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Kumihimo Beadwork Jewelry by Debbie Hummer

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Kumihimo or Japanese-Style Beaded Jewelry

A lifelong arts and crafts enthusiast, Deborah “Debbie” Hummer moved to Western North Carolina several years ago looking for the inspiring mountain beauty and to join our thriving arts community … the two things that were hard to find in the cold, sterile concrete jungles of the northeast.

Debbie had previously fallen in love with the area while visiting close friends. She says, “There is a great, laid-back feel to the Asheville area, it reminds us of all our favorite places we have visited: Unique, quirky boutique shops run by unique, quirky, and overwhelmingly lovely people. It was difficult for us not to live here.”

Debbie has been creating Kumihimo  pieces (the art of Japanese braiding) for several years, inspired by all the local flavor that she has come to love. Her work has been praised by various Kumihimo  experts and she has sold her work to private collectors and through several art galleries.

What is Kumihimo?

Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese braiding technique, traditionally done on a wooden loom called a marudai. Modern day artists like Debbie incorporate intricate beadwork to enhance this ancient artform and turn it into stunning and uncommon jewelry.

According to experts, “The most prominent historical use of Kumihimo was by samurai, who use it as a functional and decorative way to lace their lamellar (layered) armor and their horses’ armor [together].

Kumihimo cords are also used as ties on Japanese haori jackets and as obijime used to hold some obi knots in place or to decorate the obi when wearing a kimono.

Inside the Artist’s Studio

As part of our Inside the Artist’s Studio series, we asked Debbie a few questions about her and her artwork:

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your artwork?
My inspiration has come from many people over the years and I still continue to grow.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your artwork?
I have enjoyed making Kumihimo jewelry for the past 8 years and still enjoy every piece I make.

How many pieces have you created? Which ones were your favorites? 
I have made over 600 necklaces, bracelets and earrings in the past 7 years and maybe even more.

And as you can see for yourself, Debbie has combined this ancient form of beadwork with a modern sense of style and color to form a unique and beautiful type of beaded jewelry.

Her necklaces are just the thing for any stylish woman to wear for those special nights out (rare as they are now) or to dress up for an important streaming video conference!

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