Naked interview with a London Shibari and Kinbaku rigger – Opalfruit.

2019 has definitely been a year for Shibari– the art of Japanese rope tying. From my first playful exploration with with rope, suspension and different styles of tie, to learning about the people in the world built up around this beautiful art form, there seems to be no end to the wonderful tangled web of intricate skill and artistic passion that the rope community have to offer. We talk to a well-known face on the rope scene- the rigger Opalfruit

A rope bunny hangs happily in a suspension by a shibari rigger


How did you first get involved in the scene?

After moving back to London from living in Cyprus, I was looking for new social groups and opportunities and that’s how I found out about munches. I remember being at one and seeing someone tie his partner. He was so fast and there was this martial-arts-like way of doing it that I was completely amazed by. It made me think that I needed to meet him and learn what and how he did that. I approached him and he suggested Peer Rope London. I’ve never looked back since!


What do you think of the subdivisions in the scene? Where do you see yourself as fitting?

As it happens in everyday life, people relate more with other people who share the same interests, so in the scene it seems obvious that subdivisions would also appear. There are many different and specific munches where people meet based on their kinks and fetishes, or lifestyle choices, hobbies… But at the same time everyone is more than just a single piece of equipment or play, and even though I am more well known in the rope scene, at the end of the day they all merge together when you’re at a club or in a play scene.


What is Peer Rope?

Peer rope London is a monthly event where people can come and practice, or learn from each other. The idea is that if anyone sees anything they like, they can approach that person and ask them if they are willing to teach them what they did.

brunette woman and rope bunny hangs happily from a shibari rope ring suspension


How did it get started?

It all started as a small group of friends meeting together and it kept on building from there, to the point where they ended up having to hire a venue to provide enough capacity for the amount of people interested in joining in! 


Who is it for?

Everyone willing to attend. PRL is a welcoming event catering from beginners to advanced riggers, which makes it a great learning space for all.


How do people sign up?

There’s no need to sign up. PRL events are public on platforms like Facebook and Fetlife, so anyone can just turn up. The entry fee is £5, the doors open at 13:00 and it’s usually held on the last Sunday of the month.


What should they know before they attend?

That it’s a good idea to wear something comfortable, like what you might wear to the gym or a yoga class. PRL codes of conduct can be found on both Fetlife and Facebook profiles, having a quick browse at them is a great idea.


What’s the future for rope in the uk?

I think it’ll follow the trends of the past few years and interest will continue to increase. It has already increased so much that now there are 2 dedicated venues for it in the UK, Anatomie Studios in London and Studio Kokoro in Mansfield. I expect, and hope, that with the continued interest more venues will open around the county.


What do you wish people knew?

That rope is fun and doesn’t have to be all technical and lots of fancy knots or doing suspensions. It’s much more than that and can even be done with no knots at all! It’s all about the interaction and connection between the two people involved and what goes through their minds.

Rope is like a hug, that can be given in many different ways. 

Opalfruit


What are your favourite online platforms?

Fetlife is the main platform where I can be found.

Where can people contact you?

Either on Fetlife or a page on Facebook, both called Opalfruit.

What’s a good story you have from the scene?

I remember a few years ago someone coming to me and showing me some pictures, asking me if I could tie like that and what kind of style I tied in. I opened my Fetlife album and showed some pictures to them. They didn’t realise before approaching me that they were showing me my own pictures! We both ended up laughing about it.


What do you think is still unfair about the scene?

That it gets a bad reputation, seems taboo and people think that we’re messed up in the head. Licensing problems and Councils wanting to close venues and not allow BDSM nights have really cramped the style of kink across London and keep making it harder every time. Having chatted with various bouncers who work at events, they say that there’s always much less hassle at BDSM nights that normal club nights. Another thing I find unfair is how the misconceptions end up making it a joke to the general public and target for abuse. This can sadly be seen at many events while queuing in the street.


What is the lure of the scene?

That people are actually far more welcoming, friendly, understanding and tolerant than in other circles. The scene and the possibilities are so vast that you can never cease to be amazed by the new toys or tools coming up, or the events available every other day!


Which are your favourite events?

I’m biased as I’m one of the organisers of Peer Rope London, but other favourite events are the ones held by Klub Verboten. Then there’s London Alternative Market for equipment, toys and supplies, where you can also socialise and put your new purchases to use at their after-parties. Anatomie studio for rope practice and training throughout the week. DVS club is another of my favourites for events and socials. And then there are other smaller and more private events like Klassy, and I can normally be found at many of those.


What are you excited about at the moment?

I recently attended a rope workshop with a Master from Italy called “Wildties” and learning his interpretation of a top Japanese rigger called Akira Naka, which is something I keep on learning about. In general, I find it exciting that there are always new things to learn or new ways of doing things, so learning is a continuous process. It is when you think you are an expert when you need to learn the most, that’s why I consider training and learning a never ending and exciting process. 


Where would you suggest a newbie starts if they want to explore?

As someone new approaching the scene, I’d recommend learning about consent in all its forms, as it is one of the cornerstones of the whole scene. I also recommend going to munches (social events for like minded individuals) and meeting new people. It’s a great way of finding a new group of friends within the scene, which would make everything easier! Then I’d suggest going with some of them to somewhere like the London Alternative Market, where you can find a great social environment, interesting kinky workshops and knowledgeable stall owners who will advise you on their products and help you find what suits you best. 


On a more personal side, I also suggest not having an ego or pretending that you’re better than you are. It’ll soon be figured out and all the trust in you will be lost. 


Any parting words of wisdom?

Have fun! It’s meant to be about the interaction, feelings and connection instead of how it looks and what others think. Take your time and remember to enjoy the ride, you don’t have to buy everything and use everything every time you play.

*I have consent from SweetCherry24 on Fetlife for using these photos.

*The images and descriptions within this page feature consenting adults

*The images remain copyright property of their owner

*The images depicted have been expertly created without pain or harm to any persons

*The rope ties depicted have been created for the purposes of image creation and no sexual implication is intended.

*Shibari and rope is beautiful but can be dangerous if not done correctly. It is not recommended to try any of the images or descriptions on this page without first seeking qualified professional advice and supervision


Website: https://peerropelondon.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/first-blog-post/

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