The following is a description of the art and craft of Temari, taken from one of the best English-languge sites on the 'net, Temarikai.com.
balls are a folk artform that originated in China and were introduced
to Japan five or six hundred years ago. The balls were originally made for children to play with (they were
used in kickball and handball games similar to the hackeysack games
played around the
world today). Historically they were constructed from the remnants of
old kimonos. Pieces of silk fabric would be wadded up to form a ball,
then the wad wrapped with strips of fabric. As time moved
on traditional Temari balls became an art, with the functional
stitching more and more decorative and detailed, until the balls
displayed very intricate embroidery.
Temari balls became an art and craft of the Japanese
class and aristocracy and noble women competed in creating more and
beautiful and intricate objects. They now represent a highly valued and
cherished gift symbolizing deep
friendship and loyalty. It is traditional for a mother to make a ball
for her daughter as a New Year's gift. They
balls), made to bring good fortune to the person who keeps them, and
are made by hand wrapping silk threads of different colors."
I studied Temari under an Australian woman whose husband had been posted to Japan. She learnt the craft there, and conducted classes in Newtown in the late '90s.
Here are some of the balls I made then:
Don't they make a cololurful selection?
I'd stopped making these intricate patterns, and stuck with balls that you can hang on the christmas tree. I don't have any of these with me at present, so a photo will come later. I've brought these in to fund-raisers to sell and they don't seem to go at all (except the christmas ones) - I think people don't know what to do with them.
The ones above are on a large glass plate that I had made just to take the balls. But sadly that doesn't stop then getting dusty.
So I bought a glass ginger jar
which is a great solution as they no longer get dusty and this jar doesn't take up as much room as the glass plate.
Recently I've gone back to Temari, thanks to a great site I found in Perth - Temari Addict Australia. Rebecca has encouraged me to join some Temari groups and get back into stitching.
I've decided to start back at the basics. Traditionally, balls are made from rice hulls, which you can get here in Australia from Home Brew suppliers. I've always used styrofoam balls as the easy alternative, but got frustrated as they aren't really round. So I got some rice hulls and tried wrapping these myself.
The smallest ball in the photo is my first attempt at wrapping a rice hull ball. It was a little too small for the pattern I sewed, plus I was out of practice!
Number two is the ball that has a different top and bottom. It has a pattern in green and white. the top pattern is called Interlocking Spindles and the bottom is called Twin Darts. These are from Barb Seuss's book Japanese Temari.
Number 3 was almost perfectly round. This is the red and green one on
the white ball. Rebecca in Perth sent me a photo of a ball that she had
done in this pattern, so I copied it. I think it's really an
interesting pattern! Update 16/08 - Rebecca tells me this is called Pine Needles.
I'm using reds, greens, whites and yellow as my suite of colours at the moment as a training exercise.
I'm working on number 4 and will have the photo up soon!