Welcome! As you use the site,
it will help if you understand how Temarikai.com started and how it
grew into what
it is today. The site was never
"planned", nor was there any idea it would evolve into the reference it
has become. It started out as
a handful of personal pages posted to find out more about
a craft I
had fallen in love with; all of a sudden things were growing in
leaps and bounds. Temarikai and
companion Yahoo Group discussion list) has emerged into what they now
are thanks to the
interaction, contributed information, sharing and support of
hundreds (indeed, thousands) of web readers and TalkTemari
This is why the site is not a cut-and-dried, preplanned,
online "how-to book"; it's a dynamic compendium of personal
authoring, learnin, research, and compiled information from
TalkTemari posts as well as contributed information & patterns.
pages first appeared as "lists of hints and helps" - these are now
(2008-09) being reworked (things are
being revamped in order to keep up, for the fourth time) into a
smoother, more readable and usable layout. With the increasing
popularity of Temari as a needleart, many people are coming to Temarikai.com as their primary reference for the art.
hope that you will find it helpful, but I strongly recommended that
newcomers/beginners still invest in a book or two, and allow TemariKai
(and maybe even TalkTemari) be your adjunct help and support (more on
these later on).
temari is like anything else - you need to learn basic
techniques, and practice them. Our first
attempts are most likely pretty pathetic, but everything
gets better as we keep at it. As with anything new there are
things that need to be and should be
learned in order, so that you get the best results with least
frustration. Become reasonably good with one technique before trying
the next, more complicated ones (loosely translated - we all
have to learn to walk before we try to run). This, more than
anything, will help you enjoy and have fun while you learn.
important to learn the background and basics of traditional Japanese
the historical stitch and techniques names help you understand what is happening. It will
make it easier to understand what is going on. You
don't need to dive into learning Japanese - far from it. The Romanji
translations are no more difficult to learn than any other new English
word (the Japanese Glossary and
the Temarikai ToolKit
will help you
with these). We have been very fortunate the last years to
have Japanese mentors and translators befriend us to teach and
classical lessons. Not only does this honor and preserve the heritage
of this ethnic art form, but gives a common base for everyone that
temari to understand the same things. Some
people have created
their own sets of names and terms, and before we had translation help
of Japanese teachers, there weren't other options (and we all have our own "shortcuts" in our memory
banks, but these are indeed personal things and not what the world uses
to communicate about a subject).
But - now that the historial Japanese teachings are offered to us, it's
important to learn the
craft in it's original and pure form as it has been handed
down for hundreds of years, without having to "guess as we go".
It is also very important to realize that there are stitches and
techniques in Temari that do not have direct Western correlations, so
trying to "force" a Temari stitch to be the "equivalent" of a known
Western embroidery techqniue can't always be done.
There is a difference between stitches/techniques and patterns/designs. They are not the same. You learn a stitch, and then use that stitch to create a design (it can be very confusing if this concept gets missed, especially if you are trying to communicate with other crafters). You practice a stitch or technique by using it to work different designs and patterns. There is a difference between developing your stitch repetoire and your design repetoire. We are not inventing a new craft - Temari has been practiced for hundreds of years, using a given set of temari stitches and techniques. Each of them have common-sense Japanese/Romanji names and definitions that describe what is happening when you make the stitch (and understanding translated meanings of these names helps make temari much more creative!). Your stitch skills will be finite - your pattern possibilities endless. It was mentioned above that many stitches used in Temari do not have direct Western/English correlations - which is not only true, but wonderful! It is what makes Temari Temari! Don't force yourself or the art to fit into a language and culture that it isn't, and never will be. That is the beauty, honor and privilege of being able to learn, enjoy and share an historical and cultural art form. It's no harder - and in fact easier - to learn the classical teachings and terms as it is to learn a variation of them.
important to remember if you are taking classes (or even learning from
some books). Some people "teach by
without clearly guiding students to understand the
difference between technique and design. Learn a stitch as that stitch,
and you can use it in endless designs and patterns. Learn it as "thus
and such a project" and your creativity (even subconciously) often
becomes limited in how that stitch is applied.
No matter how technically accomplished a stitcher you may become, it won't matter if you don't take the time to be careful and precise. There is no substitute for developing neat and precise work. The most beautiful temari design can have everything distracted from it because of workmanship that shows haste, and/or lack of attention to detail (even by very experienced, artistically talented stitchers). Indeed, these attributes are at the core of Japanese arts and life overall. To not take the time to work neatly, and to not continue to develop one's skill no matter how much experience you acquire, is dishonorable (no matter what one may be doing). Taking the time to learn the basics, and gain proficiency & understanding before diving into something new and more difficult, is just as important as taking on that new skill - and just as important as the actual stitching of temari. They cannot be separated.
are several ways you can go about learning
Temari. There may be a class offered in a
shop, lirbary or community group, but most people find themselves on
their own. Thankfully Temari lends itself to independent study, and
hopefully TemariKai and TalkTemari will help fill in the cracks. We are
also fortunate now to have access to Japanese books as well as the list
of English references growing compared to when this all started more
than 10 years ago. That being said, the vast majority of Western
are self-taught, and with email and the web, it's
Think about joining TalkTemari
on Yahoo Groups for more information and
interaction. You can also check the Temari Makers List and the Temari Teachers List on this site to
if there are folks in your area that are willing to be contacted
I recommend that you invest in one or more English language temari books - my favorites continue to be either the Craft of Temari by Mary Wood, and/or the first, second or fifth books by Diana Vandervoort. If you would like to try things on a bit of a smaller scale, Phyllis Mauer of Ethnic Fiber Art has written several booklets that introduce Temari with one or two projects. Information on these and more English publications can be found on the English Temari Books page along with ordering information. TemariKai will be a solid supplement and adjunct to the good basics found in any of these publications, but it would still be best for you to have any of these references.
Started Basics: The How To Section
of Temarikai has many pages of information. In
addition to a book, you will need some basic supplies; Styrofoam balls
are often used by beginners for mari cores, but you can make your own (and it's heartily
recommended that you do so).
Either way you will still need yarn for wrapping
(4 ply is ok but, it
helps to have some thinner yarn as well); sewing thread (about 300
yards for a 2 3/4 inch ball); color headed pins, scissors, tape
measure, thin paper strips (about 1/8 to 3/8 inch wide and long enough
to go around the ball); thin metallic thread, #5 pearl cotton (or, the
"Craft thread" that is being marketed recently - but not six strand
embroidery floss), and needles (cotton darners work well with pearl
cotton). These are the basics you need to get started; as your
experience grows you'll add more marking and stitching threads,
of these supplies can be had in one stop at a good craft/fabric store,
in an order from a good craft/needlework catalog, if you don't already
have many of them popping around the
now. And - perhaps the most important thing, is a notebook to keep you
growing stock of information and patterns as well as keeping records of
the temari that you stitch.
The basic steps to make a temari are: