Temari ball – Russian Dolls

July 25, 2011

I stayed up to watch the the 2005 French film “Les poupees russes” (what “Friends” might have looked like had it ever been filmed in France) on tv last night and this was the result.

C8, 26cm circumference; dark blue mari and perle cotton #5 in two oranges, black and white

I wanted another temari in the orange-blue complementary colour arrangement and this was a test ball in a stitching method which I hadn’t done before. The use of two orange colours side by side derives in part from the ball named “Phoenix” in Diana Vandervoort’s book “Temari Traditions” more techniques for Japanese Thread Balls” but there she uses a brick red and an orange. The key is to have just enough tonal distinction between the two colours.

The pattern comes from a book by Ozaki called Temari for Four Seasons volume 1. (colour photo p.19 and pattern p.90). Ozaki does hers in brown and red threads.

On the matter of colour, my colleague in the West has alerted me to ColourSchemeDesigner, http://colorschemedesigner.com. My ‘analog’ colour wheel matches colours across the circle of cardboard via arrows; this virtual one puts colours side by side. The colours are bright and jazzy and made for temari. Through constant practice, complementary colour relationships are automatic to me now; I’m hoping tetradic ones will become equally automatic to me over time. An American painter named Ted Goerschner conscientiously uses split complementaries (the colours immediately on either side of a complementary) and is big on colour enhancing where he wants the eye to travel, especially to focal points involving strong contrasting tonality: the focus invariably involves the lightest light against a dark spot. Exactly where we look when we examine a temari ball is something I’m considering. I got bored at a blockbuster in Canberra of the paintings of the great J.M.W. Turner in part because this use of the painting’s focus being this proximity of white-next-to-black was being used in every single painting! 

In a small exhibition of temari balls at the NSW Embroidery Guild a few years back, I had to provide balls categories by colour – all the reds together, all the blues together, etc. sitting on separate shelves. At that point in time, I hadn’t consciously stitched balls which might sit together by colour – I was just stitching balls in any colours which took my eye at the time! I’m revisiting that now in terms of being a bit more conscious of colour combinations, especially in terms of working all the colours of the spectrum. In addition, this will work too not so much in terms of exhibitions but perhaps in terms of photography. An urban sketcher acquaintance of mine self-publishes small books of her work via www.blurb.com and it’s time I upgraded the photographs of my work and produced my own, perhaps titled “Yamamichi: my first 100 temari balls” or “Yamamichi: my first four years making Japanese temari thread balls”. My sketching acquaintance rustles up a 40-page softcover book every so often to give to family and friends at Christmas. The binding is professionally done, though 40-pages in the small square format certainly puts it in the category of a “thin volume”.”Yamamichi” refers to one of my favourite desings in Japanese textiles, the swerving path through forest up the mountain slope, bush-bashing often undertaken by yamabushi or monks who took up meditation practice of the ruggedly outdoorsy type. There exists some monks in the eastern hills outside Kyoto who specialise in this to this day.

I’ve been concentrating on complex-eight division temari in this latest mid-Winter iteration of temari balls. Not sure whether to continue, or to put my feet up and settle into a 34cm C10. Like Australia’s current two-speed economy (Mining and The Rest), there is a two-speed pace in temari-making: the high road of C6s and C8s or the slow low road of C10s which can take weeks to complete!

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