Marie Baker, better known as Natakiya, was the enthusiastic presenter for the Kumihimo Braiding workshop Sunday 11:30AM in the Piedmont (Hyatt). This workshop was longer than a regular one, lasting two and half hours.
Natakiya first had a PowerPoint presentation on the history of this craft. It is actually the oldest form of braiding, originating from Chinese and Korean influences. The oldest known forms started in the fourth century. It is still a living art in Japan.
Kumihimo had multiple meanings and uses. The braiding was used to hold clothes together and in the production of Samurai armor. It was also considered romantic and magical. A couple, who had to spend time away from each other, would tie a Kumihimo cord around the other’s waist for love and protection. The ceremony would also include a vow not to take the braid off until their return. The cord, tied in this fashion, would protect them from harm. Once reunited, they would untie the cord of their loved one to symbolize their safe return. With the infusion of magic, Kumihimo enabled the development and rise Buddhism.
There are many designs that can be created with Kumihimo braiding. The rest of the workshop was a hands-on project of creating a braid. Participants were given yarn and a foam Maru-Dai, the tool used to create the braid. Everyone got the opportunity to experience this craft.
The room filled with joy as the braiding commenced. It was cool to learn a new craft and take away a project created by the owner. I know I definitely loved it. I can’t seem to put it down.