Whilst attending a foundation course at Winchester School of Art, Jacqui Carey discovered that weaving combined her love of mathematics and art. This led to a degree in Textiles at West Surrey College of Art and Design. Here, Jacqui studied a whole range of related subjects, including braidmaking. But it was working with complex weave structures that enabled her to start unravelling the mysteries of Kumihimo, Japanese braiding.
When Jacqui Carey completed her degree in 1985, her work space was limited so she focused her attention on the Japanese craft. This was intended as a temporary detour but soon extended as the potential of braidmaking was revealed. Although Jacqui’s work stems from the traditional, it is the creative possibilities that inspire most of her braids. The braiding process, with its aesthetics and sense of continuity, is an integral part of Jacquis work. The joy of making is enhanced by exploring a wide range of materials and playing with structure, colour and pattern. The results cover a broad spectrum of uses and have been widely exhibited, both in the UK and abroad.
This enthusiasm for Kumihimo and a willingness to share her knowledge led Jacqui to start teaching and lecturing. Later, prompted by the lack of written material on Kumihimo, she set about writing an instruction book- Creative Kumihimo. This was to be the first of many publications in article and book form. In the early 1990s she helped to establish the Braid Society and subsequently served on the committee. She organised their first exhibition entitled- Samurai Undressed . This was based on her research into the historical development of Kumihimo and its relationship with the Samurai. She later curated “Braids & Beyond: A Broad Look at Narrow Wares” to celebrate the Society’s tenth anniversary.
Jacqui’s research work continues expanding, involving wider aspects of braids. In 2005, Jacqui was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship to help further her study, and in 2008 she was awarded a distinction for her MA in the History of Textile & Dress, at the Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton.
Jacqui’s interest in analysing old textiles has also led to a detour into 16th & 17th century English embroidery, after a chance discovery of some obsolete stitches. Her ongoing research into the structures found on extant examples and the potential techniques used for their production has so far resulted in two books , Sweetbags and Elizabethan Stitches.
an article explaining the grid system used in Creative Kumihimo. This is an aid for designing Kumihimo Braids.
the same structured braid is often called several names (some names are attributed to several structures). This table gives comparisons to show which 8-bobbin Kumihimo braids have the same structure.
a paper presented at the Bridges (Maths/Art) conference in 2006. It details a method of recording ALL 3-D braid structures in a simple 2-D format.