How about Temari? | Off the Hook

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More likely than not we all know Manga, Origami, Kirigami, Amigurumis, Art of Growing Bonsai, Tatami or Calligraphy. Yet Japanese craft list is so much longer and includes some really amazing techniques, which (admittedly) I’d never heard before until I decided to dig into it as part of my Crafting Month celebrations. So how about Temari?

I am from Europe and Japanese culture always seemed to me as something exotic and mystical, at times also even weird. Somehow I could never quite get the phenomenon of kaiju. Of course, being a crocheter I am familiar with Manga and Anime style characters, as well as Amigurumi concepts. You know, part of my job 🙂 But there are few other crafts that I fell in love with. Here are 2 of my favorites:

Temari balls | CottonNutty

TEMARI

Among all, this is by far my favorite discovery. Maybe because I’m really into yarns and threads, maybe because this fairly simple technique is just stunning. Temari is an art of creating beautifully embroidered, colorful balls. It looks to have emerged in China long, long, long time ago and was brought to Japan around 8th century.

Temari is all about geometric shapes and rainbow colors arranged to create wonderful mosaic in a very methodical and ordered manner. Although, at times, they may look like randomly stitched. You start with a piece of fabric and wrap thread around it until you get a perfect form of a sphere. And then you decorate it by embroidering various shapes and structures on the surface.

Check out example creation process here if you wish to see it.

Nowadays those beauties are made with all sorts of thread and fabric but back then artisans used old and worn kimonos (what a great way to recycle old clothes!). They symbolize friendship and loyalty and are very often given as a present.

Although mastering Temari technique takes years to practice, basic forms can be done by newbies as well. If you are looking for handmade home décor ideas then give it a go. It doesn’t require expensive tools or accessories; all you need is your hands and a bit of patience. I will try it out for sure!


SHIBORI

This is an interesting one as it’s still being actively used and gaining popularity within handmade clothing industry. Shibori is essentially an art of manual fabric resist dyeing to create beautiful and unique patterns. Using various techniques of squeezing, pressing and wringing prior to applying the dye we can literally paint pictures on a fabric background color.

There are 6 methods of making Shibori items. I am not going to cover it all here as this may be a killer, but I will just mention that those methods differ in a way the material is squeezed and pressed and a type of object that serves as a resist.

If you’d like to read more about Shibori technique here’s a good article.

Update: If anyone’s interested in trying out Shibori then check out Elsa’s fantastic class here.

Similar to Temari, it probably came to Japan from China around 8th century, although there seems to be a lot of disputes around it. Unlike Temari – you probably don’t want to try it at home without being well-prepared to do it!


March isn’t over yet so you still have a chance to join me and celebrate Crafting Month by picking some new stuff up! Hope I got you interested a bit 🙂

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15 thoughts on “How about Temari? | Off the Hook”

  1. Hi, i am not a crafty person myself and not familiar with Japanese culture and art. I really appreciate those people who love art and crafts have so much patience in doing what they love. Every single creation is a masterpiece. 

    Thanks for showing us about Temari and Shibori. I wonder what are those colorful ball symbolized? Are they meant for toys? 

    Reply
  2. This is a very interesting post.

    When I first saw the picture of temari, I thought it was Christmas tree decorations, which I suppose they could well be.

    The examples in the photograph are beautiful and full of wonderful colour.  It is interesting how they made using old clothes and given as presents to indicate friendship.

    Shibori is also very colourful and so Japanese.

    Thanks for bringing both of these crafts to our attention.

    Reply
  3. The Temari patterns look amazing! I have never been much of a sewer, but the designs are really cool. How long have you been interested in Japanese culture and sewing? Do you like Temari or Shibori better? I like how you went into good detail about your interests in Japanese culture. 

    Reply
    • Hey Matt! I’m not really so much into Japanese culture – my partner is crazy about kaiju movies so you know.. I hear a lot 😉 I fell in love with Temari! those are soooo cool..

      Reply

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