Embroidery on a sphere sounds pretty intriguing, I think, and the Japanese have this down to an art in the form of temari, which are wrapped, “embroidered” balls that are both decorative and meaningful. I’ve been captivated by temari for a while and itching to try it myself some day. That day has (almost) come; I’m a step closer to learning the craft, anyway…
While at Lacis in Berkeley, I didn’t buy a whole lot of embroidery-related supplies, but I did buy books, and one of them is The Temari Book.
The book includes instructions and patterns for making thread-wrapped balls. Temari are given as gifts by the Japanese for a variety of purposes – to mark the birth of a child, for example.
The art of making these beautiful little globes of perfectly arranged and colorful thread has grown in popularity lately here in the States, and apparently around the world. The most recent issue of Inspirations Magazine (Issue #62) attests to this. In this issue, you’ll find a thorough article and instructions for making your own temari, including making the thread-wrapped core. You’ll also find a temari challenge (with prizes) in the issue!
If you are new to temari (as I am!) and want to try your hand at it, you might want to invest in a book. However, this book…. well… I like it in some ways, but in other ways, I don’t. Normally, I don’t have trouble picking up a book and “getting it” pretty quickly, but I found I had to re-read and think through the steps in this book a few times before really getting what the author was instructing, on some points. On other points, I didn’t have a problem. Since I’m not too familiar with the craft, I don’t know, really, if the difficulty is me, or if it’s this book.
One thing I do like about the book is the inclusion of non-traditional forms, such as the egg shape. In fact, this is probably what sold me on the book. I like the idea of making temari for gifts – Christmas gifts, housewarming gifts, etc. Being able to make an egg-shaped “temari” would broaden the gift-giving perspective, I thought.
I started squizzing around the internet a bit, looking up Temari, and found a few very good websites that look helpful for the beginner.
Temari.com has a nice section on tips for beginners. The website is Diana Vandervoort’s, who is an author of several books on temari and also has produced a how-to video that goes along with her book, Temari: How to Make Japanese Thread Balls.
Edit: (added at 10:00 am…) I forgot to add the website temarikai.com, which is actually the first website I ever read in depth on the subject of making temari. Don’t be put off by the first page of the site, which is predominantly text. The how-to section is really thorough, with tons of excellent instructional information!
I’m thinking about investing in one of Diana Vandervoort’s books and keeping The Temari Book (above) as a resource for ideas.
In the meantime, I have to admit that I did buy two thread-wrapped cores while at Lacis, too.
I know it seems a bit like cheating! And, trust me – they were kind of an extravagance, at $14.95 each! But I justified the purchase two ways (I’m always having to do this to myself!): 1. Time is money. It will take time to get a perfect core ready for decorating; 2. Since time is money, if I save time by cutting to the “fun” part of decorating, then I’ll know that much sooner whether or not I want to spend the time learning the craft, right? If I find it to be as fun as I think it will be, then I’m pretty sure, in the future, I won’t mind making my own thread-wrapped core.
Ok, do I really have to justify the purchase?!
So, what about you? Has this form of “embroidery-on-a-sphere” ever interested you? Have you made temari? Do you have any specific books to recommend, or resources for the beginner? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know!
For now, I’m off to set up some flat-surface embroidery!