Temari balls are a form of folk art that originated in China and were introduced to Japan in the 7th century. The carefully hand-embroidered balls often made from the thread of old kimonos were created by parents or grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day as special gift. According to Wikipedia the balls would sometimes contain secret handwritten wish for the child, or else contained some kind of noise-making object like a bell.
The idea of making balls which are made using material from the clothes of loved ones and which contain secret handwritten wishes, bells, memories and other surprises appeals. I am cursing that I have not kept more pieces of clothing from those loved ones who have died.
My descansos ball has none of the amazing precision seen here. At one time that would have bothered me. But today I feel no need to replicate this form of art. What I am most interested in, as I forage for ideas, is the use of color, the notion of using diverse scraps and the concept of making many balls.
This is timely for, having placed the open lock in my descansos ball, I sense the time has come to complete it and then see what material speaks to me and asks to be shaped into balls. After all, Baba clearly has not done with me. My tasks are by no means completed.
Flickr user NanaAkua photographed an amazing collection of geometric spheres created by her 88-year-old grandmother who began to master the art in her 60s. She has since created hundreds of them, nearly 500 of which you can see right here.