Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kumihimo (Japanese braiding)

During my month long absence from posting on my blog I remained creative while vacationing in North Carolina with my dear friends Denice and Marlene.  My objective was to travel light, use some of my studio materials already on hand, and choose a portable yet useful project.  Kumihimo braids can be applied in so many wonderful arts and crafts applications in addition to various practical uses.  This article isn't intended to be a history or a how to on Kumihimo but suffice it to say the Japanese originally used fine silk threads braided into strong cords for attaching to Samurai swords, and later for decorative purposes that are still used today when tying obi sashes to kimonos.  Current kumihimo braid usage could be for shoe strings, belting, bolo cords, numerous art applications, book marks, jewelry, hair ties, pet leashes and collars, garment or household decorative trims... the ideas are limited only by your imagination.

I wanted to make several cords from a stash of embroidery threads I had bought at Goodwill to use up some excess stock as well as preparing cords for later artful applications.  Pictured below are the finished cords I've stockpiled to date.  These are experimental exercises using an assortment of textural fibers, trims and color combinations.  It is possible to make numerous pattern designs based on the layout of colors on the kimihimo disc using non textured fibers that will reveal design repetitions.  The thickness of the cord produced is based on the number and thickness of the fibers used.  The tensile strength is affected by the cords used as well as the tension applied while producing the braid.  These factors must be kept in mind when determining the usage of each braid.

1 comment:

  1. I was looking for information about kumihimo and your blog gives a good overview. It's a little hard to read because of the see through background. Just FYI, it's not a big deal.