Four years ago, the neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, got a little more colorful with the opening of Saipua, a handcrafted soap and flower boutique run by Sarah Ryhanen and her partner Eric Famisan. Sarah took a (well deserved) breather just after last weekend’s Mother’s Day rush to tell us about the rain-inspired mixes on her laptop and how music can add to the emotion behind her dreamy creations.
What do you listen to while you work? Lately, I listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins, Phil Collins, The Knife, Simon and Garfunkel, Barbara Streisand, The Roches, Edith Piaf, Dead Can Dance, Arthur Russel, Arab Strap, Belle and Sebastian, Wild Beasts, Black Mountain, Echo and the Bunneymen, and Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
How do you listen? We plug our laptops into a sound system in the studio. Lots of times I’ll make a mix for the occasion, so I have a ton of mixes on my laptop with names like “Rainy Sunday in September” or “Rainy Monday Night with Martini” or “Mother’s Day.” (It’s funny—I have a lot of rainy-day mixes.)
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I look at Pitchfork sometimes. But in general, I hear about new music from my partner Eric, who’s much more plugged in, or from friends.
Does music influence your work? It definitely does. It’s hard to give specific examples, but I sometimes get really emotional when I’m working with flowers. Music, especially when I work alone, tends to add to the experience of checking out of reality and tapping into the subconscious flow or process of creation. Not to sound out-of-control corny, but the bottom line is the pleasure principle—arranging flowers is really pleasurable (incidentally we listen to a lot of Janet Jackson, too). Music just adds to that intrinsically aesthetic process. Wine is nice, too.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Eric keeps me up to date with new music, which I know very little about. He also listens to a lot of hip-hop and jazz—not always things I would turn on, but enjoy nonetheless. (I mean, I love some Naughty by Nature and Expose.) My friend Aaron is also a walking music-history library. My love of Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins, Julie Cruise and all that weirder late 80′s/early ’90′s ethereal femme jazz comes from his immense record collection.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? Kate Bush. So feminine, creative, beautiful; ultimately, such an amazing storyteller. She has such an imagination! I aspire to that sort of creative synergy in my life.
Read on for Sarah’s playlist…