NanaAkua’s grandmother has a lot to be proud of. As her 93rd birthday approaches, she’s renowned for her mastery of temari, the Japanese art of embroidering hand-crafted ornamental gift balls. Oh, and she just went viral on the Internet
Temari are ornamental hand balls that are prized in Japan as gifts and viewed as symbols of artistry, much like origami or calligraphy. They originated from China as a kind of leather kickball, then spread to Japan where they were used in children’s games. For children, the balls needed to be softer, so women began wrapping layers of fabric and other soft materials, which turned into a social and artistic activity still being practiced today. In order to become acknowledged as a temari crafter in Japan, you must undergo a series of tests. Diplomas are awarded to students at various levels from beginner to master.