- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2016

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) - It evolved over the last 10 years from just discovering rocks in their unpolished states to stringing them into earrings, and weaving them into bracelets. Then, she discovered kumihimo.

“I started out with just stringing beads, and I still do that, too. And then I got into the kumihimo, and that’s what I love,” Diane Rodenhizer, an Enterprise resident, said. “It’s very addicting to do. It’s kind of meditative, some people say.”

Kumihimo is an ancient form of Japanese thread braiding used to create thicker cords. The word itself is loosely translated as “gathered threads” or “coming together.” Samurai used kumihimo cords to lace their body armor together. The cords are still used by Japanese people as part of traditional clothing such as kimonos.

Beads are added to the threads to create beaded bracelets and necklaces.

Rodenhizer is a member of the Dothan Gem and Mineral Club and will have her jewelry for sale at the ninth annual Gem & Mineral Show on Sunday at the Houston County Farm Center.

The Gem & Mineral Show features vendors selling gemstones, minerals, fossils, beads, jewelry and lapidary equipment.

Rodenhizer became a rock hound more than 10 years ago after her husband, George, retired and the two began traveling around the country on a recreational vehicle. They were in Wyoming and stopped at a rock shop. The shop owner told Rodenhizer about Fairburn agates found in South Dakota. So, of course, South Dakota was their next stop. Much of her rock gathering is done on lands managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

“You get out where a lot of people never go and you just look for rocks,” Rodenhizer said. “It’s addicting.”

But eventually Rodenhizer wanted to do something with her new hobby. She started stringing beads and learned other techniques such as wire wrapping and bead weaving.

Kumihimo remains her favorite technique.

The Japanese technique was originally done entirely by hand before wooden stands similar to looms were put into use. Today, simple pieces of kumihimo can be done with a handheld disk with groves to hold threads. Starter kits with tools and thread can be found online.

A completed kumihimo bracelet or necklace has a rounded, beaded appearance. Rodenhizer makes necklaces that can be worn alone or with a pendant. The beaded cords are flexible and soft.

“What I love is it’s just so supple,” she said. “I just think it makes very pretty and very wearable jewelry. It’s very comfortable.”


Information from: The Dothan Eagle, https://www.dothaneagle.com

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