Thursday, 16 May 2013

Hermitcraft: Some Eight-Strand Kongo Fudos

Nylon twine cord, malleable
washer ring.
Here are a few garden fudos with eight-strand kongo kumihimo cords. (Kongo means "twist" in Japanese; the photos demonstrate why it's called that.)

Kongo is the easiest of all
Mason line, nylon rug-hooking
yarn, lotus ring.
kumis, readily done on a homemade card. You'll find a good YouTube tutorial for it here. The demonstrator in the video uses a store-bought foam kumihimo loom, but you can easily make your own from solid (not corrugated) cardboard, as from a cracker box or milk carton. Just cut slits around the edges to hold the strands, and crossed slits in the middle to pull the braid through as it develops.

Eight-strand kongo in fore-
ground; 16-strand and
8-strand flat behind.
Eight-strand fudos recall the Eightfold Path. Some of mine also reverse every eight turns, and they do this eight times total; this represents the Eight Worldly Dharmas, the bookended, enlightenment-blocking barriers that Fudo Myō-ō slashes apart with his sword.

Gold mason line, decoy line, red
and black rug-hooking yarn.
Eight strands give you almost limitless freedom to experiment, mixing different colours, fibres, sizes, and textures in varying configurations. It's an engaging technique, and an addictive one; the process is a kind of meditation, ending in the joy of having made something beautiful from such mundane materials as seine twine, decoy line, and Red Heart yarn.

Layout disguises the spiral kongo weave of this cord.
Made from acrylic, polyester, or nylon, these fudos can last centuries. I test mine in very harsh conditions. Wearing their worn tassels and bleached colours like okesa, they hold their ground with smug contempt.

All in all, the eight-strand kongo kumihimo garden fudo offers admirable visual impact for moderate effort. The technique is neither complex nor especially time-consuming, and materials can be had for reasonable cost from hardware and craft stores. Just find a nice big ring, and have at it.
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