A Beautiful Collection of Temari

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Temari Collection
A small selection of temari made by NanaAkua’s grandmother. Photo by NanaAkua.

A friend of mine pointed me to this gorgeous collection of temari on Flickr taken by NanaAkua. According to the notes on the photo set, these were taken in 2009 when the photographer’s grandmother was 88. She started learning the craft in her 60s and at the time was also teaching classes. An update says she is still making temari now, though no longer teaching.

I actually started learning to make temari myself in 2009. It’s a Japanese embroidery craft that involves wrapping thread tightly around a ball and then embroidering on the surface. Usually the embroidery follows certain patterns and creates geometric and starburst shapes. My right brain loved the craftiness, and my left brain loved the mathematics of it. And, because I’m a geek, I put my own geeky spin on some of them:

Temari
Three of my geeky temari: Settlers of Catan, Death Star, and Xbox. Photos: Jonathan H. Liu

But the temari in NanaAkua’s photos are something else. You can tell that some of these are really enormous. Most of mine are about the size of tennis balls or a little smaller; I’ve made two larger ones, about the size of softballs. But the sheer amount of thread and needlework involved in these (like the one below to the left) is incredible. I also liked the egg-shaped one pictured on the right, because getting a regular starburst is harder when you don’t have a perfect sphere.

Temari
Three more temari. Photo: NanaAkua

Visit the Flickr page for hundreds of other temari, or click here for my own humble collection. I haven’t made any in a while, but these photos are inspiring! Maybe in another twenty years I’ll be turning out creations like these!

[via Colossal]

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