The intricate, beautiful, and sometimes humorous temari of Fusako Aizawa
December 13, 2019 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Fusako Aizawa started learning Temari in her 60s, later getting a diploma in the art, then teaching as a volunteer every Saturday. She made hundreds of them, each more intricate than the last, in vivid colours and elaborate geometric designs. Depending on the complexity of each piece, she could spend anywhere from two weeks to three months to complete them. [In April 2009,] On Fusako’s 88th birthday, her family put together an exhibition of her temari balls. [...] Her granddaughter – graphic artist NanaAkua – decided to individually photograph nearly 500 of her temari balls as a special gift to her. NanaAkua posted some photos to Flickr, but they weren't noticed much until 2013, when her grandmother's stunning work went viral (The Guardian).

Beautifully intricate to whimsical, Fusako Aizawa's craft gained many fans. But The Guardian article comes with a bittersweet coda:
Fusako on the other hand didn’t change much, she continued to make her beloved temari until she gradually lost her power with age. In February of [2019] at the age of 97, Fusako Aizawa, the world-famous temari grandmother, passed away.

Now her temari balls are kept on display in a room in her daughter’s home. And NanaAkua continues to receive hundreds of emails from people who were inspired by her grandmother’s temari balls. Which just goes to show, it’s never too late to learn.
Here's a direct link to the Flickr gallery.

Instructables has a fairly straight-forward tutorial to make temari, while is a resource for those who want to get serious about this craft.

Temari previously, back in 2006.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
This is really interesting. My only knowledge of temari previously was from Neko Atsume.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:04 PM on December 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

The deadly temari ball in action.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:11 PM on December 13, 2019

Wow! I have been working my way through the Euclidean puzzle game Euclidea, and these are like vastly more complicated spherical expressions of the same principles. How beautiful.
posted by mwhybark at 3:10 PM on December 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is so beautiful; thank you for sharing!
posted by pointystick at 4:40 PM on December 13, 2019

I have been sewing temari since 1990, although my productivity has tapered down to almost zero in recent years. Here's a short page I made of the construction of a very elementary ball.
posted by Rash at 10:25 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

My eyes and brain are dazzled. Reminds me of coming across a book of Celtic knotwork, or Middle Eastern mosaics, for the first time; lovely lovely lovely. It's the geometry (but not only), the ability to envision these shapes on a curved space! And how color combinations can be somewhat dissonant but oh so eye catching, like seeing visual jazz. Thank you for posting.
posted by twentyfeetof tacos at 2:43 PM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I totally expected "the deadly temari ball in action" to be a link to a Katamari Damacy clip where they're essentially at the kaiju level, rolling up buildings full of screaming people
posted by gusandrews at 8:25 PM on December 14, 2019

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