Temari Tuesday – a pause

July 15, 2010

I head back next week to the final half of my university study this year, Semester 2, which runs from mid-July to mid-November. This means I’ll be taking a short break from intensive temari-making.

This will allow me to work at my temari problem-solving at a deeper subconscious level, considering a range of possible options:

* more clearly identifying Intermediate patterns and which technical components or competencies make them “Intermediate”;

* matching specific patterns in Cosmo and other instruction books to competency checklists;

* establishing a link between techniques in Beginner balls to more complex variations in Intermediate and Advanced balls, e.g. the ways in which bands become more complex by becoming interlocked and overlapping in increasingly more complex geometric patterns, right through to basketweave bands.

 * setting aside all the troublesome temari of the last twelve months and redoing them several times over – one following the model more or less exactly, another in “warm” colours and another in “cool” colour schemes, with perhaps some variation in size of mari.

* generally consciously trying to “fill in the gaps”. Book editors as we know excise a lot of the “working notes” associated with patterns  in the interests of reader simplicity and to make the craft object as attractive and trouble-free as possible. Their job is to not elaborate on any difficulties. They are fond of creating patterns as “stand alone” objects or projects, unrelated to others. Never have I seen a book consciously link techniques between temari balls; this is the province of teachers taking into account the understanding and appreciation of the individual student. Because webloggers are relatively free of some of these restrictions common to book editors who operate in a purely commercial environment, there’s real scope for writing at length about personal experience.

* posting real temari to other makers in far-flung places round the globe for comment and feedback.


I’m reminded of an intimate dinner in Kyoto where a few kumihimo colleagues and I got together after an international conference there in Autumn 2007. It was at Takasabune, a famed tempura restaurant where the shredded daikon melts like snow. After perhaps one too many drinks of sake, we dared speak of a dream common to some of us: a small house in Kyoto, perhaps in the Nishijin Quarter a little off the tourist trail, a house which we would some acquire somehow (as if Westerners could), for the purpose of visiting Westerners to come and experience kumihimo and temari first-hand, a clearing house of information and teaching and collegiality, a half-way house necessarily independent of any particular Japanese master or school, but a place equally accommodating for Westerners, a refuge for the nervous and curious coming to grips with Japan, as well as visiting “regulars” seeking to maintain close ties with traditional culture.

None of us has spoken of the dream since. Perhaps we’re relying on an Internet version of it instead. Thanks to those who’ve dropped in to check on my progress and call back again soon!

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