art & craft for a cause

Top shop for gifts.

Buyers bought gifts from this shop and gave them 5-star reviews!

KumoTemari is taking a short break


Contact shop owner



No reviews in the last year
See reviews that mention:

About KumoTemari

Sales 236
On Etsy since 2011

crafting modern Japanese temari (& mixed-media artwork) as meditation — and as a way to give back

"The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms."
— Thich Nhat Hanh (b. 1926)

All my life, I've pursued creative endeavors in both my professional and personal life. I find joy and purpose in creativity. I use art, craft, and design as a way to explore life and the world around me. "Life and art are inseparable" is a saying that fits me well.

The Beginning
In the summer of 2011 I saw temari for the first time. Temari are handmade thread-wrapped and embroidered spheres that were first created as toys for children; they originated in China and were later brought to Japan—possibly by Buddhist monks. Over time temari have evolved into a highly-prized, exquisite form of folk art. Imbued with the spirit and the careful hand of the maker, they are wonderful as a source of inspiration or an object for meditation & contemplation. Tactile, colorful, calming, peaceful, playful. I took my first online class and was hooked. Starting with a handful of rice hulls and some common yarn and thread, and ending up with a wonderful round sphere on which to embroider—it seems an impossible feat, and yet it isn’t at all.

The Quotes
As one who adores language and reading, the inclusion of a quote in the core of the temari is as important to me as all the elements are. Whether it is a Japanese haiku from the seventeenth or eighteenth century, or a quote from a favorite author or artist, I choose quotes that are meaningful to me: about life and living, generosity and compassion, creativity and inspiration, and finding one’s path and one’s place in the world. Or sometimes I choose haiku or poetry for the beauty of the words and the imagery evoked.

The Vision
I view each temari as a whole, an individual work of art, and approach it in this way. I choose the color for the thread wrap, and then the palette for the embroidery stitching. It is all very deliberate, and all planned in advance. I want each to be one of a kind, so though I repeat patterns, palettes, or quotes, I never combine all elements again in the exact same way, so as not to duplicate a past temari. I see the temari I create as a personal spin on traditional temari. A more “modern” color palette speaks to me, and is reflected in my craft. I want the temari I make to be more than an object put on the shelf as a decoration, but something one can hold, puzzle over, contemplate, and even use as an object for meditation.

The very act of creating a temari is a form of meditation in itself.

Crafting for a Cause
For me, a temari is already very much about wholeheartedness, about compassion, about generosity, about humanity; realizing this in a practical way completes the cycle. This is one reason why the sphere / circle / globe so draws me in. It’s symbolic of what I am trying to accomplish. I hope to bring happiness to people who buy one of my temari, and hopefully give them something to provoke thought.

Lending the proceeds through Kiva.org is a huge part of my process. Kiva is a nonprofit organization that facilitates microfinance loans to individuals and groups in impoverished areas of the world, people who might not be able to get financial help in any traditional way. These are people who work hard at improving their circumstances—for themselves, their families and children—by starting or growing a business, saving for the future, paying for the education of their children, constructing a better home. Economic empowerment and independence, especially of women, is key the civility, future, and sustainability of our planet. I am fortunate that I am able to create something that gives me joy and happiness; that brings the owner joy and happiness; and then take the money I make from that transaction and help women in realizing their own aspirations—help women who want to pursue their own livelihoods and make better lives for themselves, their children, and create a better future.

Shop members

  • Kumo

    Owner, Maker

    A designer & typographer of art books by trade, I'm a dedicated crafter & artist on a path of exploring creativity and inspiration, generosity and compassion, and my place in the world. Kumo (雲) is Japanese for cloud; it's also a homonym for spider.

Shop policies

Last updated on April 29, 2022
☆ kumo : modern Japanese temari & mixed-media artwork to help benefit Kiva.org ☆
☆ kumo (雲) means "cloud" in Japanese — it is also a homonym for "spider."

Please note that I communicate with Etsy's internal messaging system, called "convos" or "conversations." You can reach me at any time using the "contact" button on most pages of my shop. If you do not have your Etsy preferences set to receive "conversations" at your regular e-mail address, please be sure to log into Etsy within 24 hours of your purchase to check for a convo from me. I will always send a convo acknowledging your purchase (this is separate from the auto-generated message from me that Etsy mails out as part of your receipt). If I have any questions about your order, this is how I will contact you. Delay in answering questions may result in a delay of your shipment.

What are temari?

Temari are handmade thread-wrapped and embroidered spheres. While there's no definitive history of the origins of temari, it is assumed they were originally brought from China to Japan many hundreds of years ago (possibly by Buddhist monks) as toys for children and adults alike — for handball, kickball, and games similar to hackeysack. Once rubber toys replaced those made from traditional materials (fabric and thread salvaged from old kimonos), temari evolved into a highly-prized, ever more intricate and exquisite art form practiced by noble women of the aristocracy.

