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CRAFTSMANSHIP | TAKAMATSU EIKO ARAKI © ALESSIO GUARINO cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper
Sanuki Kagari Temari Preservation Association Chairperson Temari Artisan

EIKO ARAKI

“My mother-in-law used to make the most beautiful temari.
I saw the rows of multicolored cotton threads and it was love at first sight–I thought they were dazzling. That’s when I started making temari.

When I discovered Sanuki Kagari Temari, it was beautiful in a novel, almost mysterious way.
The threads were dyed with natural materials giving them gentle hues that made the embroidery soft and calming.
A completed temari inspires a sort of affection that makes you want to hold and gaze on them forever.

Though I studied metal engraving looking to make it my career, I realized creating temari and sharing their charm with others was the only job in which I truly shone and that brought people joy.
I am grateful to my in-laws for keeping this Sanuki tradition alive and passing down this traditional toy to future generations.

Currently, our workshop family is over 100 crafters strong. We do our handiwork while also building each other up.
Our wish is that each temari born from our skills and creativity becomes someone’s cherished treasure. As such, we pour our hearts into every step in the process.

I want to infuse the tradition of Sanuki Kagari Temari with a sense of modernity and liberty.
I appreciate the wonder of traditional Japanese designs like the chrysanthemum, cherry tree blossom, and hemp leaf, but also the unexpected tugs at my heart and epiphanies of daily life.
Take, for instance, the planets that dot the night sky or the rhythmic hues of modern paintings. Such things become seeds that grow into new temari.

I wish for every temari to make someone happy. And I want to keep making them forevermore.
May Sanuki Kagari Temari become a part of everyone’s life.”

Eiko Araki

 

A long time ago, TEMARI, a thread-ball made of thousands of threads wound around a soft core, used to be hand-made in every part of Japan.
It is believed that it was first made for the princesses in each feudal domain by their maids. Each maid would embroider elegant geometric patterns with colorful silk threads, so that her princess can play with beautiful thread-balls, These thread-balls gradually became popular among common people later. Mothers would use plain cotton threads, emulating the elegant patterns, simply wishing to give something pretty to their daughters. And their daughters would one day become mothers and pass on the beautiful thread-balls to their daughters.

The gentle colors and soft touch of cotton was something particular to the thread-balls of SANUKI, which is an old name for the area located in the north east part of the Shikoku island, now called Kagawa. Due to its warm and dry climate, SANUKI, as a region, was able to produce cotton, salt and sugar of fine quality. Those three renowned products were called “the three whites of SANUKI” in the EDO period. Naturally, cotton was used for thread-balls in the area instead of silk, and it was dyed with natural materials. These have come to be the very characteristics of TEMARI in SANUKI region, something that every girl would have by her side growing up.

Our association aims at preserving the TEMARI; not just the methods and techniques of making one, but the whole culture that nurtured our unique products. From mother to daughter, and to granddaughter… Just like the way TEMARI was a part of their everyday life, we hope you will cherish our TEMARI as something dear to you.

We pay respect to the footsteps of our predecessors and try to follow the traditional methods as much as possible. Dying threads with natural materials such as indigo, madder, Kariyasu plant, sappanwood, gromwell root, walnut, loquat, pomegranate is a way to do so, as well as recreating the traditional geometric patterns of chrysanth, cherry blossom, and cosmos flower. Despite our intention, though, there is always a touch of modern senses and new creation.
“I myself was not familiar with the traditional methods, so in a way I was free from some preconceptions of what to or not to do in my creation. If my thread-balls have certain freshness about it, it may owe to that” Eiko ARAKI says.
“Our thread-balls are to be part of daily life, something to be loved and caressed by their owners. That’s why each thread-ball I make has to be something I truly want for myself, too. ”
“I always remind myself to not “bully” cotton. It goes without saying that rubbing on the threads’ surface, when dying or even sewing, results in fluffs. So I try to avoid putting a strain on it as much as possible. Now I came to realise that these cotton threads even radiate subtle luster when handled right.
Another tip to enrich the cotton feel is to strategically wind each thread around core with least overlapping. This will help the surface to be evenly rounded and patterns to grow on its density.
It is also our aim to create something that goes with our current lifestyle, while incorporating the essence from traditional TEMARI. Our products are perfect for gifts, casual or formal, and for keeping by your side everyday.

Traversing the nation and collecting pieces to exhibit, Kazuo Araki is one of the founders of the Sanuki Kagari Temari Preservation Association, and he proposed its founding to the prefecture. He worked for the government and was passionate about reviving folk art. It was during such efforts that he learned about cotton thread temari, a local tradition, and set about researching how to continue and preserve it.
During the Edo period, temari that used plant-dyed cotton thread, a local specialty, was all the rage in the Seisan region (western Sanuki). However, with the spreading of rubber temari in the Meiji period, the more rustic handmade variety slowly began to fade into obscurity.
When Kazuo began his research, almost no one in the Seisan region was still handcrafting temari. That’s when he paid a visit to his friend Taro Maruyama, founder of the Matsumoto Folk Art Museum (Mastumoto City, Nagano Prefecture) and was instructed in darning techniques by a woman who was one of Maruyama’s relatives. Additionally, he made a request of the dyeing and weaving laboratory in Ehime prefecture to secure plant-dyed cotton. His continued research breathed new life into these techniques.
In 1977 (Showa 52), he coined Sanuki Kagari Temari, and in 1986 (Showa 61), he founded the Sanuki Kagari Temari Preservation Association in Kan’onji City with his wife Yaeko. And the following year, 1987 (Showa 62), it was designated as a traditional handicraft of Kagawa prefecture.
Presently, Eiko Araki carries on the legacy they left behind.