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Japanese Braiding for the Takadai and Marudai

Dates: November 14 - November 16

Cost per ticket: $450

This is an online ONLY course.

Japanese Braiding on the Marudai and Takadai – with Rodrick Owen and Terry Flynn

Japanese braids range from simple and rhythmic to work to complex and thoughtfully slow to construct. In this class Rodrick and Terry will teach beginning and experienced students efficient ways to handle the threads and the equipment so that braiding goes smoothly. Among the things they will cover are choosing fibers, color interaction, and how to read and interpret diagrams and written instructions. As much as possible, the workshop is tailored to students’ needs so it is expected that students will contact the instructors before the workshop so that advice can be given about what to bring. Students wishing to work on and find creative answers for specific projects, for example: belts, guitar straps, clothing embellishments, jewelry, animal leads, etc., are encouraged to bring their buckles, beads, buttons, bangles, clips, and yarns. We will make samples that are homely and samples that are beautiful as we learn to make versatile braids! There will be lots of samples to examine and analyze and we will learn from each other as everyone has experience that can be shared.

Bobbins (Tama) – All of these pieces of equipment use weighted bobbins for storing the threads and keeping the threads under consistent tension. (If you are planning on purchasing bobbins before the workshop please ask for advice prior to doing so. There are many new makers of bobbins out there and some are not producing bobbin designs that are versatile. They physical size of a bobbin matters as much as the weight.)

The Marudai is often the first piece of braiding equipment that people use. It can make a wide range of braids from simply beautiful 8- to 16-strand flat, round and square braids, to more complex braids that use 24 or more bobbins. Students who have already mastered the basics may wish to learn to use Japanese Kumihimo silk (it’s much easier than you think) or experiment with using other fibers. Experienced braiders may want to do a study of variations on a particular class of braids. Beginners will work from Rodrick’s classic, Braids – 250 Patterns from Japan, Peru, and Beyond* . Experienced braiders may want to work from books from some of the other authors including Makiko Tada. If they want to experiment with creative beginning, endings, and embellishments they should bring Sling Braiding – Traditions and Techniques which both instructors wrote with kumihimo braiders in mind.

The Takadai is a cleverly designed piece of equipment that makes it possible to weave plain weave and twill fabrics on an oblique angle (as opposed to woven fabrics where the warp and weft are perpendicular to each other). Weavers will find many of the structures are familiar like log cabin, 2/2 twill, rep weaves, and double weave with and without pick up patterns. Keep in mind that you don’t need to be a weaver to pick up these techniques quickly.

These fabrics make wonderful neckbands for jackets, belts, guitar straps, and scarves that have a wonderful drape. The braider quickly learns the lovely rhythm of waving the hand through the threads to make the shed, inserting the sword (shed stick) and swinging through the topmost bobbin that then changes from being a warp, to becoming a weft. It’s magical. Beginners will work with multiple ends of pearl cotton or tencel and will make a variety of different braids. Braiders with prior experience will decide what kinds of patterns they want to explore. All students will use Rodrick’s book, Making Kumihimo, Japanese Interlaced Braids.*

Other pieces of Japanese Equipment – Students who wish to use other types of kumihimo equipment should contact Rodrick to discuss it prior to enrolling.

Rental – Marudais and bobbins are available for rental. There are several takadais with bobbins available for rental. Takadais can also be built from plans that Rodrick wrote that are available from BraidersHand.

*These books are currently out of print but are widely available on the Internet.



Class Times

All classes run 9am - 5pm unless otherwise indicated in the description above.

Wait List

For class dates that are full, please feel free to call us here at the studio and have your name place on the wait list.



Class Cancellations & Refunds

Cost Per Student

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