Kumihimo: Japanese Silk Braiding by Domyo

The exhibition ‘Kumihimo: Japanese Silk Braiding’ by Domyo, has just opened at Japan House in London. In this article, Jane Audas reveals all the details about it.

Kumihimo exhibition at Japan House London

Kumihimo (which translates as ‘joining threads together’) are small, intricate cords braided from up to 140 different hand-dyed silk threads. Kumihimo take a long time to make, a year is not uncommon. And the weaving of them takes even longer to perfect.

London England UK 21 February 2023 Kumihimo exhibition at Japan House London

If an exhibition of silk cords seems as if it would be hard to make exciting, this exhibition has done it. It makes the most of these small textiles which have been crafted for centuries in Japan. A pared-back design by architect and designer Mitsui Rei leaves lots of room to get up close and personal with the small stars of the show. The processes of making them is also unpacked with models of the stands on which the braids are woven and videos of the dyeing and making of them.

Kumihimo exhibition at Japan House London

Curated by Hashimoto Mari, the exhibition draws on the archives and products of the Yusoku Kumihimo Domyo (Domyo) workshop in Tokyo, they have been hand-dyeing and braiding cords since 1652. They make everything from obijime (part of a woman’s kimono) to earrings and bow ties.

Kumihimo exhibition at Japan House London

Throughout the exhibition you see correlations with narrow loom weaving, lace making and even French knitting – a very simplified way of making braids. In Japan House they are also putting on weaving demonstrations. On the day I visited a woman from the Domyo workshop, who has been weaving for 20 years, was demonstrating, dressed in a traditional kimono. She made it look very easy and was a sight to behold. Japan House is also running short kumihimo courses, tickets for which are selling like hot cakes.

Kumihimo exhibition at Japan House London

A visit to this free exhibition will give you an enjoyable deep dive into the delicate, detailed world of these exquisite Japanese textiles.

Kumihimo exhibition at Japan House London






Pin It on Pinterest

Share This