What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Handball, Anyone?


temari 0

NanaAkua’s Grandma

Temari balls are a form of Japanese folk art which originated in China and was introduced to Japan around the 7th century A.D. These gorgeous embroidered balls are actually used in handball games, which seems insane to me. Flickr user NanaAkua posted these stunning photos of her 92-year-old grandmother’s collection, and immediately caught some media attention for the elderly artist. NanaAkua’s grandmother learned to make Temari balls in the 1960s, and since then her collection has grown to around 500 balls.

The colorful, meticulously-embroidered pieces are often made from threads pulled from old kimonos. They were traditionally made by parents who gave them to their children (or grandchildren) on New Year’s day. I am absolutely gobsmacked by the computer-generated-looking precision of her patterns. What an exceptional talent and exceptional mind this maker has!

You may see all of NanaAkua’s photos in her Flickr album.



Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

26 thoughts on “Handball, Anyone?

  1. They’re way too gorgeous to use for handball!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing! I want them all. I could look at them all day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. these are right up there with Faberge eggs. Beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my word!!! I wouldn’t know where to start to make one. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This woman has an exceptional eye for repeating patterns!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The basic concept is that you stick pins in a ball in a geometric pattern (you can buy patterns that will show you how to divide the ball and where to stick the pins). The pins are different colored so you can keep track of the pattern easier. Then you wrap pretty thread around the ball, using the pins as a guide, to help you create a precise pattern. At the end you remove the pins and enjoy the beauty you’ve created. It’s not difficult, but like all fiber art it’s time consuming and you have to have patience and an eye for detail. There are many tutorials on youtube if you ever want to give it a try. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I can’t believe these are used in handball! They are stunning! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As someone who does a lot of embroidery, I’ve known about Temari balls for a long time and have made a few. I did NOT, however, know they were actually used in handball! That astonishes me, perplexes me, and makes no sense to me at all. The work it is to makes those balls is such that I can’t even imagine whacking them around a court. Of course I do fiber art, not sports, so perhaps that’s to be expected. I learn a little something from you every day, Donna. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am super busy for the next few days, but I had to stop and look at all of them. They are truly beautiful. Hal

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So beautiful! Also gobsmacked!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Those are fantastic artworks. Makes me want to go buy embroidery supplies and try to make my own. It seems such a shame to use them in handball, as the pattern would ultimately be destroyed.

    Thank you for sharing these!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That talent is stunning to me. Such embroidery skill is already amazing to me but to work on something spherical is just astounding. They are way too breathtaking to be used as balls.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Unbelievable. They take my breath away! What patience and precision on the part of the artist!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Creative Juice #92 | ARHtistic License

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