Temari are symbols of deep friendship and loyalty, traditionally made by mothers for daughters to celebrate the new year. They are cherished as gifts for auspicious occasions — birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, the new year and other new beginnings. They are meaningful gifts for for any occasion, or "just because." Imbued with the spirit of the careful hand of the maker, they are wonderful as a source of inspiration or an object for meditation and contemplation.

Temari can be displayed alone or in groups; use simple clear glass vases or bowls, candle holders, tea cups or saucers, or baskets; place them in special spots on shelves, desks, or mantels. Temari can also be hung, for example in door frames or in windows. I also stock simple round wooden ring stands for displaying individual temari.

What is special about Kumo temari?

Every temari I craft has a "bell box" inside. This is a small box I make from watercolor paper, embedded in the core of the temari. Inside the bell box is an inspirational or philosophical or simply lyrical quotation, poem, or haiku, along with small brass rings that make a quiet, subtle rattle when the temari is gently shaken; a rattle is traditional in temari.

Every Kumo Temari is unique: while I may repeat patterns, or use quotations more than once, I will never repeat the same combination of pattern + colors + quotation, which makes each temari one of a kind.

Temari are a folk art, and folk art is not meant to be perfect. There is a Japanese phrase, "wabi sabi," which means "perfectly imperfect." Kumo Temari are wabi sabi; no matter how many I make or how long I make them, I will always be learning. Such is the nature of a true handmade craft!

How are temari made?

Different crafters use different methods — for example, some start with a styrofoam balls. I do not; I create temari "from scratch." I start with a core of rice hulls in fabric, inside of which is buried a small box with a quote or poem, and a gentle rattle of brass rings. The core is wrapped first with yarn, and then thread, to form a sphere. At that point the temari is ready to be embroidered. There are traditional stitches and patterns, and patterns created by the individuals who currently pursue the art. I strive to select or create variations of beautiful, captivating patterns in subtle, modern color palettes — imbuing a traditional craft with a contemporary aesthetic.

To learn more about temari construction (with pictures!), about my process, and about my goals, please visit the shop's "about" page:

What is Kiva.org?

For me, the very nature of art & craft is giving, generosity, and humanity. It is in this spirit that I want to use sales of all my work to help others. Kiva (kiva.org) is non-profit organization that connects people around the world and facilitates micro-finance lending to help alleviate poverty and give low-income individuals and groups the opportunity to create their own livelihoods; Kiva facilitates the funding of loans to those who couldn't otherwise get help from standard financial institutions. I have been making loans on Kiva since September 2007 — to jewelry makers in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, crafters in Peru and Bolivia, independent merchants in Ghana, Moldova, Mexico, and Tajikistan — and to those in many more countries including the United States, Haiti, Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Mali, Philippines, Ukraine, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, and Paraguay to name a few.

I have had 100% positive experiences on Kiva, and having the good fortune to help others motivates me to create with my whole heart.

When you purchase a temari or a piece of art, at least $25 is loaned to an individual or group on Kiva. I make each loan after the sale, so you know that your $25 is going directly to fund a new loan. After your purchase you will receive information about the loan, which includes a direct link to the Kiva page profile of the borrower(s) and their plans for the financing. I choose female borrowers in the art, craft, services, and retail sectors. Empowering women economically can help to change the world.
The link to my Kiva lender page: http://www.kiva.org/lender/kumotemari.

☆ 280 Kiva loans made as of 3 April 2013
Information about each loan is posted on my Facebook page — facebook.com/KumoTemari

Accepted payment methods

Returns and exchanges
I want you to be to be more than happy with your purchase. I inspect all fine art prints before shipping them to the buyer to make sure they meet my high standards. You will always receive the exact temari pictured in the listings, as each temari is one of a kind. I will never sell any temari any major flaws, but please keep in mind that my temari are handmade, and all handmade items are subject to human influence and fallibility during creation no matter how much care is put into the crafting! No handmade item is perfect; if it were, it would lose the charm of being handmade. That said, if you receive your purchase and you are unhappy with any aspect of it, please contact me before simply leaving negative feedback — we can work together to resolve the situation. As noted above, Kumo Temari cannot be held responsible for damage, loss, or theft that occurs in transit or after delivery. Please contact me within one week after receiving your item if you would like to return or exchange it (and please note that any return must be in the original condition and original packaging).
Kumo Temari accepts PayPal payments only. You do not have to have a PayPal account to make a purchase — you can use a credit card through PayPal without having to set up an account. Payment in full is due when you make your purchase. Unfortunately, because I do not process my payments through Etsy, I cannot accept Etsy gift cards; however, I am more than happy to create gift certificates for my shop in any amount.
Method & timing of shipment is described in every listing. Fine art prints are shipped first class parcel post both in the US and internationally. Temari are shipped Priority Mail in the US, and first class parcel post internationally. All domestic shipments will have a USPS tracking number; all international shipments will have a customs form number.

