand IBAMOTO HONTEN. Ayane speaks about her journey, use of sustainable materials and the sentimental values behind the brand. Meeting in the UK Flourish followed Ayane's journey from the UK back to Osaka, Japan where she opens up to the difficulties of creating produce from initial idea to the end product.
Interview: Ayane Fujioka | Photography: Lucy Saunders
LS: Why was the brand based so much around your grandmother’s pub?
AF: Although I deal with textiles instead of beer, I share values in business with my grandmother’s pub by aiming to provide my customers with a smile, delight and comfort in their daily lives. As a child, I used to play in the pub with my grandmother’s cat, and there were always customers laughing and talking with my grandmother after their work. It was a place full of wonder for me, looking around the curious bottles and snacks people would purchase and hearing the customers laugh and have fun was a delight. It was such a shame when she decided to close the beloved pub due to a loss of a family member and the cost of an ageing building was too much to repair, but I was too young to help. By re-using its name for my shop, I aim to supply the same values to my customers, keeping the pub alive in memory.
LS: How do you feel nature inspires you?
AF: When I encounter the beauty of nature, I wish I could touch and feel the surroundings more closely. I like to be wrapped up in textures and colours of the land and I want to share this with others.
I cannot be bored with natural sceneries: white snow on rice fields and mountains, cherry petals on green grass, yellow fish swimming over corals, trees and rocks covered by moss… I cannot take a beautiful fish or fluffy moss with me, but I can remember the thought I felt and share their beauty with other people through works inspired by them. Making is a way of telling a story for me.
Nature also inspires me as materials. It makes me wonder what I can do with them. Wool from different breeds of sheep have different colours, softness, resilience, lustre… so it’s exciting to think how I can make the most of the characters of the materials. It is a joy to explore and experiment… when I see a gardener cutting trees on streets I often ask if I can have some branches to try dyeing with them. Material is another story of a product… where they are from, and how they are processed.
LS: Where would you like to take the brand?
AF: My aim is to make my brand a shop, where people can find products with stories, that they can feel comfortable to use, enjoy and cherish for a long time. At the moment I’m preparing to open an online store and participate in craft fairs, as well as polishing my skills and knowledge on making.
LS: Do you want to stay in Japan or travel?
AF: I would definitely love to travel both in Japan and abroad. It is always inspiring to see different sceneries, colours, ways of thinking and living, and make new friends. I wouldn’t have been who I am today without traveling.
LS: How long does it take you to create one scarf?
AF: It really depends on the products’ materials and numbers of process. It could be a day, or could be a month. The more steps I do by hand, the longer it takes to finish a piece. For example, it takes longer if I spin yarns by myself instead of using ready-to-weave yarns, or if a product requires dyeing and blending many colours. Delicate materials or complicated patterns would require additional time compared to basic designs.
LS: Why did you choose to dye your wool using natural produce?
AF: The first reason is simply because I think the colours from plants are beautiful, and it’s more interesting for me to dye with them than using synthetic colours. I enjoy the natural blessings by the seasonal colours from vegetables and fruits, and beautiful smells of them while dyeing yarns. Another important reason is that natural dyeing adds to a story of a product. I’m aiming to make my products traceable and environmental-friendly whenever possible, since I believe it connects users of a product and the sources of it – nature, and other people. For instance, when you know a scarf is made of wool from sheep at ‘Juliet’s farm’ in Wales, dyed with cabbage grown in Bath, woven by me you can probably feel that the scarf is different from any random scarf which you
might not know anything about it. You might feel
more familiar to the product by knowing it, just like you get to know about someone to make friends.
See more of Ayanes works at: www.ibamotohonten.com
Or you can keep up with Ayanes stories at: @ayane_fujioka