Skip to main content

Ancient Arts and Crafts

Yesterday I came across a post by kokopelli  about an ancient craft practised widely 
in East Prussia, a former part of Germany. It is a weaving technique used to make bands
or straps, called Jostenbaender (Jostenbands or -straps). Reading about how those were made was intriguing because the same methods are
used here in Nigeria to produce aso-oke, a fabric strip of great length, which is cut to size and and the individual strips sewn together to make a larger fabric or various garments. And this industry here is very much alive and kicking! For now I do not have pictures to show, but as soon as I am able I will post some. 

Going back to ancient and traditional arts and crafts there is also Kumihimo from Japan. This is not weaving but braiding and is equally versatile in application. The two pictures above show a few examples. It is not hard to learn, is very therapeutic when working it and always gives beautiful results. 
Even though I say I work with wire, occasionally I take a break to do some braids, which of course will be used in jewellery making.
Have a try yourself, you will love Kumihimo!


  1. Amazing how much we learn by going back to what others have been doing. I would love to see these braid patterns in wire!

    Yes, it does seem like there are parallels - land and sea, or at least repetitive structures in nature. Fun that my seaweed (actually on the Pacific coast!) reminds you of your foliage. The seaglass is very prolific at this time of year on my mom's beach - after beer bottles from summer parties have gone through the winter storms and before other beachcombers get to them!

  2. Sorry I got my geography wrong. Now I have to check my atlas to memorize "Puget Sound"so I would not forget it again.
    I have done kumihimo in wire, 30g works fine. But foolishly I attempted 28g ss which became very tough, even though I finished the braid in one day. For the following three days I was not able to use my hands, they were swollen, stiff and very painful. So 30g and finer is the better option. As soon as I get them tumbled I will post pictures. So watch out!

  3. I have done kumihimo with beads. Have you tried that yet? Comes out beautiful.

  4. Thanks for the link on my blog and the comment! And interesting how some crafts exist throughout the world with different names.
    I agree. The regular movements are very therapeutic and stress-killing. So far I didn't use a kumihimo cord in one of my designs, but I used the cords in daily life like archery, zipper pulls and so on.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Healthy New Year!

Now we have left Christmas and overindulgence behind and are well into the new year, which we hope will be a prosperous and healthy one for everyone.

Unfortunately many have a health challenge like diabetes which puts serious restrictions on what to eat. Good cookbooks are available that make it a lot easier to plan meals, but to re-create favourite dishes of family members takes a lot of research and experimentation!

One of those favourites in our home is pancakes with all possible variations. Today I will show you one of them: Potato pancakes originally, now called coco yam pancakes. The change was necessary because coco yam is lower on the glycaemic index than potatoes, therefore better for diabetics but just as delicious!

You will need:
1 medium sized coco yam (malanga coco)
1 small onion
1 egg
1 heaped tbsp wholemeal flour ( wholewheat )
a pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
about 1/2 cup water
vegetable oil for frying

Peel and finely grate the coco yam and onion in…

From My Grandmother's Christmas Kitchen

The build-up to Christmas was always mysterious and magical in our house when I was little. One moment one was banished from the sitting room because secret things were happening there and next moment the kitchen was out of bounds, even though the most enticing smells were wafting through the house!

The kitchen was firmly my grandmother's domain and I will always remember all the delicious treats she prepared. One of those was " Baked Potatoes ", a most delicious little mouthful!

Not to keep you in suspense what these potatoes could possibly be, here is the recipe:

200 g shelled walnuts (or mixed nuts)
250 g icing sugar, sifted
3 egg whites, a few drops of almond essence if liked
some cocoa or grated chocolate
baking tray, buttered and dusted with flour

Grind the nuts, preferably with the pulse button, so they would not become too oily.Add the icing sugar and almond essence if using. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Take some of the whites and stir und…

More From My Grandmother's Christmas Kitchen

The enticing aroma and bewitching taste of Pfefferkuchen and Lebkuchen at Christmastime make them an unforgettable experience no matter how many years pass. These baked treats are in a class of their own and have no relationship with gingerbread in my opinion.

Recipes go back to the Middle Ages down to the 12th century when the spice trade was flourishing. Guilds were formed and no one not belonging was allowed to bake any Pfefferkuchen! Luckily we do not have these restrictions anymore and we have the choice of hundreds of well tested recipes!

My recipe today is not that ancient but just over a hundred years old. It is also fairly easy to prepare, considering that we now have blenders and mixers and food processors, items our grandmothers had to substitute with elbow grease!

What you need:
2 baking sheets, buttered and dusted with flour
Cooling racks, 2
Hand mixer with whisks and kneading hooks
Cookie cutters

Ingredients for the dough:
250 g granulated sugar (or a little less if you …