Hi! Nice to meet you, I'm Ebony, daughter of the brilliant Katie and I'm the newest member of the Japan Crafts team! I know that some of you may remember me as a shy 11 year-old modelling the kimono during my mum's talks, and it's lovely to be a full time member of the team. Today I'm sharing an overview of my side of the Japan Crafts story.
Mum first began her business when I was at primary school. We fell into pretty desperate times, but with her creativity and focus, Mum grew a small idea into a successful business which allowed her to thrive on her own two feet, and I will always be so proud of her for that. In the beginning, I would just trail around after her, spending hours upon hours walking around the same museums while Mum taught silk painting classes and exhibited her artwork on the weekends. However, soon enough, Mum decided to develop new products and create her own workshops, all of which require a guinea pig…
By nine, I had tried and tested every kit, critically reviewed each workshop, and even done some teaching! I loved getting properly dressed in kimono for shows and then walking around to show it off. One year, I even entered a quilt in the Festival of Quilts, which was a big deal for me at the time. I spent weeks choosing my design (a cityscape of Kyoto), laying the pieces and getting to grips with a sewing machine. The final product may not have been of professional standard, and it certainly didn't get close to the top prizes, but the joy it brought me was totally worth it.
One of the main by-products of having a mother in the trade mine is in, is the regular visits to Japan. While I am a terrible traveller (one plane journey to Japan even resulted in temporary blindness), I am so grateful for the opportunities to travel Mum has given us. In return for dragging me round all sorts of tiny, dusty Shibori/Sashiko/Kimono museums, I got the chance to see some incredible scenes and have lots of fun along the way, not to mention spend time in my favourite building, Kyoto Station!
As I got to my teenage years, I became more interested in modern Japanese textiles and fashion. From cosplay to Harajuku Lolita style, which was popular at the time. My mum always supported these interests, taking Japan Crafts to various Japanese conventions so that I could visit them too. I have definitely grown out of this stage, but there are still areas of Japanese culture that I enjoy, namely sumo! We watch every sumo tournament, going so far as to decorate the house with sumo merchandise every two months when the 'Basho' rolls around. I also enjoy a lot of Japanese cooking in my day to day life.
Nowadays, I live a few hours away from Mum, but we still work together all the time. As I said before, I'm so proud of all of her achievements and feel so lucky to be a part of the Japan Crafts story. Thank you for being part of our Japan Crafts family!
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I started Japan Crafts in 2006 and have been bringing wonderful fabrics and techniques to people in the UK ever since.