Purls of Wisdom

Summer: Let Kids Relax and Get in the Flow with Ancient Japanese Braiding

Posted by Cameron Lee on Sun, Jul 01, 2018 @ 10:06 AM

Another school year ends, and another summer begins. Suddenly kids are hanging around the house without the daily routine of school and after-school activities, and they may complain that it is too sunny and hot to go outside. Everyone has experienced this phenomenon, whether you are a parent or a kid yourself, and it is easy for kids to get stuck in the endless cycle of sitting in front of the TV in the air-conditioned family room all day, eating snacks and losing all that fantastic free time they were so highly anticipating while still in school.

So many kids spend too much time watching TV or on their phones, letting some of the greatest joys of this time of year pass them by. Having so much time on your hands can seem like a negative when you’re not sure what to fill it with, and although electronics and screen time are a child’s first go to, they can quickly become overused, and prevent kids from participating in activities that they don’t have time to explore during the school year.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that kids should be immersed in activities the first day after school ends - nobody wants to go from the stress and strict routine of school to another strict routine. Summer should be a time for kids to alleviate stress, learn something new, and find tColorful marudai kumihimo braidsheir flowengaging in an activity or passion for which they have so much love that they don’t even notice the time passing.

Being in flow, or experiencing that sense of overwhelming joy that comes from doing something you are really passionate about, is something we don’t incorporate enough in our daily lives, but that can easily be remedied. Activities like kumihimo, an ancient form of Japanese braiding, can help kids find their flow, learn something new, help with fine motor skills, and forget all about that summer slump. Kumihimo dates back well over a thousand years and was traditionally used by Samurai warriors to hold their armor together and provide a grip on their sword hilts. It was even used to prevent tea from being poisoned!

Although handmade kumihimo became less popular over the years as Japanese braiders invented machines to do the braiding, the art is still practiced in Japan (and all over the world) today. People still use kumihimo braids to tie down the wide sashes called obi that go on kimonos and to tie their haori jackets. At the same time, people like Martha Stewart are featuring kumihimo in their magazines and blogs, explaining how to use a kumihimo disc, the modern version of the traditional marudai and takadai stands used to create the braids. 

Kumihimo braid bracelets

Kids can even learn how to do kumihimo themselves through The Handwork Studio’s YouTube channel and at our summer camps. Summer is a time for kids to challenge themselves to try new things and learn new, fun skills, and kumihimo is a great place to start. It is educational, engaging, and kids become a part of an ancient history of Japanese braid-making when they try their hands at the art. Kumihimo braids can be used for all sorts of awesome things like shoelaces, bracelets, necklaces, and bookmarks, and it

Kumihimo braiding discwill feel great for your kids to be able to wear or use something they made. Once they become a master at the braiding technique, they can even try out more complicated and colorful patterns!

So, once again, if your kids are bored at home, watching too much TV and stuck in ruts, you should encourage them to learn kumihimo. Whether they try it on their own by ordering some of our kumihimo materials and following a YouTube tutorial or come to one of The Handwork Studio’s many locations and participate in our summer camps, your kids will find passion in kumihimo, find their flow, and make the most of their summer! 


Tags: Kumihimo, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Fun, Summer, Handwork, Inspiration, Kids Activities

Handwork Day Camp - Kumi-What?

Posted by Julia Yosen on Fri, Jun 05, 2015 @ 12:07 AM

kumi himo bracelet

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.

KumiHimo Loom

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). 



Join Us at Handwork Day Camp!

Summer Camp
 We have camps running in over 40 locations this summer and we open camp next week! Check out our locations page to find the best location for you. You can learn more about Handwork Day Camp over here. If you have questions, don't hestitate to call our studio at 610-660-9600.

Tags: Kumihimo, Summer Camp