Arigato Travel has recently had the delightful opportunity to sit down with Satomi, the proud founder of TEMARIMO. Originally from Hyogo, Japan, Satomi’s journey has taken her to multiple countries such as Thailand, the Netherlands, Canada, and back to Japan. Her travel experiences and great appreciation for Japanese culture have connected people across borders. Satomi’s company, TEMARIMO, is dedicated to spreading happiness through temari craft workshops and raising awareness for this beautiful centuries-old art form. Join us as we delve into her inspiring story and how temari has fostered international connections!
Can you explain what TEMARIMO is?
Founded in 2022, TEMARIMO, aptly named after the craft it represents, is dedicated to spreading the timeless art of Temari. Using eco-friendly materials, our mission is to infuse beauty and joy into people’s lives. Temari, the centuries-old craft of creating intricately embroidered balls, serves as a universal language of creativity. Each Temari, meticulously crafted with delicate threads, symbolizes well-roundedness and the wish for a fulfilling life. Through workshops and cultural exchange, we aim to connect individuals across borders and celebrate the beauty of tradition.
For centuries, temari, patterned balls, have been embroidered in Japan. What is the art of temari and why is it culturally significant to Japan?
For centuries, Temari, patterned balls, have been a cherished art form in Japan, with roots tracing back to China around the 7th century. This craft involves wrapping thread around a core to create intricate designs on the ball’s surface. Temari holds deep cultural significance, reflecting Japan’s dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail. It’s a symbol of familial tradition, often passed down as heartfelt gifts, particularly on New Year’s Day—a significant celebration in Japan.
Initially made from kimono cloth, the first Temari was crafted for wealthy families. Over time, this evolved to include threads, allowing for more intricate patterns. The affordability of threads made Temari accessible to a broader range of people, turning it into a popular art form. Today, Temari serves various roles, from gifts on celebrations to decorations at homes, offices, and even cars. It’s an art piece that embodies the wish for a full and well-rounded life. Through its history, artistry, and symbolism, Temari beautifully captures the essence of Japanese culture, bridging the connection between art, nature, tradition, and meaningful connections between generations.
How did you become interested in temari? What inspires the designs you have posted on your instagram and blog?
My journey into Temari making began after I returned from a working holiday in Canada. While there, I realized that there was much about Japanese culture I had yet to explore. Additionally, I was inspired by how significant it was for the people I met in Canada to have something they genuinely enjoyed. This prompted me to delve into various crafts, including resin accessories making, pressed flower art (押し花), mizuhiki, ロザフィー (rosaefolia), and Temari.
I was drawn to Temari because of its accessibility and the joy of working with thread colors. What’s fascinating about choosing colors is that while you start with a particular set of colors in mind, as you create, unexpected combinations emerge, leading to a unique palette that evolves continuously. The ability to experiment with different combinations and infuse my personal touch, much like my own journey in life, resonated with me. Temari-making is a process of trial and error, and what I love most is that it allows me to break free from strict rules. It’s akin to my approach to life, constantly evolving, adapting, and expressing my true self. Just as I experiment and tweak my Temari creations without being confined by traditional techniques, I find a beautiful reflection of my own identity in this craft.
TEMARIMO offers many different workshops in the Vancouver area! Could you walk us through what a workshop would look like start to finish?
A TEMARIMO workshop offers a creative and immersive experience, guiding participants through the art of crafting beautiful Temari. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you can expect from start to finish:
Introduction and Welcome
Participants gather at the workshop venue, receiving a warm welcome from the TEMARIMO team. They’re introduced to the historical and cultural significance of Temari as an exquisite art form in Japanese culture. An overview of the workshop structure and the day’s planned activities is provided.
Materials and Tools
Participants receive all necessary materials and tools, including threads, rice husks, needles, and an array of colorful threads to choose from.
The workshop commences with an introduction to fundamental Temari-making techniques. This involves learning the proper method of wrapping threads around rice husks to establish the initial foundation of the Temari.
Under the instructor’s guidance, participants dive into hands-on crafting, intricately stitching patterns onto their Temari creations. The instructor is available to address questions, offer assistance, and provide tips, ensuring participants are comfortable with the techniques. Each participant is provided with a Temari Making Instruction sheet, complete with images and explanations, which they can take home for reference and to complete their project.
Upon completing their designs, participants are taught how to neatly secure and finish their Temari, preserving the shape and design integrity. Participants are equipped to complete their Temari creations at home, as the crafting process typically extends beyond 2 hours per Temari.
Sharing and Celebration
The workshop concludes with an opportunity for participants to share their Temari creations with the group. Participants leave the workshop not only with a beautifully crafted Temari but also with a heightened appreciation for Japanese culture, newly acquired creative skills, and cherished memories shared with fellow enthusiasts. At TEMARIMO workshops, it’s common to witness participants engaging in lively conversations while crafting, as well as experiencing serene moments of focused meditation-like crafting. Cultivating a strong sense of community is a passion for us. TEMARIMO’s workshops are thoughtfully designed to be engaging, inclusive, and meaningful. They offer participants a unique insight into the world of Temari and the sheer joy of creating art by hand.
