Meet Carolina Breuer
Lampshades and so much more!
Gerbscheid & Breuer Decor
Also featured in the book Kimono, Vanishing Tradition (2nd expanded edition)
Tell us about yourself, your business…
Gerbscheid & Breuer décor is based in Amsterdam. Working in interior décor, often with very exclusive fabrics, I see the influence authentic Japanese fabrics have had in the past years. I see bamboo, camelia, shishi lions, cranes and so on featured in new fabrics. In addition to that, I love to add the real thing. A handmade lamp from real kimono silk, a little pouf upholstered with a striking obi, a bolster from an uchikake panel. It adds a unique exotic feel and softness to the space. Nothing compares to a beautiful, hand painted, aged kimono.
How would you describe your art/craft?
I am trained in classic upholstery, so my focus is on interior and textiles. I can really swoon over a beautiful antique sofa with a gorgeous silk fabric and handmade passementerie to match. I have a soft spot for things handmade and started to make furnishings and later lampshades with kimono silks because I like the creative process and the unique result.
How long have you been doing this?
In 2006 I wanted to make a new product for a very nice interior shop in Amsterdam, soft furnishings. My plan was to not use new fabrics but vintage and old stock. I wanted to use all those already made beautiful textiles, just waiting for a new use and life. So with that in mind I started to search the internet for vintage fabrics and found some fabulous web shops, like Kyoto Kimono. Kimono were still a bit of a mystery for me, although I had a beautiful hand-painted one in my possession. So my hunt for kimono began, every evening I was searching the internet and buying kimono, I started to read and learn about the different patterns, colours, dyeing, haori, uchikake, araiharai and so on. All very fascinating for a textile lover.
What is your favorite thing about working with kimono fabric?
It’s hard to describe the feeling I had when receiving a new package with kimono, and there were many, I was in awe of many of the kimono, they looked so unusual to me. I started to make soft furnishings, cushions, bedspreads, poufs covered in obi silk and they sold quick, because they were so unusual and people recognized the special quality and uniqueness in them. I work with assignments and prices range from €200,- to €4000,-
Nowadays my focus is on making lampshades with kimono, I have quite a collection of kimono, my favorite are the houmongi, but I also have quite a lot of girl’s kimono, I love the vibrant colors on those and especially love the ones made with chirimen. I enjoy the the process of creating a lampshade using kimono silk, the patterns enable you to make a solid color lampshade with only a single flower on one panel or use different parts of the pattern, the possibilities are endless.
Lately I have also done a small assignment, I made small pouches from a kimono of the mother a Japanese lady. It had special meaning to her mother, since she had it specially made to visit the emperor. Now all the grandchildren have a small piece of that same kimono with a little bit of painted forest and a family crest on it.
Have you travelled to Japan?
Traveling to Japan is definitely on my wish list!
What is the most challenging thing about working with kimono fabric?
The only restriction is when I have an order for a larger set of lampshades, all kimono are unique, so the quantity is limited, combining is the only option. Of course, that can be challenging, but the result is always gorgeous and unique.
Here are more of Carolina's creations: