Thursday, 16 April 2009

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.


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