Kumihimo - A brief history 

 
Kumihimo is a method of braiding silk threads developed in Japan which is traditionally performed on special wooden stands called Maru Dai and Takadai.  Today, a simple foam board can be used.  The literal translation of kumihimo means the "coming together (kumi) of threads (himo)".
 

The earliest Kumihimo in Japan is generally believed to date back to 645-784 AD.  Braids were originally used as ties, cording and belts for clothing, and closures for Samurai armour and possibly also in religious ceremonies.  The braids are durable and beautiful and have patterns in them that are formed by varying the sequence of thread movements while creating the braids. 

I use this method, together with a variety of beads, to create the items you see here.