Temari are shipped in 3–5 business days; for US shipments, often much sooner.
Fine art prints are custom ordered and therefore take longer to ship; specifics are in each individual listing.

If you need expedited shipping (priority or express) please contact me at time of purchase, if not before. If my schedule allows, I can try to ship your item faster; you will be charged the full amount for the expedited shipping.

• In the US, purchases of $100 or more of merchandise will include insurance as well as delivery confirmation.

• Kumo Temari cannot be held responsible for damage, loss, or theft that occurs in transit or after delivery.

• For international shipments, the customs form will be filled out as "merchandise" with the actual value. The buyer is responsible for any additional taxes, fees, VAT, or any other charges resulting from international delivery. Kumo Temari cannot be held responsible for damage, loss, delays, or theft that occurs in transit or during the international customs process.

• Please note that delays in customs do happen. I have had sales to Australia and Italy that have been delayed through the customs process, opened and inspected.

• If you buy multiple items and over pay for shipping & handling by more than $2, I will refund the overage to you through PayPal after shipment.

GIFT SHIPPING is available. For more information see the FAQs section below.
Additional policies and FAQs

You may notice that often I have no temari available. I add them as I finish them (or groups of them), and often they sell the day they are listed. If you would like to find out when new temari are in the shop for sale, you can:
• Check the shop . . .
• Follow the shop's RSS feed: http://www.etsy.com/shop/kumotemari/rss
• Follow my blog, where I list all new temari at the same time as adding them to the shop, via e-mail or RSS: http://kumotemari.blogspot.com/ (note that if you follow the blog by e-mail, the e-mail is sent automatically by the blogging platform once a day — for example, late evening — on days when I post; as I cannot set the notification time, this may be several hours after the temari have gone into the shop)
• Follow my Facebook page, where I list all new temari at the same time as adding them to the shop: http://www.facebook.com/KumoTemari

I have a very large and voracious "new temari" mailing list. Generally, if I add more than 2–3 temari to the shop at one time, I send out an e-mail to this list. Also, from time to time I have shop updates scheduled in advance — of a whole bunch of temari going up for sale at once (especially for the holiday season); mailing list members are notified 48 hours in advance with the date and time of such a sale. These temari sell out very quickly, often within a few minutes. If you'd like to receive a notification e-mail on those occasions that I send them, you can sign up for the mailing list here:
• You will need to reply to a confirmation e-mail from Mad Mimi before you are added to the list; please check your spam folder if you don't see it in your inbox
• This list is only for notification of shop updates, and is only opt-in: customers are not added automatically
• You can unsubscribe at any time, and your e-mail is confidential and will NEVER be shared
• Alternatively, you can contact me—send me your e-mail address, and I will be happy to add you the list

I admit the above may seem like overkill, however I frequently receive inquiries about when I will have temari for sale, and how to get one.

A fact sheet about caring for temari will be included in your package.

Yes, I can do this for you!

• Please add the address of the recipient to your PayPal account prior to purchase, and choose this address at checkout. I'm happy to include a gift card with your wording, if you'd like.

• If you do not checkout with the recipient's address as the shipping address, I will need to take your request on a case-by-case basis. When I change the shipping address manually in PayPal, I am no longer covered by PayPal's Seller Protection. For packages shipped within the US this is not generally a problem, unless it is a high-value order. I will not ship internationally to an address other than that associated with PayPal checkout, as I have no way to track the package and follow up on delivery.

• All temari are packaged in tissue paper in a small kraft-board box (both eco-friendly), and include a card with a little information about temari and a handwritten transcription of the quote that is inside it. You can opt to have a stand included by selecting that at checkout.
• All prints are packaged in protective cello sleeves inside doubled rigid mailing envelopes for maximum protection.

I can attach a matching-color embroidery thread to your temari so that you can hang it, for no additional charge—just leave a note during checkout, or right after via e-mail. I often make up packages within a few hours of the transaction, so please contact me as soon as possible.

I'm sorry, but I generally do not accept custom orders or commissioned work. You can inquire, but please know that I will probably need to turn you down.

Everything is made in a smoke-free home. For those with pet allergies, please note that we do live with a feline. However, she stays pretty far from my work space. That said, if you are sensitive to cat allergies, do bear this in mind when making a purchase.

Inquiries are welcome.

[ Website: http://kumotemari.com

[ Temari blog: http://kumotemari.blogspot.com
[ Artwork tumblr: http://tea-and-brushes.tumblr.com/
[ Book Design: http://letter27.com

[ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KumoTemari

[ Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kumotemari/

The beautiful kanji for "cloud" that appears on my about page and as the watermark in my photographs was painted by Japan Corner: JapanCorner.etsy.com