I have been spending my late afternoons with a beautiful new book by Barbara B.Suess titled Temari Techniques: A visual Guide to Making Japanese Embroidered Thread Balls. The subtitle is the key here as the “visual guide” actually speaks volumes. For those of us who place an emphasis on the visual the book meets our needs very well. Throughout the book we are given loads of eye candy, as the photography is very beautiful.
For a book like this to serve its purpose having clear diagrams is crucial. The colour diagrams explain the technique well making them easy to follow.
The 200 page book commences with a brief history of the craft before discussing materials and making the core of the Temari Ball. Next follows 3 chapters which deliver clear instructions about creating guidelines, simple wrapping techniques and stitching techniques.
Obviously readers will understand when I say it was the stitching techniques that had me fascinated. I knew you could do a lot with herringbone (Kiku) but using it in the round on these little balls of fun has taken it to a whole other level.
Throughout the book runs two features I liked very much. The first is a series of little tips and tricks that are features in a block in the margins of some pages. I am a tips addict. Often these little snippets that an experienced practitioner shares can really change how you do things. Also running in the margins is a series under the title of “Refine your skills” which share deign and technical points to think about as you are working. Some of the advice that appears in these blocks is so good it had me flicking through the book, to find them and read just those pieces.
About 20 years ago when I first encountered kumihimo braiding I ran around trying to find our more information about the craft, find supplies and source equipment. At that time it was very difficult and I had more or less given up, when I discovered a cheap easy way to explore the technique using a disk of card rather than having to buy expensive equipment. Although I had limited information it made the world of difference and it meant I went on to explore the technique more. The point of my story is that I would have missed out on many enjoyable hours if I had not discovered that solution.
Temari Techniques by Barbara B.Suess is a bit like the discovery of that cardboard disk, as the book is an enabler. Information is clearly presented and the imagery is inspirational. It is one of those rare books that offer instructions to a beginner as well as more experienced practitioners. Even if you have been making temari for a few years, I am sure you will find more than enough exploring different stitch techniques and weave designs to satisfy a thirst for further knowledge.
What are all those green tags sticking out of the book? Stuff I want to try of course! With me the more tags that appear as I am reading the better the book. As a result, I have no hesitation in recommending Temari Techniques: A visual Guide to Making Japanese Embroidered Thread Balls to my readers as an excellent resource for anyone who wants to explore this wonderful craft.
Apart from receiving a review copy I do not gain financially from this review.