Registration is now open for Giovanna Imperia’s Compound Braid class.

Our third Braider’s Dozen class will start on March 1st, for AKS members! Visit the class description page to register today.

Gathering 2017 Registration is CLOSED until February 24th.

To all of our wonderful members who registered for Gathering, THANKS! We truly appreciate it, and we are looking froward to seeing you in Tampa. If you have not made your hotel reservations, please do so quickly, as the Gathering Special Rate expires soon.

Better news: There are seats remaining in most of our classes. Registration re-opens at noon on February 25th, open to the public. If you’re not a member of AKS (and why not??) you will be able to sign up starting on the 24th. We expect the remaining sessions to sell out quickly, so PLEASE do not wait! Mark your calendar and be on-line when our link goes live: noon Eastern time, Saturday, February 25th.

Visit the Gathering 2017 info page for class descriptions, teacher bios, hotel links, and the schedule

Members, are you taking advantage of Braider’s Dozen?

The AKS Braider’s Dozen series is a way to learn braiding techniques from some of the best teachers in our genre! Open to AKS members, our first class – Andean Hand Braids – is a join-anytime class. It’s available on the main menu, after you’ve logged in. Our first Facebook course, Marudai Basics, taught by the inestimable Carol Franklin, is underway as I type. If you missed the start of that class, keep an eye out, as it will be around again later in the year. And, there are more courses planned for the coming months – one EACH month, in fact. Read about them on our Braider’s Dozen page!

From Our Blog

Welcome to AKS

Events Calendar

Braiders Dozen – Andean Hand Braiding @ Online Event
Jan 10 – Dec 31 all-day

This class is taught by “BraiderBob” Galivan and is free to all members of AKS. The modules will be available at least through the end of 2017.

In this course, participants will  learn three basic Andean braids: spiral, stripes, and zig-zags, using hand techniques. They will  also look at some variations on two of the spiral and zigzag braids. Bob’s presentation is based on research done using Adele Cahlander’s book “Sling Braiding of the Andes,” published in 1980, and Rodrick Owen’s body of work – his “Book of Braids” from 1995 and his recently published  “Andean Sling Braids”, as well as Bob’s studying with him in 2015 in Miami, Florida. The Cahlander book and Owen’s first book are now out of print, although copies can still be found on the Internet.

Why Hand Braiding?

The obvious question here is why hand braiding, when it is so much easier and precise to use the foam plate or the marudai? The answer is so that we can understand the structure of a braid and how the combination of movement and color create such a wealth of patterns and textures.  As we work through the examples, participants will  learn the movements of each braid, but will also analyze the result of the movement and its impact on the structure.

Braiders Dozen – Marudai Basics @ Online Event
Feb 1 – Feb 28 all-day

This online class is free of charge to AKS members. This class is a month-long study of the skills necessary to create traditional fiber-only braids on the marudai. Participants will be creating at least one braid each week as we explore the four different ways that the tama can be moved around the kagami, or top of the marudai.

Kumihimo Design: Mastering Composition & Color @ After Midnight Art Ranch
Feb 23 – Feb 26 all-day
Are you ready to accelerate you kumihimo designs? Are you looking for the techniques that take a design from good to great? Do you want to become a master of composition and color?

Then I invite you to peek behind the curtains and step into my world. Kumihimo Design: Mastering Composition & Color is a three-day master class experience I’ve designed as part of our kumihimo retreat in Sonoita, Arizona February 23-26, 2017.

In the first session, The Toolbox, you’ll refine your understanding of traditional design concepts such as rhythm, symmetry, balance, and proportion, but this goes far beyond an art appreciation 101… You’ll master the how and the why. You’ll be able to make design decisions with intention so that your elements work they way you want them to.

In the second session, The Power Tools, you’ll learn how to artfully edit your work before you even pick up a bead! Imagine the time and frustration you’ll save when you can judge your designs on paper and know they’re good before you begin braiding!

In the third session, The Prism, you’ll master color selection by examining the effect of different bead finishes on color perception. The secret to pleasing palettes is balance and you’ll apply your knowledge of proportion to create color combinations that sing and mix beads as though they were paint.

All three days you’ll be working hands-on writing your own jewelry designs, critiquing your work, prototyping, and braiding. This is an amazing experience that will change your approach to design no matter what level you’re starting at!

What’s included?
Three-nights’ accommodation at the After Midnight Art Ranch, Stage Stop Inn, or Xanadu Ranch. All private bedrooms, some shared baths.

All meals & beverages. That’s dinner Thursday; breakfast, lunch, & dinner on Friday & Saturday; breakfast & lunch on Sunday. Coffee, tea, water, and soft drinks available are available throughout the day. Wine, margaritas, and other adult beverages are served with/after dinner.

Pick-up and drop-off at the Tucson Airport if you’re flying in from out of state.

Kumihimo Design: Mastering Composition & Color, a master class with Rebecca Ann Combs.

