• 21 Apr 2012
  • 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
  • Tucson Parks & Recreation Randolph Center Arts & Crafts Bldg#4 Jewelry Studio, 200 S Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711 Contact: Jeanne - 520-791-4063 X 130
The CHAIN GANG will be demonstrating Kumihimo.

Kumihimo is the Japanese art of braiding. It means the “gathering of threads.” Kumihimo is thousand of years old. Interesting enough, it is not unique to the Japanese.


Peru , at roughly the same time, they developed braiding techniques very similar to the Japanese. As centuries passed the Peruvians used braiding for very practical purposes such as water carriers and ropes to lash packs to animals. The Japanese, on the other hand, turned it into an art form using it for personal adornment such as obi-jime ties worn with kimonos. This all started around 8000 B.C. Neither civilization had sea faring vessels to transport men and ideas around the globe. Necessity was the mother of invention. Two great civilizations, two different paths. Braiders today are lucky because we benefit from both cultures.


The Chain Gang started by Kao Medina in the early 1990s had been led by Pat O’Malley for over ten years after Kao moved to

Aurora, Colorado. When Pat passed away a few years ago Jays of Tucson hosted the group in their classroom where the Chain Gang explored and shared the creation of uniquely difficult chains and chain maille. Kumihimo was introduced by Cindy Moore at one of her wire weaving workshops. Cindy showed the class this technique and sold them kumihimo weaving disks. The price of silver had climbed to an all time high so kumihimo had great appeal! Kiku discovered Karen DeSousa supplier and author of several kumihimo books during the following Tucson Gem & Mineral Show’s Best Bead Show at Kino Center. Karen DeSousa is the writer of Necklaces Braided on the Kumihimo Disk, More Necklaces Braided on the Kumihimo Disk and her newest book, Braiding with Beads.

Karen DeSousa has sponsored The Chain Gang’s presentation and has provided a door prize for this Metalink. Thank you, Karen! Visit Karen’s websites:,

Many thanks to the CHAIN GANG (pictured above): (Top Row) Dolores Mano, Kiku Laurence, Kathie Froede, Jan Murray, MaryAnn Neisz , (Bottom Row) Dr. Kathy Broneck and Judith Hunt who made this presentation possible. See examples of their kumihimo on display at this Metalink. METALINK is FREE and OPEN to the public sponsored by Arizona Designer Craftsmen.

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