Mizuhiki dates back to the sixth century, when Japanese ambassadors to China returned home with packages wrapped in cord or ribbon to protect the contents from evil and impurities. To this day the numerous knots and colours used in Japanese Mizuhiki hold special significance. In the art of Mizuhiki, brightly-coloured ribbons or cords are starched, resulting in a stiff product that holds its shape well and can be used for a multitude of knots. The "clamshell" and "double clamshell" are two basic Mizuhiki knots that can be worked either with wide ribbons or a bundle of five cords.
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Things you need
- 2 Mizuhiki ribbons, 18 inches
Run a single 18-inch ribbon gently through your fingers several times to soften the starch and give it more pliability.
Bend the ribbon loosely in half to locate the centre. Form a loop with the intersecting side facing down. Call the left side of the loop A and the right side B. End A should be over end B.
Form a second loop, and lay it over the original loop so the loops are offset but overlapping. The crossed ends of both loops are facing down. Call the left side of the new loop C and the right side D. The loop sides from left to right are in the order A, C, B and D.
Locate the two ends of the ribbon. The upper strand emerging from C should be short, and the original strand emerging from B should be long and should lie beneath the D loop. Bring the long end over the short end. Weave the long end through the loops by passing it under A, over C, under B and over D. Center the knot.
Adjust the knot to make sure the ribbon lies as flat as possible and to give the knot a symmetric appearance.
Run two ribbons gently through your fingers to soften the starch and increase the flexibility of the ribbons.
Loop the first ribbon so the intersection of the loop faces right. Call the top end A and the bottom end B.
Place another ribbon beneath the original loop, angled to the right. Call the top end C and the bottom end D.
Pass end C over A and under B. Weave C through the loop at a diagonal, heading toward the upper left. Pass it over the first line of the loop that ends in A, then under the line ending in D and then over the line ending in B.
Adjust the ribbons to ensure that they are flat and untwisted.
Tips and warnings
- Experiment with the wide variety of colours available in both Mizuhiki ribbon and cord.
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