Bead kit for the master class


Beaded Katsu-Kongoh-gumi – Pacific Tidepool Necklace @ Sacramento Center for the Arts at Shepard Garden & Art Center
Feb 25 @ 10:00 am – Feb 26 @ 4:00 pm

Class Description: Make a fully beaded kumihimo necklace while learning the movement sequences of Yastu-Kongoh-gumi (8-strand Z spiral).

What you will learn: How to maintain consistent tension when using different sizes of beads in a braid. How to select cord. Using a bead spinner and more.

Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate

Max # of Students: 12

What to Bring: Bead mat, tape measure, scissors, task light, magnifier, pointed tweezers.


Workshop fee is $135 for members of SCTA and $165 for nonmembers.

Kit fee: is $75 and includes7/0 Matubo beads, 6/0 (3 cut) Matubo beads, 8/0 Miyuki seed beads, 6×4 Czech glass teardrop beads (2 colors), Boro teardrop beads from Unicorne Beads, both Tex 400 & 210 beading cord (full spools), copper end caps and copper jump rings.

Equipment fee: $29.50 and includes Hamanaka 6″ Kumihimo Disk (invented by Makiko Tada), 8 large bobbins and a 45 g counterweight. The equipment fee is not mandatory if participants have the materials listed.

Braiders Dozen: Compound Braids @ Online Event
Mar 1 – Mar 31 all-day

This 4 week, online class is available, free of charge to all AKS members. This class, Expand your Creative Possibilities with Compound Braids, builds on the notion that there are finite interlacement moves that an be used on the Marudai. Braid structures are created by repeating a set of moves. However, it it possible to create more complex designs by combining 2 or more structures. In this class we will experiment with what I call Compound Braids: a type of complex design where groups of threads are treated as separate but interconnected braids – each with it’s own set of unique moves. The class is designed as an exploration at the end of which you will have samples, rather than finished pieces. Participants will get weekly updates, and Giovanna will upload images of finished braids where the specific structures under discussion have been used.

BeadFest Santa Fe – Kumihimo Hook Bracelet @ Santa Fe Community Convention Center
Mar 23 @ 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

The Kumihimo Hook Bracelet will be taught by Yin Guang at BeadFest Santa Fe 2017 and is a very attractive piece. Students will learn how to braid with beads.


Braiders Dozen: Continuous Beaded Braids @ Online Event
Apr 1 – Apr 30 all-day

This online class is available to AKS members at no charge.

Continuous Beaded Braids are braids that are made with long continuous strands of beads. They are worked on the marudai the same as fiber braids, using bead strands in place of the fiber strands. This class will be marudai based, however, marudai experience is not required.

The online class will take place in a private FaceBook group. The instructor will utilize weekly video sessions for live demonstrations. The time of the video sessions will be predetermined to meet the needs of the group and they will be archived and available for viewing at future times. Group participation and discussion is encouraged.


Small Expressions @ Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
May 26 – Jul 29 all-day

HGA’s Annual Exhibit of Small Scale Works, Small Expressions is an annual, international, juried exhibit featuring high quality, contemporary small-scale works. Small Expressions is sponsored by the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc., to showcase small scale works created using fiber techniques in any media, not to exceed 15 inches (38 cm) in any direction including mounting, framing, or display devices.


AKS Kumihimo Gathering 2017 @ Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore
Oct 20 – Oct 22 all-day

The American Kumihimo Society is very excited to announce their first educational conference, Kumihimo Gathering 2017. The conference will offer three full days of classes in a variety of Kumihimo disciplines. Headlined by these acclaimed instructors, students will have an opportunity to learn a variety of techniques in both fiber and beaded braiding.

Gathering dates are October 20th, 21st, and 22nd. The event venue will be the Hilton Tampa Westshore Hotel, in Tampa, Florida.

Would you like to teach at Gathering 2017?

Conference Details

  • When: October 20th, 21st, & 22nd, 2017
  • Where: Tampa, Florida: Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore
  • Hotel room rate of $129* + taxes
  • Free parking for hotel guests and conference attendees
  • Free airport shuttle for hotel guests
  • Reservations: 1-800-HILTONS – BE SURE to advise the agent that you are attending the “AKS Gathering conference” to obtain the special rates. IMPORTANT! Hotel space is limited and rates cannot be guaranteed. Reservations should be made beforeMarch 15th, 2017. We recommend that attendees book early! Reservations can be cancelled without penalty up to 48 hours before arrival.
  • Click here for a complete listing of area hotels

Conference Fee & Inclusions:

  • Registration opens February 1st, 2017, for AKS Members only
  • $495 Early Bird Price for AKS Members through Feb 20th.
  • Open Registration begins on February 21st
  • Open Registration is $535 for AKS members, $560 for non-members
  • Registration includes:
    • 3 days of classes (kit fees and materials are NOT included)
    • Lunch on all three class days
    • Conference Publication