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Kumihimo offers fiber for your diet

click to enlarge Aki (necklace)
  • Aki (necklace)

What with the Atkins craze -- we could all use a little more fiber, right? Though it may not be what the lab coats were talking about, this month only you'll get a chance to dose up on one healthy fiber form in Manitou Springs.

The Commonwheel Artist Co-op and Pikes Peak Weavers Guild are proud to sponsor Expressions in Kumihimo, an exhibit of crafts held in conjunction with Denver's Convergence, an international fiber conference.

The exhibit will feature exquisite silk braids, jewelry, wall art and basketry. Eighteen artists hailing from six countries will represent a wealth of experience in various media and their individual passions for kumihimo.

"It is an unusual exhibit," boasts curator and 15-year kumihimo veteran Maryse Levenson. "We are excited to host an international exhibit -- a first for us."

Kumihimo is an ancient braiding technique descended from China and Korea, which was more recently innovated and bears its current repute from Japan. There, the method yielded adornment for Samurai-era clothing and battle armor, as well as facilitated various jewelry forms and ergonomic tools. The traditional kimono and obi rely on a kumihimo weave to stay securely tied, while feudal, lacquered metal armor depended on the braiding pattern to lash pieces together into full-body protection.

Kumihimo commands the use of a wooden instrument called a Maru Dai, roughly the size and shape of a small footstool. Silk threads, or other optional fabrics, are loaded onto lead weighted tamas' which act as spindles. The tamas protrude through a small hole in the top and hang down with gravity -- the contraption vaguely resembles a carousel ride at a children's carnival, and reputedly, can be just as fun.

Classes are available through many participating artists for guests who fall in love with Kumihimo's beauty and want to learn the craft.

-- Matthew Schniper

capsule Expressions in Kumihimo, presented by Commonwheel Artists Co-op and the Pikes Peak Weavers Guild

Commonwheel Artists Co-op Gallery, 102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs

June 25 through July 19


Opening reception Friday, June 25 from 5 to 8 p.m.

For further information, call the gallery at 685-1008 or visit www.fiberexpression.com


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