Monday, 9 April 2012

kumihimo 組紐 (or Japanese traditional cord weaving)

phew, it not only seems like a long time since i last posted something, but it actually has been a long time... and meanwhile Easter has come and gone.

if you know me, you ll also know that i haven t been sitting still. well, i have been sitting down a lot, but my hands just can t stop moving, haha...

not too long ago, i discovered a new technique called kumihimo ('kumi' being the Japanese for 'to gather', or 'weave' and 'himo' being the word for 'cord'). i say 'new' technique but it is in fact a very old one... nearly 800 years old and indeed very familiar to me, because i had seen enough cords and braids in Japan, especially when one of my family members wore a 'kimono' (the Japanese traditional clothing) where the 'obijime', the cord that ties the 'obi' (the long silk sash or belt) together is in fact braided silk cord; kumihimo.

it must be that somewhere deep inside me there is this fascination for braiding or weaving. i used to have long hair that i liked to braid. i love knitting as well. and, i now realize, that many of the silver jewellery that i ve been making over the past years, also contains a lot of weaving and interlocking...

what first started as rediscovering macramé, another weaving, or rather, knotting technique using beads and cords to make some simple bracelets, i was looking up some information on the internet and came across kumihimo.


first i saw that there was this strange disc that enables one to make 'simple' weaves similar to ones produced on a 'maru-dai'.

by chance i was in a creative hobby shop looking for some cords and beads to make some more macramé bracelets and i found this:


but not easy to start, so i looked it up some more...

and began practicing:

'yatsu kongoh' weave (eight threads) two colors

'yatsu kongoh' weave (eight threads) four colors

'yatsu kongoh' weave (eight threads)

'yatsu kongoh' weave (eight threads) two colors

'maru yotsu' weave (four threads) single color

'maru yotsu' weave (four threads) three colors

'maru yotsu' weave (four threads) three colors

'kaku yatsu' weave (eight threads) two colors

and then i remembered i still have my mom s sewing box, where i keep all her old embroidery threads as well as mine (did i mention that i used to do quite a lot of embroidery too when my son was little?).

so i bundled some threads and started experimenting with those and trying out other weaves...

'yatsu se' weave (eight bundles of two threads) four colors

set-up for 'maru genji' weave

'maru genji' weave (sixteen bundles of three threads) three colors

and then i discovered these three videos on YouTube:

part one: Edo Kumihimo I

part two: Edo Kumihimo II

part three: Edo Kumihimo III

they are in Japanese, but please don t let that discourage you and do take a look... it s such a beautiful craft and words are almost superfluous.

somehow, i feel like i have come home.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

my snake necklace

just a short post in-between the laundry and baking a batch of cookies...

it s finished.

my necklace, you know, the one i almost botched because i had soldered a few rings together that weren t supposed to get stuck?

well, i almost ruined it again during filing:

see the dent?

so i had to think of something quick to cover up the little mistake (yes, that is allowed...) which was this:

that took about two hours to make...

and i still had to get it soldered onto the end fitting! plus i still had the actual clasp to make.

hmm, not quite right. but it worked out in the end.

i quite like it...

and just in case you re wondering: why 'snake'? it s only because i was born in the year of the snake, and i thought the necklace which is officially an 'inverted round' weave has a kind of 'snake-y' feel, but hey, that s just me...

next week there ll be no class cuz of mid-term break, but i was at the library yesterday and i found a beautiful book: A World of Earrings which has given me an idea for my next project.

but first, laundry...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

(belated) Happy New Dragon Year!

uh-oh! is it february already?

Happy 2012! Happy Dragon Year! may your dreams and wishes come true, and should some things turn out to be hard or sad, that you will still be able to pick yourself up and find the strength to carry on...

oops, that sounded a bit depressing, that last bit. anyways, it s what i tell myself... no yin without yang, yet no yang without yin either.

sorry i ve not been able to post anything, but i have been struggling with the piece i m working on at the moment.

i haven t even been able to take photos of the darn thing, because i was either trying to get it soldered, or trying to piece it together again.

oh, did i actually mention what i m working on exactly?

it s a necklace, an 'inverted round' necklace like the bracelet i made last year... it was something i worked on in-between projects and finally i had enough length on it to start working on the locket and the finish.

but it s kinda working against me. after having made the end pieces and pickling the whole thing, i saw that a few rings had opened again, and while trying to solder those, the solder flowed thru to other rings, which ofcourse stuck those together, and then i nearly burnt the necklace trying to let the solder flow so i could loosen the rings... aaaaaargh!

it is a work of patience.

which i have...


soon, soon it will be finished and i ll be able to show you what it looks like.

on another note: my friend loved her bracelet with the little rose clasp, yay!

here s what it looks like

and here s a few variations on the 'rose' (that s me, get me started, and i often can t stop)



so, next post will be about that new necklace.

i hope.