Every piece of clothing, every sample of fabric, every strand of yarn is part of textile's creativity, as each step to form the final textile product requires a well sketched plan and out of the box ideas to ensure that it stands to the expectations of consumers. The creativity can involve centuries old arts borrowed from various countries. In the 21st century corporate world, there is intense competition to establish and separate brands from the rest and this can be attained by how well the brands use old arts in contemporary style. The textile and fashion world has, thus, recreated the magic of Kumihimo art of braiding, which originated in Japan.
Kumihimo is a Japanese word for threads assembled together. In Kumihimo the strands are interlaced to form a braid. The braids can be simple or complex as per the requirement. The contemporary Kumihimo braids are created on Kumihimo disks, unlike the conventional Kumihimo braids that were made on tools like marudai and takadai. Today the disk used to create braids has a firm but flexible foam plastic with notches and it can be used as a portable marudai. In fact, some weavers prefer traditional Madurai over modern disks, as disks are adaptable and affordable, but not multipurpose like madurai. The traditional Madurai can create braids that are flat, hollow and four sided. But, the more complicated braids that involve beads can be easily created with the help of foam kumihimo disk.
The reason behind popularity of Kumihimo is that it appears complicated and flawlessly attractive, but it is easier to create amazing Kumihimo braids in no time! The Kumihimo art of braiding is considered not only beautiful, but it is also part of Japan's honour. The braid has become part of fashion world also. There are Kumihimo hatbands, decorative knotting, embellishments, belts, scarves, soft toys, cell phone holders, rags, bags, clothing and whatever the weavers and designers can think of. Some junk jewellery stores also use silk threads to make beaded bracelets, necklaces junk jewellery, etc. with application of Kumihimo.
The weavers also use other type of yarns apart from silk. Satin, cotton, nylon, Irish waxed linen, khaki and anything that can be roughly classified as a yarn are used to create Kumihimo braids for purpose of creating various fashion products. Some weavers prefer yarns like wool of any colour, type or thickness. Wool yarn can include mohair, chenille et al. Embroidery thread, ribbon, knitting or otherwise and garden twine are also being increasingly used for braiding.
The braids are strong so it can withstand heavy weight and can be made colourful with use of funky vibrant threads. Harking back, the braids were primarily used in Japanese samurai armour to bind together the several plates of armour together. Braids were also used for some section in everyday clothing, for the purpose of closure and ties. Obscure and complex designs are being created today by manoeuvring the yarn for specific patterns. The weavers vary the sequence of threads' movements to form various patterns.
However, it is not only the colours and patterns that have made Kumihimo so popular. Factors like it is unbelievingly simple to learn, playing with the yarns create interesting results, which makes it all the more appealing to experiment, the cost of creating Kumihimo depends on the supplies that are used and choices of colour combinations are never ending.
Kumihimo is currently popular in countries like Canada, European Union, Germany, U.S.A. and others. The world has been exploring this art since centuries now. But, it is pertinent to note that Japanese consider that it takes practice and dedication to master the simple art of Kumihimo. The most difficult pattern considered in Kumihimo is touch stone, which involves four bobbins. The Japanese consider that an apt test of Kumihimo braiding involves braiding of three silk threads.
Japan still continues to work out new methods and styles to braid, learning complex braid structures and complex colour design, taking inspiration from Korea and China. There are several books available to ensure that even the beginners who want to try a hand on Kumihimo can learn it. It is a way to ensure that Kumihimo art survives the changing times and it has worked well so far. The Japanese connect with the rest of the textile world is the most important aspect in helping the Kumihimo art gain momentum everywhere around the world. With this, the global acceptance of Kumihimo art of braiding has made it much simpler for the designers as well as textile manufacturers to find all the basic material required to create products that have perfect Kumihimo braids.
The creative possibilities concerning Kumihimo are endless and waiting to be explored. It is indeed a great way to turn simple Kumihimo art into luxury of fashion.