FAMILY DAY - Portland Art Museum..
Two couples making a Maru Genji braid at a tall Marudai stand.

3,300 people passed through the Samurai Exhibit at the Portland Art Museum on Sunday, November 17, 2013. Myself and seven other mentors provided the kumihimo activity which attracted over 200 people during the four hours. We made 200 kits with plastic cording for people to practice Hishinui (the cross lacing stitch found on the bottom plate of armor). Over 700 yards of yarn were used to make 16-element Kongo Gumi key rings on the foam braiding disks. Six marudai were in use at all times. There was also a giant marudai stand where teams of four people produced a rope-like maru genji interlacement. Parents and grandparents were as eager as the children to try their hand at braiding

When people first learn to braid 16-element Kongo Gumi on the foam braiding disk, they usually choose four colors divided in pairs opposite each other on the circle. However, there are a lot more designs than the barber pole striped version.

In Rosalie Neilson's newly published book, Kongo Gumi A Cacophony of Spots - Coils - Zags - Lines, she documents the definitive collection of 1,157 two-color designs. Experieneced braiders will be able to see where to add a third and fourth color in the designs.

Children's Maru Genji Braids tied inot fanciful knots - a group effort of many teams of kids and parents and grandparents.

Four maru genji braids tied in fanciful knots made by children at the Portland Art Museum Family Activity Day.
Examples of hishinui, or cross lacing, sewn with plastic cord into needlepoint mesh.
Kumihimo Activities included lacing HISHINUI (cross lacing on bottom plate of armor), 16-element Kōngo Gumi on foam braiding disks, 8-element Maru Genji on six Marudai, and a giant Maru Genji braid on the tall Marudai braiding stand..
Four adults form a team to braid Maru Genji on the tall Marudai Stand.
Children and parents braiding on foam disks and marudai stands.
Children, parents and grandparents try their hand at Japanese  braiding on foam disk and the Marudai stand.
Children, parents and grandparents try their hand at Japanese braiding on foam disks and the Marudai.