We’ve been busy stocking the Ukulele store with awesome products sourced from artisans around the world and are excited to share our latest finds with you. Today, meet the Ribbon Ukulele Lei! We fell in love with this little ornamentation – made in South Korea with ribbons of pink and white – and also with its maker, Yoo Hee Ahn of Ukuhappy. Read our Q & A with Ahn to learn more about the product and her story. Then, head over to the Ukulele store to get your very own lei!
Q&A with Yoo Hee Ahn of Ukuhappy
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself; how did you get started on your artistic journey?
A: I was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, but currently live in South Korea. My mother worked with specialty embroidery and making clothing, so because of this I was familiar with handicrafts. I grew up loving the old movies, I loved to draw pictures, and ended up studying filmmaking at the University. After graduation, I worked editing the fashion magazine Marie Claire in Tokyo then met my husband and moved to Korea. My husband is a Korean guitarist, and I had played the ukulele as a hobby and fell in love with the voice of the ukulele. I wanted to have a lovely accessory that went well with my ukulele, but couldn’t find such a thing anywhere in the world. It was an opportunity to begin to create an accessory!
Q: What inspires your creativity? Any particular artists you admire?
A: I am subject to the stimulus of color and design in the movies and pictures, and I admire the painter Henri Matisse and film director Mr. Otar Iosseliani. I also like running and do about a 10km run almost every day. The idea [for the leis] came up during a run and reflects the natural scenery of this in our design.
Q: Do you play an instrument? What music and musicians brighten your day?
A: Ukulele. Sometimes I enjoy playing the piano. My favorite musicians are Jack Johnson, Jake Shimabukuro, Ben Harper, Feist, Carla Bruni.
Q: What makes your shop and designs unique and special?
A: It allows me time to spend with our two daughters. I can play with the girls, or draw a picture, or take time to create something, which is very stimulating. It is also the source of my creative activity as children always expand the creative world, and this leaves a big impression on me. Sometimes, my 6-year-old daughter will help give advice on my designs.
Q: Did we miss anything you’d like to mention?
A: The Hibiscus and Plumeria, typical flowes of Hawaii, are created in the motif of our accessories. We use these in the application of the traditional crafts of the Hawaiian ribbon-lei. All parts of the petals are created carefully by hand, one by one, with a ribbon.