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


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!


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. Thank you for the very informative article! I really enjoyed reading this and learning about Temari and Shibori!  I actually find the shibori method to be a little more interesting.  I would love to have clothing that is done in this way, because it seems extremely artsy and beautiful!  Do you have any clothes made like this?

    • Hi Jessie! Not yet.. I did want to do it and even found some old T-shirts to experiment with but I first need to find a place to do it.. Somehow I don’t think bathroom would be a good choice 😉 Once it gets warmer I’ll see if I can do it in my shed.. 

  2. Did you know that Shibori in Japanese comes from the verb root “shiboru” that simply means “to wring, squeeze or press”.

    This Japanese manual dyeing technique produces a number of different patterns on fabric. As a fun fact, it was supposedly introduced from China. Along with the Chinese style of dress, shibori was adapted in a unique way by the Japanese and is one of the oldest indigo dying techniques in Japan. It is said that among the goods donated by the
    Emperor Shoumu to the Toudai-ji Buddhist temple in Nara in the 8th century there were shiboru garments.

  3. these look beautiful. I think i’ve just found my newest craft project. I love trying new things and seeing new ideas in interesting and unique mediums. These small, ornate designs are right up my alley. Thanks for posting this, I hadn’t heard of them before but I’m off to make a whole new pinterest board.


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