Temari – Takahara 12/5

May 26, 2009

Yoko Takahara, Flower temari beginner’s course. Design 5 on page 12.

Takahara 12 5

Most temari are multi-coloured, but Takahara-san translates shades of indigo blue onto the temari surface in a delightful Blue-and-White series of twelve examples. They obviously strongly evoke indigo and aizome, a cornerstone of Japanese country textiles. I’m not aware of any old temari that have come down to the modern day in these colours, or dyed indigo – except as part of a multicoloured temari – but their sculptural qualities would obviously work extremely well beside traditional indigo-dyed fabrics.

They are relatively simple and straightforward designs, harking back to the most traditional patterns, as you’d expect. There are two which use the pole-to-pole, pattern, one with 16 divisions and one with 24. Two are traditional kiku, one is a traditional square, one is a woven spindle and two use triangluated squares – all in two or three shades of indigo, either on a white or dark blue mari.

I’ve long taken a liking to no.5, a 24 division pole-to-pole with a vignette kiku at each pole, relying on a trick of the eye to show off the overlapping kiku petals. I made it 0.5cm short of the 30cm mari required, which doesn’t sound much, but I think results in the slightest cramping of the radiating swirls. Working on 24 divisions so close together is not as easy at it looks either. Working in the same direction all the time is required, otherwise the weaving starts to falter. Stick a pin in the north pole and keep it there throughout.  Take care to start each colour where you finished the previous – watch the weaving at this juncture. The first row is a critical building block – the thread should cross the guidelines at two points. Thereafter, the curvature will affect each row, so groom by nudge-and-fudge accordingly. At the end, no mari should be showing except on the obi and a row either side. Proceed more slowly and more delicately than you might otherwise work, taking special care with watching the meeting points of each green stitch at the pole ends.

I did it in greens (twice) for the TalkTemari Great International Temari Swap (GITS) on the Environment Day theme. A beige mari was acceptable; I think a light yellow-green background would have swamped the overall effect somewhat. I obviously misinterpreted the pole kiku first time round, which compared to the pattern are cramped and anemic;  corrected satisfactorily the second time. My greens were DMC perle cotton 5 – 319 (dark), 987 (mid) and 3346 (light) – deliberately close in tonality to give a muted jungle effect. Division guidelines were done in the very thin (and delicate) gold Nordic Gold which can’t stand any hard pulling.

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