Here at Mr. X, we love our balls. He even gave us another Temari Tuesday shout out on Facebook to beautiful balls everywhere. If you’re on Pinterest then be sure to peek at our Temari board dedicated to balls you can play with, hold and caress, even in public!
‘Every ball is sacred. Every ball is good. Every ball is needed, in your neighborhood.’
Let’s move along to Kimekomi. That’s right, more balls. Kimekomi is different from Temari because the base is solid and Temari usually have bells or other sound-makers inside. Kimekomi can be made from wood composite or sturdy foam. We see them used as ornaments, mostly. The other difference is, Kimekomi uses fabric inlays instead of stitched thread.
The complexity of your Kimekomi ball depends entirely on the artist. They can be traditional and delicate or you can make a hundred as Christmas decorations. To make one you need a wood composite, Dylite or Styrofoam ball. Mark the lines. Carve them in. Cut fabric pieces. Tuck fabric into grooves. Glue trim over joints. You can find a more detailed tutorial here.
It is believed that the first Kimekomi doll was made by Tadashige Takahashi who served at the Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, Japan in the early 1700’s. Near the Kamo rivier, he dug some shallow lines in a piece of willow tree and inlayed the cloth to create his first doll. After which, he mastered the technique and passed the art-form down to his grandson who created Daihachi dolls.
Kimekomi dolls come in many varieties, each with their specific use. Hina dolls often depict the Imperial court and are given to girls and displayed on “Girls Day”, March 3rd. Also called Hinamatsuri, it is a celebration for girls to have a healthy life and happy marriage. The dolls are charms agains evil but their protection finishes when the girl becomes an adult. Similarly, there is “Boy’s Day” which falls on May 5th. Although the Japanese government re-named the festival, “Children’s Day”, “Girls Day” still maintains it’s own, unique rituals.
Other common Kimekomi dolls are in the shape of animals, often from the Chinese Zodiac.
Feel like making your own Kimekomi doll? We’ll you’re in luck. World renowned Master Mataro has kits available on his website. The equally fabulous Juho Tougei has a huge variety of kits, fabric, tools and tutorials on his website. He warns you not to pop in at his physical location in Japan unless you speak Japanese because his staff doesn’t speak English. Any questions, he’s happy if you e-mail him directly.
Don’t forget to check out our Kimekomi board on Pinterest too!
When she’s not gallivanting overseas (usually to Japan) Madeline is making things and staying sunny in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. You can keep up with Madeline’s endless fiber projects and find her travel blog at www.madelinewonderland.com