Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Some people call them Temari Balls, but "Temari Ball" is as redundant as "Pizza Pie." Like Pizza means pie in Italian, Temari is Japanese for hand ball. It’s a Japanese art form that began – and for all I know still is, in part – a way for a Japanese mother or grandmother to make a ball for her child or grandchild to play with. The process once began with wads of old kimono scraps bound in thread. Gradually these thread wrappings began to done in various colors, interwoven so as to make a geometric pattern. Sometimes a tiny bell or small container of pebbles or rice was hidden in the center to help keep the child’s interest. Today there are Temari patterns of enormous beauty and complexity, and these are not given to children to play with.

Last evening my EGA (Embroiderers Guild of America) chapter held a class in Temari. Like many seemingly complex things, it can be broken down into relatively simple steps. Last evening we wrapped a three-inch Styrofoam ball in a circle of thin white felt, then covered that with layers of cream-colored baby-weight yarn, then were instructed to cover that with red thread at home. Next month we will add more layers of colored thread in stripes to make a pattern. And that’s all there is to it.

If mine comes out, I’ll use it as a Christmas tree ornament. If I continue to master and enjoy the process, I see Christmas tree ornaments in the future of many of my relatives.

Go here to see some splendid examples of Temari: http://www.temarichallengegallery.org/

1 comment:

Linda O. Johnston said...

I went to the website. They really are pretty, Monica! I never heard of Temari before, and I always appreciate learning new things.