This green stone donut with its lovely coral impediments from The Bead Bar in Orlando, Florida inspired several different techniques for creating a necklace. First, I chose to use a flat braid structure I had not braided before. Because the structure required 16 tama, I decided to attach the stone ring using four 4 strand braids. Then I tried a different way to prepare the braids for mounting into the finding.
I used four sections of Imposter rayon from Braidershand for each side of the necklace. Each section was doubled and then divided in half to wind the sixteen 70g tama, because I wanted the finished braid to be dainty enough not to overwhelm the pendant. I chose color #63 Olive, color #58 Gold Taupe and color #6 Dark Coral. I began each side by working 21 repetitions of maru yotsu with Olive/Gold Taupe and Olive/Dark Coral. Because I was working both sections of the maru yotsu at the same time (as with the first part of a sippou sequence), I used an 8-ounce (227g) counterweight. When the 21 repetitions of the sequence were complete, I passed the sections of maru yotsu through the hole in the pendant, taking care to do this underneath the mirror on the maru dai since the stone piece is too large to pass through the hole in the mirror. I then wound the remaining eight tama using the other half of the Imposter sections and increased the counterweight to 16 ounces (455g). The colors were arranged as shown in the diagram, with the eight tama that were originally used taking postitions 1-4 and 9-12, and the newly introduced tama in postitions 5-8 and 13-16.
The flat braid structure that I chose is a variation of Naka-tukusi using sixteen elements of the same size instead of thicker elements in postitions 3-6 and 11-14. Instructions for the Naka-tukusi structure on the maru dai are found on page 93 of Makiko Tada’s Comprehensive Treatise on Braids Volume I: Maru Dai Braids and page 63 of Jacqui Carey’s Creative Kumihimo .
I completed 9.5 inches (24cm) of the flat braid, and then, in order to make it easier to mount the braid in a cylindrical finding, I worked 4 complete sequences of the kongoh structure before ending the braid. Once the second side of the necklace was finished, I glued the ends into the finding from Lavaliere Sterling and Stones in New York.
This Week In My Workroom
Sometimes I work on specific projects, other times I'm just experimenting, but I am
Here's what's going on this week.
Artist’s StatementI enjoy kumihimo precisely because it is not a mindless activity – it demands my focus and attention, engaging the problem-solving part of my brain. Whether the structure is one that I am braiding for the first time or a familiar one, I am required to concentrate on the way the threads work together to form that particular braid. It forces me to pay close attention to the process instead of hurrying or looking ahead. The individual moves lead one to another predictably, and the structure, once understood, tells me what should come next. This peaceful, rhythmic flow added to the pleasure of the color interactions and handling the silk is the joy of kumihimo for me.