Shirley Berlin loves to teach kumihimo and other narrow wares workshops. She is particularly interested in basic kumihimo and its myriad variations: texture, thick and thin, distortion, adding bumps or beads, beginnings and endings. With time, she has come to appreciate that the foam disc has more possibilities than she first thought.

Shirley has been braiding since the 1980s and is a founding member of both AKS and the Braid Society. Operating as BerlinBraids, she and Peter make marudais and tama in Canada. She can answer the question “That’s nice, dear, but what do you do with it?”

Shirley was born and currently lives in Canada. Additionally, she is has lived around the world in Sweden, Holland, Germany, France, Russia and England.

Esi Bani, born in Ghana with a diverse upbringing across Africa, embarked on a career journey that seamlessly intertwined academia and her passion for apparel and jewelry design. After achieving tenure and success as a professor, she felt creatively stifled and yearned to bring her design ideas to life. A year-long sabbatical in Senegal in 2006 ignited her love for designing jewelry to complement her apparel-making skills which she had honed while funding her education by sewing custom apparel. However, it wasn’t until midlife, with her children out of college and a resolve to live without regrets, that she took the leap to pursue her dream in design full-time. She left academia to launch her jewelry and apparel line, EBDESIGNPLAZA in 2017. Since 2022, Esi has focused her creative skills on designing and making custom couture bridal and special occasion apparel and jewelry at her Louisville, KY atelier, under her Esi Bani Couture label for clients of all sizes, shapes, and adaptive needs.

An earlier chance encounter with Kumihimo braiding techniques in a magazine got Esi Bani hooked with its beauty as well as infinite possibilities of integrating it in her apparel and jewelry designs. She developed the Criss Cross beaded Kumihimo braiding technique of intersecting beaded braids seamlessly in 2017, resulting in her signature Criss Cross Seduction necklace being featured in the March 2018 issue of Bead and Button Magazine. Esi has also experimented with incorporating Kumihimo organically with bead embroidery, Cellini peyote beadweaving, Ndebele beadweaving, leatherworking, etc. as well as in non-jewelry uses, such as dress, hair and accessory components.

Esi is currently experimenting with using Kumihimo beaded braids to create entire outfits.


Katherine Buenger is a jewelry and textile artist from Minnesota. Her work encompasses many fiber-related artforms, including weaving, spinning, ply-splitting and braiding with Sami tin thread.

Katherine is also an experienced instructor teaching at The Weavers Guild of Minnesota, Midwest Weavers Conference, White Bear Center for the arts, Marine Mills Folk School, American Kumihimo Society, among others. Her work has won awards at the Minnesota State Fair and has been featured on the cover of the Bead & Button Magazine.

Katherine holds a degree in studio arts from Macalester College. St. Paul, MN

Rebecca Ann Combs is the author of three best-selling kumihimo books: Kumihimo Basics & Beyond, Kumihimo Braiding with Beads, and Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified.  Although Rebecca warns all of her readers and students that kumihimo is addictive, she delights in getting them hooked.

Best known for extremely detailed, clear instructions, she teaches beading retreats and workshops internationally.  Rebecca’s designs explore the intersection of color, math, and engineering and for the past sixteen years she has been pushing the bounds of what is possible in beaded kumihimo.

When Rebecca isn’t braiding you’ll find her enjoying afternoon tea or hiking in the Arizona wilderness.

Find her kits and teaching schedule at

Adrienne Gaskell’s innovations explore the ancient Japanese art of kumihimo. Her jewelry incorporates gemstones, pearls, and beads and has been featured in “Showcase 500 Art Necklaces” by Lark Books, Bead&Button’s Bead Dreams competition, and the Toho Design Challenge. She exhibits at juried art shows and galleries across the county. Her teaching resume includes Braids 2012 in Manchester England, Braids 2016 in Tacoma, WA, Bead & Button show since 2006, Japanese Kumihimo Society and Toho Bead Company in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Hiroshima Japan. Adrienne’s popular DVDs, Beaded Kumihimo on the Marudai, and More Beaded Kumihimo on the Marudai were the first instructional videos for braiding with beads on the marudai.

Adrienne’s website:

Yin Guang is a highly skilled creative designer with over 8 years of experience teaching Kumihimo at national shows. She has conducted virtual classes for both the American Kumihimo Society and Virtually Ever Crafting (VEC). Yin’s dedication to teaching, coupled with her supportive attitude towards assisting individuals in completing their projects, has earned her widespread appreciation from her students.

Her business contact is:
Ancient Moon

Betty Huttner has been learning and practicing various fiber arts since her grandmother taught her to cross-stitch at age five.  Over six decades, she has engaged in sewing, knitting, embroidery, spinning, kumihimo, basketry, temari, and bookbinding.

An active weaver, she has been exploring the art of ply split braiding since 2010, with a special interest in using paper cords to create three dimensional pieces. Betty recently completed a long tenure on the Midwest Weavers Association board of directors and enjoys teaching others how to make functional and decorative items from fiber.

