Having studied all five major Japanese pieces of Kumihimo equipment in depth, the majority of my creative energy is spent using the takadai.
The takadai, the largest of the traditional Japanese kumihimo equipment, offers many possibilities for innovative oblique interlaced structures, especially when using unorthodox yarns that retain their form and distortions when complete. In combining paper, monofilament, silicon, lycra with high twist silk and linen – all very untraditional – I still strive to create braids of beauty and form.
One braid is not enough: I like to make a series of braids that will curve and distort to express my feelings towards nature’s rhythms of wind, water, growth and form. The repetition creates new patterns, rhythms, textures and shadows.
Unlike the traditional cloth loom, I am able to decide the path of each weft as it passes obliquely through the shed that my hand has created, & the bobbin’s destination is also prescribed by me. This is real freedom, made possible by this simple yet very cleverly designed equipment. The pressure of the bamboo beater is highly personal. Indeed the whole process has a wonderful rhythm & spiritual focus that renews my own energy. I spend many hours experimenting with sample structures & materials, recording & labelling, exploring the potential of this equipment as well as myself. Since receiving the Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers’ Bursary in 2012 to purchase a three level takadai, even more doors have opened for me.
Researching the traditional Japanese takadai braids and weaving that I admire so greatly inspires my work and the exciting journey continues.