The past few years we have been throwing around a funny word at the studio. KUMIHIMO (koo-me-he-mo). Most of the time we get Kumi-what?? I thought it is about time we pay homage to a fun technique that thousands of children have learned in our camps.
The origins of Kumihimo dates back to approximately 1200's during the rise of the Samurai warriors in Japan. Kumihimo quite simply means to braid cord, kumi means "to braid" and himo is "cord". The purpose of Kumihimo originally was for Samurai warriors to lace and decorate their armor and scabbards (the sheaths for holding something like a sword). How cool is that?! In our Handwork Studio Day Camps we do not deal much with samurai so instead we have incorporated the Kumihimo technique as a fun and interesting way to make cool friendship bracelets. Today we use small round looms with 32 notches for our string to set into. Then by following a few simple steps kids of all ages are able to complete the basic Kumihimo pattern that makes the cords twist into a spiral. In traditional Kumihimo the ropes are created on different types of stands. The one most similar to our handheld boards is called marudai which literally means round stand.
In our classes we have foam boards that we purchase. You can also make your very own Kumihimo board at home too. All you need is some cardboard, a ruler, and sharp scissors and or an exacto knife (we highly recommend parent supervision when creating you these boards).