I am a quiet, deliberate, rather shy person, which is why my chosen forms of creative expression suit me so well. To make a temari ball takes hours of quiet marking, wrapping, and stitching, building the intricate patterns one fine thread, one stitch, at a time. It is peaceful, contemplative work, requiring thought, planning, mindfulness. But temari are anything but shy—they are playgrounds of color, complex interweavings of designs and angles, mandalas and flowers, embellished with bright splashes of metallic thread. A single temari ball, hung or displayed in solitary splendor, is elegant, confident, sophisticated. A bowl of temari, their colors and patterns juxtaposed, is a riot, a party, a celebration.
But what exactly are temari? Temari are embroidered thread balls, which first developed hundreds of years ago as children’s toys. Though they may have originated in China, temari really took hold in Japan. Originally, temari were made from scraps of cloth wadded into a ball, then wrapped and stitched with threads salvaged from old kimonos. Over time, their purpose became more decorative. Today, some temari makers still begin with cloth balls, but others, myself included, use foam balls as the core. I then wrap the ball with fine wool (to provide a substrate for the stitching) and then wrap it again in several hundred yards of sewing thread before marking and stitching my chosen design in perle cotton and metallic threads. Traditionally, designs are often floral or geometric, and though my designs are rooted in these traditions, each of my temari is a one-of-a-kind, original work of art.
My love of color, and my propensity for quiet stitching, are also manifest in my other arts: knitting and embroidery. I am drawn to simple stitches, repeated over and over: linen stitch, garter stitch, running stitch, chain stitch, worked in slender yarns and threads, to build scarves, shawls, lace, and embroideries. In embroidery as in temari, I often explore the possibilities of simple geometric shapes, circles, and mandalas, as well as work inspired by family. You can see my knitted and embroidered work on my website.
In addition to the temari and knits available locally and online, I am happy to discuss commissioned work; please message me using the “Contact Me” form on my website.