Great Balls Of Embroidery

I thought when it came to craft I was pretty much up on all the ones out there. So, imagine my absolute delight to find a type of embroidery that not only had I never heard of, but is also absolutely stunning. Temari Spheres.


In the past I have considered remortgaging my house or selling a kidney so I can go to Japan – mainly so I can visit Fabric Town. Yes, that’s right Fabric Town. Better known as Nippori it’s a whole area devoted to selling fabric and crafts. Just imagine entire department stores devoted to fabric and a floor just for buttons! Kind of makes John Lewis haberdashery look a bit pedestrian doesn’t it? Anyway, I digress, now I wish to go to learn the art of Temari Spheres. I have a feeling it could take a while though…


These Amazing balls of embroidery were created by a 92-year-old grandmother. She’s been making them for 50 years and now has over 500 of them. It’s all thanks to her grandaughter that I found them after she posted them all on Flickr under the name NanaAkua.


Temari originally began in China, but came to Japan in the 7th century. They are traditionally given by parents to their children on New Years Day and hidden inside is a piece of paper containing a wish that the parent has made for their child which will forever remain a secret.


The balls are traditionally made using silk scraps from old kimonos and take insane levels of precision, patience and incredibly dexterous fingers. You also have to have specific training in Japan and will be tested on skill and technique before being acknowledged as a Temari crafter


Sadly my skills might not be up to the challenge, but if you think you could produce (ahem) wonderful balls then check out this website for a great how-to and lots of interesting information on the history of the craft. I’ll just stick to admiring these balls for now and keeping my clearly childish sense of humour. 


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