Giovanna Imperia is the author of Kumihimo Wire Jewelry and many articles on braiding and weaving. Her work has been exhibited and is included in private and museum collections throughout the United States and internationally. Giovanna’s work focuses on the exploration of tactile and organic nature of fiber while pushing the boundaries of the expected definition of body adornment and 3D objects. This is accomplished by actively involving the user through the concept of “transformation” – the idea of actively engaging the user in shaping and transforming the art piece.

Kristen MacDowell has been doing handcrafts most of her life. Thanks to Mom, she learned counted cross stitch and micro macrame around age 9, then dabbled in many other materials and techniques including paper arts, machine knitting, glass fusing and enamel, metal smithing, fabric dyeing and much more.

She discovered Kumihimo about 15 years ago and has been teaching jewelry making since 2012. She loves to mix colors, textures and techniques to create unique statement pieces. Her philosophy: “Enjoy the process. Don’t be scared to try something. If it doesn’t work, rip it apart, make a change and start over.”

She and her husband own

Rosalie Neilson has been making kumihimo braids for more than 35 years. In 1980, she visited a Tokyo kimono factory, became enamored with kumi braids, took a private class, and came home with a marudai, kakudai, and two instruction books written in Japanese. Throughout the years she has developed into a true master of the art with exquisite designs using both color and geometry.

“My love of color comes from being raised in Oregon. During the majority of the year, nature appears in shades of green, blue, and grey. In this softly lit environment of neutrals, bright colors stand out in sharp contrast.” And so they do in her braids.

Her love of color doesn’t stop there. She was intrigued by the number of ways a braider could use two colors with the Hira Kara Gumi braid and began exploring each one. In 1998, after 18 years of exploration with this braid structure, Rosalie, with the help of her mathematically inclined brother, documented and published the Thirty-Seven Interlacements of Hira Kara Gumi. This was followed by the Twenty-Four Interlacements of Edo-Yatsu Gumu. A third book Kongo Gumi – A Cacophony of Spots – Coisl – Zags – Lines was published in 2013 and documents all 1,157 variations of the 16-strand Edo-Yatsu using just two colors. These are true labors of passion and kumihimo love!

Visit Rosalie’s store at

Carolyn Oliver Haushalter has been making jewelry for two decades. In 2006, she discovered kumihimo and it became her favorite technique and obsession. Her favorite braids combine traditional techniques with modern materials. Three years later she began teaching, working with students from all over the world to share her love of the art. Her classes for improving your marudai skills and taking a new approach to classic kumihimo books are available through The American Kumihimo Society.

She has taught classes for the 2018, 2020 and 2023 American Kumihimo Society Gatherings and the 2021 and 2022 Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival, as well as bead stores and societies. She is the event coordinator and former co-chair of Pittsburgh’s Premier Bead Society: OCBPA.

Japan’s Makiko Tada is largely responsible for the growing international interest in the art of Kumihimo braiding. She creates designs from both traditional patterns and from her own original designs and is an expert on the long history of kumihimo.  After restoring ancient national treasure braids from the Kyoto National Museum, she dedicated them to Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Hayatama Shrine.

Makiko Tada conducts research and lectures in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia and authored the seven-volume “Comprehensive Treatise of Braids”.  While completing her Doctorate of Engineering at Kyoto Institute of Technology she received funding from the Japanese government to invent a new braiding machine for composite materials.  This machine will be vital for making components for the construction and aerospace industries.

Dr. Makiko Tada’s 40 years of research, artistry, authorship, and invention assure the art of Kumihimo braiding will touch and enrich many lives across the world.

Maggie Thompson is a self-taught jewelry designer who began working with seed beads as a hobby 30 years ago. Thirteen years ago she discovered the Japanese art of braided jewelry and turned this passion into her business: Maggie T Designs.

She is also the inventor of The Traveller™, a portable kumihimo stand — available for sale on her website and in her Etsy shop. Her designs are characterized as “embellished” kumihimo because she frequently uses 2 hole beads and crystals to embellish a braid.

She has written three e-books and a webinar for Interweave Press/Golden Peak Media showcasing her specialty of Japanese Kumihimo braiding. Interweave Press continues to sell her patterns as well as her e-books through

Maggie’s designs have been featured numerous times in Beadwork Magazine, Bead & Button Magazine and Bead & Jewellery Magazine (UK magazine). Her “Kumi 3 Ways Necklace” was the April 2018 Beadwork magazine cover picture. Her Oyster Bubbles Necklace was just recently featured on the cover of Interweave’s “Beadwork Inspired by Color” e-book.

She was a Starman Trendsetter, a 2023 & 2024 TOHO Featured Artist, past President of the Upper Midwest Bead Society in the Twin Cities MN, a member of the Embroiderer’s Guild, St. Paul Needleworkers’ and is a member of the Capital Area Beading Organization in Raleigh, NC.