Do you have a favorite project that you have worked on? Any challenging designs you have completed?
My favorite design is the Swirl Pattern. When creating patterns on a Temari, a guideline known as a “division line” is often used to determine the placement of intricate geometric patterns, ensuring their symmetry. While most patterns have predetermined divisions, what’s unique about the Swirl Pattern is that it can be created using 6, 8, 10, or any number of divisions, while maintaining its captivating swirl appearance. The process of crafting it involves rotating the Temari in a swirling motion as the stitches are added. What makes it enjoyable is that this step can be undertaken while watching TV, listening to music, chatting with friends on the phone—there’s a meditative quality to it.
The size of the divisions and the way colors are incorporated influence how the swirl appears, making it a fascinating design with different visual interpretations based on the size and color choices.
On the other hand, challenging designs are those with a high number of divisions, such as 32-faced or 46-faced ones, resulting in intricate and complex patterns.
Because Temari are crafted using a technique that hides the thread end within the ball without tying knots, making corrections is relatively easy. However, as the number of divisions increases, precise division before beginning the pattern becomes crucial. If a mistake is made at this stage, you often find yourself having to go back and start over, which can be a bit frustrating.
Yet, the advantage is that redoing the pattern involves minimal thread waste, and it’s an opportunity to concentrate and approach the project with a determination to get it right this time. So, while it might lead to thoughts like “Oops, I did it again,” the experience provides a valuable learning opportunity.
Do you have any advice or tips for beginners interested in learning this art?
Choosing the Right Materials
When crafting Temari, it’s beneficial to use strong, sharp, and long needles that can easily pierce through the ball. This makes it easier to work on intricate color-wrapped designs. Additionally, while you can use regular embroidery thread by separating strands, using dedicated Temari thread can save you the hassle of untangling threads. At TEMARIMO, we provide needles handcrafted by Japanese artisans and eco-friendly tools made from natural dyes.
Mindful Creations in Small Moments
The process of creating a base Temari, adding division lines, selecting threads, and crafting the pattern takes over 2 hours. Since the required tools are minimal, you can work on Temari even in small spaces, like on a narrow desk or during car or train rides. One distinctive feature of Temari is the ability to pause and resume the process. The craft allows you to find moments of tranquility and mindfulness while progressing. It’s perfect for fitting into spare time after household chores or during a 30-minute break after work. Moreover, some projects can be completed within 2 to 6 hours, offering a quick sense of accomplishment for those seeking it.
Share your Temari
Temari holds a long and rich history, yet in contemporary times, the community of Temari creators remains relatively small. Even in Japan, the numbers are limited, so one might wonder how many enthusiasts exist in Canada. With its distinctiveness as a three-dimensional, round art form, Temari stands out. If you find its uniqueness captivating, I encourage you to take on the challenge. Let’s spread the art through platforms like social media, connecting with enthusiasts worldwide. At TEMARIMO, we aspire to foster this global connection.
Since you were born and raised in Japan, are there any must-see sights for people traveling to the country?
For those planning a trip to Japan, I believe it’s a great idea to organize your travels around specific themes. To start, you can focus on the main cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, with a theme centered around exploring local cuisine. On your second visit, you can dive into the traditional art of Temari by exploring the regions associated with its heritage, such as Shiga, Kanazawa, Okayama, and Kagawa. For a third trip, consider a theme centered around peace education, where you can visit Hiroshima and Okinawa.
Given Japan’s rich history, there are countless attractions to discover. Each trip can have its own unique theme, allowing you to explore different aspects of the country’s culture and heritage. One remarkable aspect of Japan is its diverse and delicious cuisine. Every region offers its own local dishes, and experiencing them is a delightful journey in itself. Additionally, during the winter months, exploring various hot springs across the country can provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Nothing related but as foodies, we need to ask: any restaurants you would like to recommend to our readers?
- Conveyor Belt Sushi ‘Nagoyakatei’: 6 Minami-3-11 Hondori, Shiroishi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 003-0026, Japan
- Yakitori Izakaya ‘Torimasa’: 1 Chome-2 Saiwaicho, Chitose, Hokkaido 066-0063, Japan
- Yakiniku ‘Okubo’: Okubo-469-1 Okubocho, Akashi, Hyogo 674-0051, Japan
- Akashi yaki ‘Imanaka’: 26-5 Misakicho, Akashi, Hyogo 673-0895, Japan
- Koenji Izakaya ‘Gochi’: 1 Chome-35-10 Morino, Machida, Tokyo 194-0022, Japan
- Shinnakano Tasting Bar ‘Shibataya Sakaten’: Japan, 〒151-0071 Tokyo, Nakano City, Central, 5 Chome−3−11 １F
- Ramen ‘Hayashida’: Japan, 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−31−5 新宿ペガサス館
Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed! We truly appreciate you giving us the chance to introduce you on our blog.
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